Eurasia Unit for Border Research (Japan)

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2019. 04. 25-27

Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS) annual conference @ San Diego April 25-27, 2019

This year’s ABS annual conference took place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego. There were over 70 panels, two keynotes, over 350 papers and presentations at roundtables, and nearly 300 participants. The following is a summary of panels in which the UBRJ members participated in.
The first panel titled “Relocating East Asian Borders in Everyday Life” invited five speakers, Po-Yi Hung (Taiwan National University), Naomi Chi (Hokkaido University), Ted Boyle (Kyushu University), Akihiro Iwashita (Hokkaido University) and Yu-Hsiu Lien (Taiwan National University). The speakers looked at various borders, including the tea trade between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries; Southeast Asian women migrants in care work crossing the border to Japan, Korea and Taiwan; the memories shared by the Japanese island of Yaeyama and Pacific island of Palau; the transformation of the Sino-Russian border; the complexity of tea blending in Taiwan and Vietnam.
One of the highlights of the conference was the panel “Gendering Border Studies” which invited 5 speakers, including Kathy Staudt (UTEP), Naomi Chi (Hokkaido), Kimberly Collins (CSUSB), Andreanne Bissonnette (Quebec) and Carla Angulo Pasel (Balsillie). Each speaker presented their work on various borders, concentrating on the violence, danger and accessibility to goods and services of women migrants (documented as well undocumented) in their respective areas. Also, issues of gender balance in social justice organization and ways to define social equity in border regions (mainly in the U.S.-Mexico border) were discussed at the panel.
Another addition to this year’s ABS conference was a panel organized by the border studies unit at Chungang University, Reconciliation and Coexistence in Contact Zones (RCCZ) Research Centre. The panel titled “Moving Beyond Boundaries: War and Bodies Politics” which invited speakers, Hye-ryoung Lee (Sunkyunkwan), Woonhyung Chon (Chungang), Kyounghwa Lim (Chungang) and Yu-Jung Lee (Yonsei), who focused on the border that divides the two Koreas, exploring the literature, film and performances that move the body beyond borders.
Special mention goes to the panel titled “Researching and Promoting Knowledge About Borders” where Koji Furukawa (Chukyo) presented the seven years of activities of the Japan International Border Studies Network (JIBSN), which was established as part of the Border Studies project of the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre.
Last but not least, one of UBRJ’s partner, the Borders in Globalization (BIG) project, will come to an end this year, and the wrap up of the migration and security policies in comparative perspective took place on the morning of the last day of the conference, which invited speakers, Ted Boyle (Kyushu), Naomi Chi (Hokkaido), Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly (Victoria), Oliver Schmidtke (Victoria) and Birte Wassenberg (Strasbourg), to talk about migration and security policies in Asia and EU, respectively. Though the policies itself the political and social backdrops to these two regions are different, we can see that there is an opening and closing of the borders happening simultaneously.

This year’s organizing committee organized an excursion to Tijuana and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Participants enjoyed walking through Tijuana and quenching their thirst at the local microbrewery, Norte Brewery. The excursion ended with a seminar at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (El Colef) and a quick visit to the border wall between U.S. and Mexico at Imperial Beach, Playas de Tijuana. The border wall “lingers” over the magnificent beach, dividing families, friends and loved ones, in this beautiful region of Tijuana. (Written by: Naomi Chi)




2019. 04. 12-13

SRC-RCCZ Joint Symposium “Macro-Micro Relations in East Asia”

The Border Studies Unit (UBRJ) at the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre and the Reconciliation and Coexistence in Contact Zones Research Centre (RCCZ) at Chungang University held a joint symposium on April 12-13, 2019 in Seoul. This was the first joint venture between the two institutions after the signing of the MoU in November 2019. The two day symposium consisted of 3 sessions and an excursion to Camp Greaves at the DMZ.
The first session titled “Multiple Characteristics in the Contact Zones of North Korea, China and Russia” invited two speakers, Dr. Mihoko Kato, who examined the characteristics and transition of Russian foreign policy toward North Korea from 2000 to 2018, and Dr. Chulhyun Park, who examine the development of the trans-border city of Hunchun in China. The second session titled “The North Korean Cohabitation and Diaspora in the Post-Cold War Era” also invited two speakers, Dr. Naomi Chi, who examined the North Korean women defectors to China, South Korea and Canada, and Dr. Ted Boyle, who examined the challenges of the Sino-North Korean border. The third session titled “Solidarity of Minorities in Contact Zones of East Asia” invited two speakers, Dr. Kyunghwa Lim, who examined the solidarity between the Okinawan people and Zainichi Koreans during the return of Okinawa to Japan, and Dr. Hyein Han, who examined the victimhood of the forced labourers and comfort women vis-à-vis Japanese colonial rule. Questions concerning the regional security of Northeast Asia, the current Moon administration’s policy toward North Korea, Russian interest in East Asia, minority issues in East Asia as well as the future of Japan-Korea relations were raised by the discussants and the audience. 
On the 13th, there was an excursion to Camp Greaves and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and there was a special exhibition of the photos taken by the members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Switzerland). Right after the Korean War, many North Korean war orphans were adopted and sent to Poland and Czechoslovakia. The photos of the children still remain vivid.
(Written by: Naomi Chi)



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