Isaac Gagné and Celia Spoden to give research presentations at the AAA Conference
DIJ researchers Isaac Gagné and Celia Spoden will attend this year’s annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in Toronto to present their latest research. Both will give presentations in the panel “Beyond ‘Lonely Death’: Communication and Engagement in Japan’s Aging Society” on November 17. Drawing from fieldwork in a hamlet in Nagano and the displaced district of Yuriage in Miyagi, Isaac’s paper (“Social Welfare of and for the Community: Neighborhoods, Networks, and Volunteerism in Aging Japan”) will discuss the roles of community-based social welfare services in aging suburban and rural communities. In her paper (“Cyber-Physical Spaces in Japan: Social Inclusion of People with Disabilities Through Avatar-Work”), Celia will present her fieldwork in an avatar café, where home-bound people remotely control robots and serve the guests. Drawing on interviews with the avatar pilots, she will explore their perception of social participation, work, and disability.
The autumn issue of our DIJ Newsletter includes introductions of new DIJ team members and guests, Alumni news, a new Catchword (doryoku gimu), a call for applications for PhD fellowships, information on new publications as well as a selection of our recent and upcoming academic and outreach activities. We hope you will enjoy exploring this new edition of the DIJ Newsletter. If you haven’t done so yet, you can subscribe to receive our Newsletters directly to your inbox. The full issues and subscription form are available here.
Japan-Stipendien für Promovierende
Für das Jahr 2024 vergibt das DIJ wieder attraktive Stipendien zur Förderung von Forschungsaufenthalten in Japan im Rahmen von Promotionsvorhaben. Die Stipendien sind mit zurzeit 2400 Euro/Monat dotiert und werden für die Dauer von drei bis maximal zwölf Monaten vergeben. Gefördert werden Forschungsaufenthalte, deren Beginn in den Zeitraum zwischen 1. Februar und 1. Dezember 2024 fällt. Über die Voraussetzungen sowie das Bewerbungsverfahren informiert unsere Stipendienordnung. Bewerbungsschluss für diese Ausschreibung ist der 20. Oktober 2023.
Open access journal article by David Malitz examines Thai nationalisms
“A Long-Term View of Thai Nationalisms: From Royal to Civic Nationalism?” by David M. Malitz is now available as an open access article (Asien, No. 164/165, July/October 2022). Rejecting a linear evolution of Thai nationalist ideas, it traces the development of very different political imaginations of a Siamese/Thai political community from the early nineteenth century through the student protests of 2020/2021. It does not consider, therefore, these recent demands for reform of the country’s monarchy to represent a radical rupture with established Thai political culture. Rather, the student protests constitute a new iteration of a long-standing trend of contesting official nationalisms in the country. This is evident in the students’ own symbolic embracing of the history of the Siamese Revolution of 1932. For analytical purposes, the article employs a twofold approach: it differentiates between inclusive and exclusive imaginations of the national community on the one hand and between its democratic versus autocratic political organization on the other.
New book publication ‘Research into Japanese Society’ co-edited by Sebastian Polak-Rottmann
The new publication Research into Japanese society: Reflections from three projects involving students as researchers during the COVID-19 pandemic (University of Vienna 2023), co-edited by Antonia Miserka and DIJ’s Sebastian Polak-Rottmann, collects three group projects from Sophia University, the University of Vienna and FU Berlin that involve students as researchers at different stages in their academic lives. In all three cases, students actively participated in gathering data for a group project and reflected on their experiences. The volume shows that students, rather than being mere receivers of knowledge, may also actively be part of the collaborative production of knowledge. It also demonstrates how research in a team can be conducted, albeit in an adjusted manner, during the ongoing pandemic. The fifteen contributions include a chapter co-authored by Sebastian and DIJ alumnus Hanno Jenztsch (“Rural spaces, remote methods—the virtual Aso Winter Field School 2022”) and a conversation between Sebastian and John W. Traphagan (University of Texas at Austin) on his book Cosmopolitan Rurality, Depopulation, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in 21st-Century Japan.
Hybrid Seminar ‘Infrastructure and the Remaking of Asia’
In the 21st century, infrastructure has undergone a seismic shift from West to East. Once concentrated in Europe and North America, global infrastructure production today is focused squarely on Asia. This hybrid seminar will introduce the open access book Infrastructure and the Remaking of Asia (University of Hawai’i Press 2023) which investigates the deeper implications of that pivot to the East. Written by leading international infrastructure experts, it demonstrates how new roads, airports, pipelines, and cables are changing Asian economies, societies, and geopolitics—from the Bosporus to Beijing, and from Indonesia to the Arctic. Ten tightly interwoven case studies powerfully illustrate infrastructure’s leading role in three global paradigm shifts: climate change, digitalization, and China’s emergence as a superpower. This event is part of the DIJ’s research partnership on Asian Infrastructures with the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore. Details and registration here
What is the future role of mediated social touch for social inclusion and societal participation in the context of the increasing digitalisation and diversification of Japanese and German societies? The workshop and symposium Mediated Social Touch. Interdisciplinary Explorations of Digital Touch to Connect Humans will bring together experts and practitioners from social sciences, neuroscience, haptics and computer science/AI to gain a comprehensive and multi-perspective understanding of mediated social touch and its potential for connecting humans in a digitalized world. The public symposium on 18 October at the OAG Hall in Tokyo is preceded by a three-day internal workshop. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Details and registration here
In February 2022, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaimed a Zeitenwende (“epochal shift”) denoting a shift away from close economic ties with Russia and announcing a massive investment in Germany’s defense capabilities. These measures were meant to meet the economic and political challenges faced by a country that had previously relied on pacifist politics. Drawing on a historical perspective of Germany’s “long remilitarization” from the Korean War to the Armed Forces’ missions in Afghanistan and Mali, this talk will evaluate what the Zeitenwende means for Germany’s present and future with a particular focus on security policy. Professor Tokuchi will comment on Professor Leggewie’s presentation providing a Japanese view on the changing global security landscape. After the presentations, the discussion will be opened to the floor. The event will be followed by a networking reception. Details and registration here
Claus Leggewie, Giessen University
Hideshi Tokuchi, Research Institute for Peace and Security