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York Centre for Asian Research Update                        Issue 33, Friday, November 25, 2005

Core course for Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies to commence in Winter 2006

The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives (GEOG 5700/GS ANTH 5500) is the core course for the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) which is in the final stages of approval by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS). The course will be offered in Winter 2006 and is intended for graduate students who plan to enroll in the diploma program.  The course will examine the construction of Asian regions, identities, economies and institutions using perspectives from across the social sciences and humanities. It will review the construction of Asia through colonialism, orientalism and cold war politics, as well as local dynamics (read flyer for more details).

The course convenor is Dr. Philip Kelly (left) (email: tel. (416) 736-2100 x 22499). Registration is by permission of the course instructor and should be done through the Geography Graduate Programme Assistant, Kathy Armstrong:, x 55106). For more information on the diploma, contact the York Centre for Asian Research at, or Diploma Program Coordinator:  Dr. Wendy Wong (right) at x 44066.

Course on Existential Phenomenology to focus on East Asian influences in everyday life

Dr. Jay Goulding from the School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York will also offer a course in Winter 2006 on East Asian influences in existential phenomenology. The course (SPT 6194) will focus on the early years of French existentialism and German phenomenology that found their way together through exchanges with East Asian philosophers. It will compare ‘being’ and ‘time’ through existential phenomenologists Bergson, Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger alongside Asian interlocutors Kuki, Watsuji and Chang. For more info, contact x 22883.

More News from Y-File: Author who helped organize New York cabbies to speak at York

The University Colloquium on the Global South at York will host a seminar presentation by Biju Mathew, author of Taxi!: Cabs and Capitalism in New York City (The New Press, 2005). This final presentation in the colloquium’s fall series will take place Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2:30-4:30pm, in 305 York Lanes.  Full Story

Biju MathewMathew (right), a professor of business at New Jersey’s Rider University, is a longstanding organizer of the Taxi Workers Alliance and a co-founder of the Forum of Indian Leftists (FOIL). The talk is co-sponsored by several York organizations including the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Division of Social Science, the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology, the International Development Studies Program, the Labour Studies Program, the York Centre for Asian Research, and the York University Bookstore.

This is the last colloquium of Fall 2005. The Winter 2006 program is in preparation – details to be announced. The University Colloquium on the Global South is an open space for debate and critical inquiry for students, faculty members, NGOs, social activists, and policy makers. Colloquia are free and do not require pre-registration.

For information or to register for updates, visit the University Consortium on the Global South Web site, e-mail Elena Cirkovic or call ext. 55237.

Numata Buddhist Studies Seminar Series

The Department of Historical Studies-UTM in collaboration with the Department and Center for the Study of Religion-UTSG and Department of Humanities-UTSC presents the following Buddhist seminar series:

Dr. Jason Carbine
Department of Religion, Amherst College
"Care for the Sasana: Textualization and Embodiment in a Burmese Buddhist Tradition"
Monday, 28 November  2005, 10 am | Room 200B, NMC - 4 Bancroft Avenue 
"Constructing Buddhist Worlds: Disorder and Order in Contemporary Myanmar"
Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 12 noon | 262 North Building, UTM

Jason Carbine holds a 2004 PhD in the History of Religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School.  He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Amherst College, where he is teaching three courses on Buddhism. In 2004-05 he had also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Holy Cross. Carbine has published several articles and, along with Frank Reynolds of the University of Chicago, is the coeditor of The Life of Buddhism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). A specialist on Burmese Buddhism, Carbine is currently revising his dissertation, “An Ethic of Continuity: Shwegyin Monks and the Sasana in Contemporary Burma/Myanmar,” for publication.


Dr. Shen Weirong
Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan

"Reconstructing the History of Buddhism in Central Eurasia (1100-1400): A Multilingual Approach to Khara Khoto Collection", Thursday, 1 December 2005, 10 am | Room 200B, NMC - 4 Bancroft Avenue
"Lamaism and Heshang-ism: Two cases of Intercultural Misunderstanding between Tibet and China"
Friday, 2 December 2005, 12 noon | 262 North Building, UTM 

Weirong Shen holds a 1998 PhD in the Language and Cultural Science of Central Asia from the University of Bonn. Currently he is a Foreign Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, Japan. In 2002-04 he was a Guest Research Associate at the Graduate School of Letters at Kyoto University. He has taught at the Humboldt University in Berlin and at Macalester College in St. Paul and has been a research scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous articles in Chinese, German, Japanese, and in English.


Dr. Christoph Emmrich
South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University
"The Girl, the Buddha, and the Bilva Fruit, or How Buddhist is Ihi?"
Monday, 5 December 2005, 10 am | Room 200B, NMC - 4 Bancroft Avenue
"Timing Salvation: World, Lifespan, and Moment According to the Suttapitaka"
Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 2:30 pm | 262 North Building, UTM 

Christoph Emmerich holds a 2004 PhD in Indology from Heidelberg University, where he wrote a dissertation on “The Long, the Short, and the Right Time: Temporal Forms of World and Salvation in the Suttapitaka of the Theravadins.” He is the author of 15 articles in German and English. In addition to several encyclopedia entries, he is the coeditor of a forthcoming book on Ritual of the Body (Harrassowitz).

For more information, please contact the UTM-Department of Historical Studies (905) 569-4913. |

Focus on Nepal: A mini Nepali film festival 

The University of Toronto's Nepal Group is organizing the first Nepali film festival in Canada titled Focus on Nepal. The one day film festival will take place on December 3rd, 2005 (Saturday) at the Innis Town Hall ( 2 Sussex Avenue; Sussex and St. George), University of Toronto with the first screening starting at 6pm. The festival is a fundraiser for Namaste Radio, the first Nepali radio program of Canada.

The Focus on Nepal festival will feature four high quality films from Nepal made by emerging Nepali filmmakers. The festival includes a feature film called Numafung (directed by Nabin Subba; 108 minutes) which explores the intersection between gender and cultural politics in Nepal within the changing socio-economic framework of the country. Specifically, it is about a Limbu woman, named Numafung (which means "beautiful flower" in Lepcha language), attempting to negotiate her own grounding within highly binding, patriarchical traditions and dizzyingly rapid modernizing processes. The remaining three films are documentary films. These include The Living of Jogimara (directed by Mohan Mainali; 38 minutes) about 17 innocent people from Jogimara village in Nepal who were killed in the crossfire between the army and Maoist forces,  Andolan Jaari Chha (English title: The Struggle Continues; Filmmakers to remain anonymous due to security reasons; 23 minutes) a guerilla style documentary film about the street-level political protests in Nepal and their brutal clampdown by the forces in power all captured with hidden camera, and Bhenda Ko Oon Jasto (English title: In Search of a Song; Director: Kiran Khrishna Shrestha; 60 minutes) about a couple of young Nepalese pop musicians who go on a trip to rural Nepal in search for the origin of the folk song that they sang in a modern version, and became famous for. Together, the films provide a non-essentializing, critical glimpse of some of the complex socio-economic changes and struggles taking place in Nepal. All films have English subtitles.

The films will be screened in two sessions. Screening Session A will begin at 6pm and will include Andolan Jaari Chha and Numafung. Screening Session B will begin at 9pm and will include Bheda Ko Oon Jasto and The Living of Jogimara. Tickets for each screening session will be $10. A festival pass (admission to both screening sessions, i.e. all four films) can be purchased for $16. All proceeds to benefit Namaste Radio (101.3 FM; Sundays 9-10am; For more information contact Sabin Ninglekhu at (416) 925-6075 or

The festival is still seeking potential financial and media sponsors (excellent promotional benefits for sponsors). Interested sponsors please contact Anil Thapa at (647) 282-7635 or

CERIS presents public seminar on migration regulation and labour markets

The Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) presents a public seminar on how migration regulates labour markets on Friday, December 9, 2005, 12:00-2:00 p.m. at 246 Bloor St. West, 5th Floor, Room 548 (St. George subway station, Bedford Street exit).

Speaker: Dr. Harald Bauder, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Guelph

With international migrants serving as nannies, construction workers, gardeners and small-business entrepreneurs in the industrialized world, the traditional point of view is that labour markets shape international migration flows. Dr. Harald Bauder would however argue that the international migration of workers is necessary for the survival of industrialized economies and that migration regulates labour markets through processes of social distinction, cultural judgment and the strategic deployment of citizenship. With European and North American case studies, he will illustrate how different legal, social and cultural strategies towards international migrants are deployed to render migrants and immigrants vulnerable, pushing them into performing distinct economic roles and into subordinate labour market situations.

Refreshments will be served. RSVP or call (416) 946- 3110. For information on CERIS, please visit their website at

Call for Papers: Whose Democracy? Conflict, Negotiation and Transformation in Contemporary Southeast Asia

On March 31st and April 1st 2006, the University of Michigan's Center for Southeast Asian Studies will host a student conference on the theme: Whose Democracy? Conflict, Negotiation and Transformation in Contemporary Southeast Asia.

Paper submissions are welcome from graduate students addressing issues of democracy, identity, conflict and conflict resolution in contemporary Southeast Asian states and societies. The conference seeks to engage pressing concerns of regional autonomy and decentralization, communal and sectarian conflict, the role(s) inhabited by religion in shaping political participation, as well as other varieties of identity formation and demarcation vis-à-vis democracies in flux. Selected submissions might broach topics of regional and ethnic conflict, state-sanctioned violence, democratic reforms, post-conflict reconstruction, as well as social and religious concerns, highlighting local and experiential accounts.

The conference explores how concepts of democracy are currently being structured, negotiated, and/or dismantled by state, private, non-profit and community actors. As such, participation is invited from a multiplicity of perspectives, including the fields of anthropology, area and cultural studies, economics, history, political science and public policy. In addition to fostering productive dialogues within and between academic disciplines, this conference aims to build necessary bridges between the often divergent experiences of those in the academic, activist, and policy-making communities.

Funds are available for transportation costs. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for these funds. Please submit abstracts in electronic form, both within the body of the email and as an attachment, no later than January 5, 2005 to Additional questions or concerns can be addressed to Kate at Program Coordinator, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, The University of Michigan, 3603 SSWB, International Institute, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106 T: 734.764.4568 F: 734.936.0996.

SSHRC launches new funding program Council News

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada  (SSHRC) recently launched a new program, the International Opportunities Fund (IOF), which is designed to help Canadian researchers develop, participate in, and lead diverse international collaborative research activities.  A summary is provided below.  For further details on this program, please contact the Office of Research Services (ORS) at ext. 55055 or or consult SSHRC’s web site at: The objectives of the program are to help Canadian researchers to initiate and develop international research collaborations, and to facilitate Canadian participation or leadership in current or planned international research initiatives that offer outstanding opportunities to advance Canadian research.
Development Grants are available to support activities such as workshops, seminars, and planning meetings that are expected to lead to significant international collaboration. Project Grants are available to help secure Canadian participation in current or planned international research initiatives and networks.
VALUE: Up to $25,000 for Development Grants or $75,000 for Project Grants
DURATION: 1 year

York University researchers are reminded that all applications for external research funding, including Letters of Intent, must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Services before they are submitted to the granting agency.  For internal approval, the application must be accompanied by a completed ORS Application Checklist, which requires the Chair’s and Dean’s signatures.  To ensure that the approved application is ready by the agency deadline, a complete application folder must be submitted to the ORS ten (10) working days prior to final submission date. Office of Research Services, 214 York Lanes, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Tel: (416) 736-5055, Fax: (416) 736-5512.

Pinoy's coconet tops BBC World Challenge, by Michael Jaucian, Inquirer, 2005-11-21

Agricultural engineer Justino Arboleda of the Philippines won the first prize in the First World Challenge contest sponsored by BBC World television in London on Nov 17 for his soil erosion control net or coconet. Coconet, made from waste coconut husk, was adjudged the best environmental grassroots project in the world. It was among 456 entries from 90 countries. Malta, which introduced a biodiesel product, took the second prize, while Vanuatu was in third place for its rechargeable battery. From 12 finalists, the field was cut down to three. Fifty per cent of one's score was given by the judges and the other 50 per cent by votes cast on the Internet, according to Arboleda's wife Julie. She, however, could not give the exact number of the Internet votes her husband received.

Arboleda, who is still in London, told the Inquirer in a text message that he received the award at 7pm (London time) on Nov 17, (2am on Nov 18 in the Philippines). He also received a cash prize of $20,000. The winners will be featured by the BBC in a special program on Dec 3 and 4 and by Newsweek magazine in its Dec 3 issue, according to the agricultural engineer. Arboleda said winning the first prize was a great honor for the country. "With the world recognition, it would be very easy for us to promote our cocofiber products throughout the world," he said. He expressed confidence that increased demand for coconet would help alleviate poverty in the country because more jobs would be created. He said demand for coconut materials would also benefit thousands of poor Filipino coconut farmers.

Coconet is manufactured by Juboken Enterprise, which Arboleda owns. His coconut husk business was featured by the Inquirer in January. It has provided jobs for at least 1,650 families in the Bicol region and other parts of the country. About 800 families have benefited from the venture in Albay province, 400 in Mindanao, 150 in Aklan and 300 in Southern Leyte.

Arboleda has also developed other uses for the different waste products generated by his coconut farm. These include doormats, stuffing for car seats and mattresses, and fertilizer (made from coconut dust). Before Arboleda bagged first prize in the BBC World Challenge, he was cited for excellence in export by President Gloria Arroyo on Dec. 13 last year during the Golden Shell Award held in Metro Manila. Arboleda's wife said she was very proud of her husband and would like to thank the Filipinos for voting for him. She said it was Agnes Sarmiento, who told her that she had read the Inquirer story about Arboleda and his coconet project, who nominated the coconet project in the BBC World Challenge.

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact
Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON  M3J 1P3. URL: