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Kickoff Conference of the Kyushu University Center for Future Studies "Creating Border Studies in Asia Pacific"

Kickoff Conference of the Kyushu University Center for Future Studies "Creating Border Studies in Asia Pacific"

   On March 7-8, 2015, the Kyushu University Center for Future Studies hosted a kickoff conference titled, "Creating Border Studies in Asia Pacific." Over 80 people participated in the opening ceremony and the Secretary General of ABS, Jussi Laine, and UBRJ Leader, Akihiro Iwashita, made their keynote speeches. The first session was on border tourism, and Yasunori Hanamatsu and Sergei Golonov presented their work on their respective regions, Japan and Korea, and Russia and China. The second session on international relations invited Paul Richardson from University of Manchester and Sergei Sebastianov from Far Eastern University of Russia. The last session invited Ted Boyle and Yasuhiro Masuda that presented on border regions in Japan. Many of these speakers are "graduates" of the Global COE programme at the Slavic Research Center at Hokkaido University. (Written by Naomi Chi)


Association of Borderlands Studies Annual Conference (@Portland, Oregon, April 8-11, 2015)

Association of Borderlands Studies Annual Conference (@Portland, Oregon, April 8-11, 2015)

   This year's Association of Borderlands Studies (ABS) annual conference was held on April 8-11, 2015, at Portland, Oregon. Participants from all over world came to participate in this three-day conference that consisted of 53 panels.

   Speakers and discussants gathered together to talk about a wide range of themes at this year's annual conference. Here are some reflections of this year's conference.

   On Thursday morning, Ricardo Gomez and his research team from the University of Washington iSchool organized a panel titled, "Photo Stories of Life at the Border". This panel introduced the research project conducted by Ricardo and his research team, which consists of participatory photography with Hispanic migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border to facilitate and stimulate participation and reflection on immigration and information. At the panel there were various posters that introduced their work. One of the important features of this project was that Prof. Gomez puts the camera in the hands of the immigrants, asks them to take photos within a very loose parameter and conducts discussions about the photos with the person who took them. The interesting finding that he mentioned in the presentation was that often times the photos portray something that even the subject did not realize at first, which becomes a means to facilitate a dialogue on the everyday lives of the immigrants. As "pictures paint a thousand words" so do photos, and it provides for a powerful tool for us to get a glimpse into the thought processes and the experiences of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border. This kind of work using photography to stimulate participation on immigration is innovative and the methodology could be applied to other cases around the world.

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   One of the highlights of this year's conference was the number of presentations and panels on Asia. The panel that I presented in titled, "Asian Borders in the Current Era" was organized by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, which consisted of presentations on migration in South Korea and Japan by Naomi Chi, borders of North Korea by Guadalupe and India-Bangladesh by Kathy Staudt. The first presentation was on the old and new immigrants in the two countries and the inclusive and exclusive characteristics of the immigration policy. The two presentations that followed by Guadalupe and Kathy were reflection pieces based on the field work of the two speakers that visited their respective border areas. All of the borders represented in this panel were arbitrarily drawn by various world powers, which have then been reinforced by globalization. However, we must also realize that they are people who live at these borders, who are affected by the borders, and who must be heard. Therefore, such comparative studies are crucial in learning from various cases around the world. The tentative plan is to continue this dialogue in the next ABS conference in Reno.

ABS_Portland_Chi_3.jpg   Special mention goes to the book and best student paper awards at the conference. The global COE programme "Reshaping Japan's Border Studies" at the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University led by Akihiro Iwashita had held four summer school's for graduate and post-doc students between 2010-2013. The participant of the first summer school, Dr. Andrew Burridge, along with his colleagues Jenna Loyd and Matthew Mitchelson, received this year's book award for their edited book, Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders and Global Crisis. The book deals is an anthology that looks into the everyday lives of those who cross the U.S.-Mexican border and the humanitarian work that is carried out at this border. Also, the award for best student paper went to Dhananjay Tripathi of South Asian University, who participated in the 2nd summer school. His paper, "Creating Bordes in Young Minds: the Pedagogical Projection of Enemy- A Case Study of Indian and Pakistani School Textbooks" which dealt with the textbook problems in India-Pakistan relations. His insights to the textbook issues in India-Pakistan can possibly be extended to other textbook issues in other regions such as East Asia. The main objective of the summer school was to foster young talents and establish networks with other border studies community and it was truly a proud moment to see these young scholars being recognized for their hard work.

   Last but not least, I must mention the active participation of UBRJ and JCB members. Minori Takahashi presented his work titled, "The Boundaries of EU Norms" with respect to whaling by the indigenous people in Greenland. Hironobu Yamagami and Hiroyuki Ohnishi from JCBS presented their work, "In Whose Interest? Postwar Handling of Wartime Postal Savings in Japan," and "Characteristics and Challenges to the Japanese Nationality and Immigration Administration," respectively. I still remember the first ABS Conference in Reno, Nevada in 2010, and since then we have worked hard to increase the Asian representation at the conference, but this year we demonstrated that the Japan chapter of ABS is now a significant part of the association. We hope to continue to contribute to the ABS conference through the activities of the Japan chapter, which will be found later on this year.

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   I myself being from the Pacific Northwest, Portland felt like home--however, this was not probably only due to the similar climate and natural surroundings that the Pacific Northwest shares but also due to the warm hospitality of the organizers. Heartfelt thanks to ABS president Martin Van der Velde, vice president and section coordinator Akihiro Iwashita, and WSSA for another wonderful conference this year. (Written by: Naomi Chi)



Asian Borderlands Research Network Conference @ Hong Kong (December 8-11, 2014)

ABRN-3.jpgAsian Borderlands Research Network Conference @ Hong Kong (December 8-11, 2014)

   Our UBRJ team including Naomi Chi and Akihiro Iwashita participated in the Asian Borderlands Research Network (ABRN) conference in Hong Kong on December 8-11 2014. We presented a panel titled, "Colonialism and the Cold War: Border-Crossing and Mobility in the Korean Peninsula," and invited two distinguishing scholars from Korea to join our panel, including Hyein Han and Sincheol Lee from Sunkyunkwan University.

   The practices, discourses and experiences of migration and diasporas, or the border-crossing and mobility of people, are an integral part of the history of modern Korea. Moreover, such experiences are connected to global orders of modernity, colonialism, the Cold War, and globalization. The panel will attempt to explore Korean migration and diaspora from a trans-disciplinary perspective, with a focus on case studies of Korean diasporas in Japan and the Koreas and in so doing go beyond the meta-narrative of colonialism and the Cold War.

   The first paper presented by Naomi Chi was on the Zainichi Koreans. In particular, the paper examined their historical background, current status and process of othering and exclusion that they experience. Though they are assimilated they still remain structurally foreign and are marginalized, however, they have developed ways to make their voices heard and participate actively in Japanese society.

   The second paper presented by Hyein Han explored the border between colony and imperial subjects. In particular, this paper focused on the relation between the comfort women and the Korean military officers and agents. The conflicting views of the Korean officers perceiving the comfort women as "military commodity" and at the same time "of the same ethnicity" reflect their unstable status as being on the border, that is to say, becoming fully acculturated as main actors in a system transplanted in their country (Korea) by the colonial state.

   The third and final paper presented by Sincheol Lee examined the recent policies toward and current status of North Korean defectors in South Korea. In so doing, the paper considered how borders of ideology, national boundary and ethnicity operate and explore possibilities and measures to transcend such borders.

   One of the objectives of the panel was to move away from the emphasis on the victimization of Koreans which often reproduce a strong nationalistic understanding of "Koreaness" but also consider the possibilities to approach in-between spaces of nation-states and ideologies, as well as the empowerment of social movements. (Written by Naomi CHI)

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BRIT XIV Plenary Sessions on the web

BRIT XIV Plenary Sessions on the web

The Organizing Committee of BRIT XIV, which was held in Arras, Lille (France) and Mons (Belgium), uploaded the videos of its Plenary Sessions. Prof. Akihiro IWASHITA, the unit chief of UBRJ, took the rostrum at the Opening and Final Plenary Sessions as the Coordinator of BRIT XII, held in Fukuoka/Busan in 2012. You can be aware of current trend of border studies in the world through the videos. Enjoy! Just click here to take part in the sessions!


Current issue of Eurasia Border Review (Vol. 5, No. 2) is now published

Current issue of Eurasia Border Review (Vol. 5, No. 2) is now publishedebr5_2.jpg

The current issue of Eurasia Border Review (Vol. 5, No. 2) is now published, which contains two papers about the Arctic studies by Alexsandr Sergunin & Pertti Joenniemi and Fujio Onishi, an article about the linguistic border between Kashubian and Siresian languages by Motoki Nomachi & Tomasz Kamusella, a paper about the EU-Russian border tourism by Serghei Golunov and some others. You can download all the papers from the special site of our journal. Please click here to jump into the download site.


BRIT XIV Conference kicks off in Arras, France

BRIT XIV Conference kicks off in Arras, France

    The BRIT (Border Regions in Transition) XIV Conference in France-Belgium successfully kicked off on November 4h, 2014. The theme of this year's conference is "The Border: A Source of Innovation." This year marks the 20th year since the first BRIT conference which was held at the German-Polish border in 1994. This year marks a century since the declaration of the Great War, and the field day traces the border between France and Belgium which was the "front" border that had once split these two territories. The conference will be held for four days and will be hosted in Arras, Lille and Mons (Belgium). Over 200 participants from various places of the world are attending the conference including Israel, Poland, Finland, Tajikistan, India and Nepal, those who actively participated in the BRIT XII conference in Japan-Korea.

    The first day of the conference kicked off in Arras with the opening remarks by the coordinator of the BRIT XII conference, and 8 sessions took place in the afternoon. UBRJ members will be presenting their work on "Border Tourism in Tsushima, Japan" and "Border Tourism around the World." (Written by Akihiro Iwashita)

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Call for Papers: Young researchers' seminar in Russian Far North and Arctic Studies (Deadline: December 7th, 2014) [Closed]

Call for Papers: Young researchers' seminar in Russian Far North and Arctic Studies (Deadline: December 7th, 2014)

This is a call for papers for a pre-seminar session for young researchers in the studies related to sustainable development of the Russian Far North and the Arctic which will be held in Tokyo on January 31, 2015. This pre-seminar will be part of the seminar hosted by the Japan-Finland bilateral project "Russia's Final Energy Frontier - Sustainability Challenges of the Russian Far North," funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) and headed by Professor Shinichiro Tabata at the Slavic and Eurasian Research Centre. Submission deadline is December 7, 2014. Please refer to the following site for more details:


Call for Papers: 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Borderlands Studies (Deadline: December 1, 2015) [Closed]

Call for Papers: 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Borderlands Studies (Deadline: December 1, 2015)ABS2015-Call_En.jpg

The 57th annual meeting of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS) will be hosted in Portland Oregon on April 8-11, 2015. The theme of the annual meeting is, "Border Studies and the New World (Dis)order: Relating Theories and Practices." Current Vice President of ABS as well as the unit leader of UBRJ, Professor Akihiro Iwashita, will be acting as the head of the organizing committee. We would like to extend our invitation to our friends to submit their proposal. The deadline for submission is December 1, 2015 (Mon). Please click the PDF file on the right hand corner to download the CFP. The official website of ABS is here.


Border Tourism Exhibition at the Hokkaido University Museum

Border Tourism Exhibition at the Hokkaido University Museum

The GCOE programme "Reshaping Japan's Border Studies" finished on March 2013 however, UBRJ has continued to carry out some of the endeavours of the GCOE programme. One of the projects that UBRJ is focusing on is the museum exhibition and making of border studies DVD. From August 12, 2014 to March 2015, UBRJ will work together with Hokkaido University Museum on the "Border Tourism" exhibition. Everyone is welcome, entrance is free.


How to get to the exhibition booth at the Hokkaido University Museum



New Booklet Series Published!

New Booklet Series Published!
The first publication of the Borders Booklet series titled, Creating Tourism on the Border Island Tsushima, has been published from the Hokkaido University Press, with the support of the NPO Border Region Research Center and UBRJ. Authors include chief organizer of UBRJ, Prof. Akihiro Iwashita, Mr. Hanamatsu (Kyushu Univ.), and Dr. Kimura (Kyushu International Univ.) have focused on the possibilities of border tourism in the border island of Tsushima. The booklet can be found on the shelves of a bookstore near you! (In Japanese only)

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