29. Apr 2022 / 30 min

The Future of Japanese Studies

A conversation with Aike Rots. Hosted by Duncan McCargo.

Does the rise of China mean that studying Japan is inexorably declining? Many students become interested in Japan because of popular culture, such manga and video games: is this a good or a bad thing? In an era of Google Translate and nifty smartphone apps, do people still need to spend years and years learning Japanese? What kind of problems do prevailing notions of methodological nationalism create for the study of Japan? And how can scholars of Japan best adapt to the rapidly-changing academic landscape?

In this wide-ranging conversation with NIAS Director Duncan McCargo, Aike P. Rots, an associate professor of Japan Studies at the University of Oslo, explains the thinking behind an engaging March 2022 keynote address he gave to a conference at Copenhagen Business School on the topic of ‘Japan and Japanese Studies in the Twenty-First Century’.

Aike Rots works on a variety of Asia-related issues, including religion, culture, biodiversity and the environment. He currently holds a European Research Council Starter Grant entitled ‘entitled ‘Whales of Power: Aquatic Mammals, Devotional Practices, and Environmental Change in Maritime East Asia’ .

Read his short article on methodological nationalism in Japanese studies here.

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18. Mar 2022 / 42 min

Democratic Backsliding in Sri Lanka

A discussion with Øivind Fuglerud. Hosted by Kenneth Bo Nielsen

Cocktail umbrellas and refugee camps, serene Buddhist monasteries and soldiers in combat fatigues – Sri Lanka is a country of paradoxes. When the country became independent in 1948 it was a strong candidate to prove that the transition from colonialism to democratic sovereignty could indeed be successful. Today, after 30 years of civil war and […]

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8. Jul 2022 / 30 min

Finnish Maritime Interaction with China in the 18th Century

A discussion with Erja Kettunen-Matilainen. Hosted by Ari-Joonas Pitkänen.

As COVID-19 disrupted maritime trade with China, the world was again reminded of the importance of shipping in global commerce. The roots of Nordic maritime trade relations with Asia go back centuries, and this history reveals interesting details about early Finnish interaction with China. For example, the Swedish East India Company’s 18th century trade voyages produced […]

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