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The Association of Asian Studies Conference in Asia @ Singapore, July 17-19, 2014

The Association of Asian Studies Conference in Asia @ Singapore, July 17-19, 2014

    The Association for Asian Studies (AAS), the Asia Research Institute (ARI), and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) of the National University of Singapore hosted the very first AAS in Asia conference, "Asia in Motion: Heritage and Transformation," during July 17-19, 2014 at the National University of Singapore.

    The AAS in Asia conference was founded to reach out to scholars in and of Asia who might not usually attend the AAS conference in North America to stimulate new networks among scholars by providing broader inter-continental connections for the future of Asian studies. The AAS in Asia conference will be held in Taipei in 2015 and Kyoto in 2016, respectively.

    The UBRJ team organized a panel titled, "Contested Citizenship" in East Asia: Case Study of Japan and Korea" which included speakers from Japan and Korea. Dr. Naomi Chi from the Graduate School of Public Policy at Hokkaido University presented her paper on migrant communities in Japan, more specifically the Zainichi Koreans and Nikkei Brazilians and issues of exclusion that they have experienced in Japan. Dr. Hyein Han from the East Asian History Centre at the Sunkyunkwan University presented her work on of the nationality law in Korea vis-à-vis the implementation of dual nationality and how that has affected the status of returning Sakhalin Koreans to their "homeland". Lastly, Prof. Shincheol Lee also from the same institution presented his work on the creation of an East Asian Community and East Asian citizenship as an alternative to overcome the various obstacles and challenges in East Asia.

    Questions from the discussant, Prof. Akihiro Iwashita, from the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre and the floor included issues on the viability of the East Asian Community, the political dynamics surrounding Zainichi Koreans in Japan as well as the various interests and challenges that resulted in the implementation of dual nationality in Korea.

    The UBRJ team will continue to pursue this research in contested citizenship in East Asia and hope to share our achievements in future AAS in Asia conferences.

AAS_Han.jpg AAS_Singapore.jpg                  Dr. Han's presentation                   Downtown Singapore
AAS_Chinatown.jpg                                                      Chinatown


Introducing Professor Sergei Golunov, Visiting Scholar to SRC

Introducing Professor Sergei Golunov, Visiting Scholar to the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre

    We are pleased to have Professor Serghei Golunov as our new visiting scholar to the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre. Professor Golunov's research area includes the border issues between Russia and EU and as well as the former Soviet bloc. He taught at Volgograd State University in Russia, but has also spent some time conducting research in London and Tartu (Estonia). He is an expert on the current status of border studies in EU countries, and is also well known for his unique approach to border studies by exploring themes such as corruption and smuggling. His recent publication include EU-Russian Border Security: Challenges, (Mis) Perceptions and Responses (Routledge). He will be staying at the Centre until March 2015 and is expected to present his research achievements at the Centre's winter symposium and various seminars and exchange information with the border studies communities around the world.


ABS First World Conference: Post Cold War Borders

ABS First World Conference: Post Cold War Borders

(Written by Naomi Chi, Graduate School of Public Policy, Hokkaido Univ.)


    The very first ABS World Conference was held in Joensuu, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia from June 9-13, 2014. There were approximately 450 participants from more than 60 nations around the world.

    Joensuu is a small city and municipality in North Karelia in the province of Eastern Finland founded in 1848. The population of Joensuu is approximately 80,000. It is a lively student city with over 15,000 students enrolled at the University of Eastern Finland and a further 4,000 at the North Karelia University of Applied Sciences.ABS_chi_3.jpgABS_chi_2.jpg

    St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, which is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad and in 1991, back to Saint Petersburg. According to the 2010 census, the total population of St. Petersburg is approximately 4,900,000.~

ABS_chi_4.jpg    Panels 14 and 24 titled, "From post-Soviet to Eurasian: reconfiguring borders and space I and II" were chaired by Dr. Jeremy Smith (University of Eastern Finland) and Dr. Paul Richardson, respectively, and the panels focused on the post-Soviet space since 1991 and analysed how the understandings of both the external and internal borders of Eurasia have been changing over the recent period. The papers from this panel focused on the shift from both highly securitised and cumbersome state borders, and zero-sum approaches to spheres of influence, to more fluid conceptions and notions of opportunity, shared space and common interest. Case studies included those from Far East Russia, Russia-China border, former Soviet republic borders, Georgia and EU customs union.
    Since it would be impossible to summarize all the stimulating and interesting panels that were offered at the conference, as there were nine parallel panels for each time slot, but let me focus on the following panels.

ABS_chi_6.jpg    Panel 49 titled, "Contested Citizenship in East Asia: Case Study of Japan and Korea" explored the theories and empirical research on the historical and current legal status and political participation of migrants in South Korea and Japan and aimed to answer the following questions such as: What are the links between 'good governance' and new forms of citizenship? How do we explain the distinctive features of governance and citizenship in Asian societies?

    Panel 62 titled, "Japan-Finland Joint session on Border Cooperation in Eurasia" was a joint session between Hokkaido University and the Karelian Institute at the University of Eastern Finland on border cooperation. Scholars from Japan presented their work on border cooperation in Eurasia and scholars from Finland discussed the papers based on their expertise and experience on border making and border cooperation while making references to the Finnish border situation with Russia and other neighbouring countries.ABS_chi_5.jpg

    There were also key note speeches by the pioneers of border studies, including Prof. Oscar Martinez, Prof. David Newman, Prof. Anssi Passi, Prof. Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, Prof. Paul Nugent, and Prof. Alexander F. Filippov.

    On behalf of the delegation from Japan and Korea, we would like to thank the organizers and the scientific committee of the ABS world conference for hosting one of the best border conferences to date. Kiitos and Spasiba!
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Film Showing at the Nottingham Ningbo China

21 May, 2014
Film Showing at the Nottingham Ningbo China

   Professor Iwashita of the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre at Hokkaido University attended a film festival hosted by the Nottingham University of Ningbo China from May 19-22, in Zhejiang Province, upon the initiative of Professor David Wolff, who is currently working at the university. This was the very first attempt to host such an event, which was held from 19pm-21pm at the assembly hall at the university. On the first day of the event, over 200 students attended the viewing of the film, "Down-Indie Rock in the PRC" produced by Andrew Field. On the 20th, there was a viewing of the documentary "Unknown Tales of the Southern Borders," produced by the GCOE programme, "Reshaping Japan's border studies." There was some uneasiness in showing a documentary on the exchange between Yaeyama Island and Taiwan in the East China Sea in light of the currently Sino-Japanese relations, however, such apprehension was deemed unnecessary as the discussion following the viewing was thought provoking and insightful, while many people praised the documentary as one of the most "personalized" documentary showed during the event. The film shown on the 3rd day was a documentary produced by Professor Thomas Lahusen, who will be staying at the Slavic-Eurasian Research Centre as a visiting scholar this summer. This event proved to be a success in contributing to the proliferation of knowledge about the border as it allowed people to experience the border through the eyes of the local people and entities that live with the reality of the border.

ノッティンガム映画祭201405-1.jpg ノッティンガム映画祭201405-2.jpg


[Co-hosted event] Report on International Seminar "Evaluation and Development of Kim Jeong-eun Regime in North Korea"

12 May 2014
International Seminar "Evaluation and Development of Kim Jeong-eun Regime in North Korea" (12 May, 2014)

   The East Asian Media Research Center at the Graduate School of Media Communication, the East Asian Research Center at the Graduate School of Public Policy and the Eurasia Unit for Border Research in Japan (UBRJ) at the Slavic Eurasia Research Center (all institutions affiliated with Hokkaido University) co-hosted an international seminar titled, "Evaluation and Development of Kim Jeong-eun Regime in North Korea." We invited Professor Geun-sik Kim from the Far East Research Center at Kyungnam University in Korea, specialist on North Korean politics, as well as Dr. Mitsuhiro Mimura (Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia, ERINA) and Prof. Akihiro Iwashita (Slavic Eurasia Research Center, Hokkaido Univ.) as discussants to discuss and explore the current status of the North Korean regime.

   In the presentation, Prof. Kim talked about the stability of Kim Jeong-eun's leadership after establishing the strong basis for the hereditary dictatorship by punishing to death his uncle and who would have been the "key policy advisor" Jang Sung-thaek. Some of the changes seen in this regime are cleavages among the elites in North Korea and the development of the unofficial economy as North Korea is trying to obtain foreign currency by various methods. In terms of policy direction, with the rise of China North Korea seems to have obtained confidence both in the field of security and economic policies and is most likely to take a hard line policy toward the U.S. and South Korea. However, he also mentioned that Kim Jeung-eun regime may be facing instabilities in the long run. Questions pertaining to human rights issues, as well as the future of North Korea were among many issues talked about in the discussion. (Written by Naomi Chi)

North Korea20140512-1.jpg    North Korea20140512-2.jpg


Report on ABS annual conference (April 2-5, 2014)

April 2-5, 2014 
ABS Annual Conference April 2-5, 2014

San Felipe Church, Albuquerque, NM.jpg

   This year's Association of Borderlands Studies (ABS) Annual Conference took place in Albuquerque on April 2-5, 2014. There were 52 panels in total, the most ever in ABS history. Dr. Akihiro Iwashita from the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre at Hokkaido University, Dr. Naomi Chi from the Public Policy School at Hokkaido University and Mr. Yasunori Hanamatsu from Decision Science at Kyushu University joined the conference from Japan.

   Out of the 52 panels, the Japanese delegation participated in 7 panels as speaker, moderator and/or discussant. One of the highlights of the conference was the showing of the DVD compiled by the border studies programme at the Slavic Research Centre titled, "Tale of the Shaken National Border: Okinawa as Japan's Crossroad Islands with the US and China". The DVD is a documentary depicting the current situation of Okinawa and surrounding islands and its delicate position in terms of US-China-Japan relations.

   Another highlight of the conference was the roundtable discussion by the ABS "visualizing committee" that explored new possibilities in the future. One of the ideas discussed was establishing new units in Asia and Latin America in order to expand the association while respecting the heritage groups of US-Mexico and US-Canada border scholars.
   Dr. Iwashita is the President-incumbent and will be in charge of the next ABS conference that will take place in Portland in April 2015. We would like to encourage new membership from all over Asia so that the association can grow into an international network of border studies scholars. (Written by: Naomi Chi)

(Photo: San Felipe Church, Albuquerque, NM)


New UBRJ website launched

We are proud to announce the launch of the new UBRJ website. We provide any information on UBRJ through this website.

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