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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 61, Friday, September 29, 2006

In this issue

Academic Events

 Asian Institute and YCAR to co-sponsor Taiwan roundtable
  International Workshop  Indochina between the two Geneva Accords (1954-1962)

Student Research Network

 EDG project creates world-wide student research network

Research Competitions

 SSHRC funding competitions in full swing

Asia News - Japan

 Japan's new prime minister eyes next year's elections

It's Yom Kippur (Jewish Holiday) on October 2 and Thanksgiving Day on October 9. In observance of these events, YCAR will not be holding  its Monday brownbag series. Keith Barney's talk on "Contemporary Forestry, Commodity Production and Rural Livelihoods in Laos" is moved to October 25 and Sanjay Talreja's talk on "Making Pictures - Finding our Voices in the Age of Multiculturalism" is on October 10. 

Asian Institute and YCAR to co-sponsor Taiwan Roundtable

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 1986 and 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 7:30 pm, Room 208N, Munk Centre for International Studies
University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place

On September 28, 1986, Taiwan’s Tangwai (non-party) opposition politicians organized a political party in violation of martial law. The existence of the new DPP was a direct challenge to the KMT’s rule by martial law. That October 15 the KMT Central Committee announced that it would end martial law, allow new political parties, and revise the restrictive laws on elections. The DPP had started Taiwan’s democratization. Twenty years later the DPP is the government, but under challenge because of corruption allegations against the president’s family. The speakers will reflect on the DPP’s role in Taiwan then and now, going beyond the daily news to think about where Taiwan’s politics has been and might go (AFP Photo: Anti-President Chen Shui-bian demonstrators give a thumbs down sign in front of the Presidential Office).

Ed File – “1986” From 1982 until now Ed File has trained many members of the DPP in non-violent social transformation skills.

Joseph Wong – “2006” Joe Wong is Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto and Director of the Asian Institute.

Su Ching-lung – “Reflections on Twenty Years” Dennis Su is immediate past chair of DPP Canada

The Munk Centre is on the northeast corner of Hoskin Avenue and Devonshire Place. From Saint George subway station walk south 1 block on Devonshire. For inquiries, contact Michael Stainton at

Geography Colloquium Series presents René Veron (University of Guelph)
A Tale of Tribals, Traders and Tubers: The Political Ecology of Forest Degradation in Madhya Pradesh
Tuesday, 3 October, 11:30, Ross N120

Rene Veron's research involves the study of impacts of globalization and reform on rural livelihoods; links between state-led development, politics and empowerment of the poor; decentralization and corruption; and institutions in sustainable development, including community-based environmental management. Regional emphasis has been on Asia, particularly India (West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh) and Indonesia (Java). His ongoing projects include: Restructuring Social Space: Globalization, Reform and Livelihoods in India (funded by SSHRC) and Globalization and the Poor: Sustaining Rural Livelihoods in India with Ravi Srivastava, Craig Johnson, Marta Rohatynskyj, O.P. Dwivedi (funded by Shastri Institute).

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES PROGRAM BROWNBAG RESEARCH SEMINARS 2006 – 2007 SERIES Tuesday, October 3 • 12:30 – 2:30 pm • The Paul A. Delaney Gallery • 320 Bethune College

SHIGEHISA KURIYAMA (Reischauer Institute Professor Of Cultural History, Harvard University)
The Life of Money and the Afflictions of the Body

Abstract: My ambition is to uncover connections between two major elements of our lives habitually assigned to distinct and unrelated spheres. Money and the body seem, on the face of it, completely disparate sorts of things. We associate the former with cold, dumb coins, and inanimate bills, whereas we identify the latter with warm, feeling flesh, and perhaps a soul. And so we commonly assume the study of money to be irrelevant for knowing the body--as useless for comprehending physiology as the study of physiology is, presumably, for mastering economics. The entwinement of medicine and the economy in Edo era Japan (whose legacy continues to loom large, I argue, in the contemporary Japanese experience of pain) compels us to reconsider such assumptions, and to reflect anew on the mystery of the body and the enigma of money, and the roots of both in the puzzle of the soul. For the full abstract, as well as last-minute changes, please visit  Supported in part by the Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, the Division of Natural Science, the Vice-President Academic, the Service Bursary Programme, and the York University Bookstore. For further information, please contact the convener, Prof. Kenton Kroker at

Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 7 pm, Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies (HNES) Building, Room 140

Join David Korten, noted author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Post-Corporate World, for a special stop at York on the current book tour for his acclaimed new title, The Great Turning. Featured in the documentary The Corporation, Korten is co-founder of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a fast growing, values-driven, business network in N America.

Visit If you can't make this special evening at York, check out David' s presentation at OISE-UT on Oct. 4.  See

UCGS presents Amrit Wilson on Immigration, Racism and South Asian Patriarchy: 'The British Experience'
Wednesday, 4 October, 2:30-4:30 pm, York Lanes 305

How has South Asian politics reshaped gender relations in Britain over the last 15 years? How have representations of South Asian women changed and South Asian masculinities reconfigured by multicultural policies and religion? In this talk, Amrit Wilson will explore the interaction of institutionalized racism and South Asian patriarchy in the context of immigration policy, state interventions and psychiatry. Amrit is a writer and activist on issues of gender and race in Britain and South Asian politics. Her books include Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain (Virago, 1978) which won the Martin Luther King award. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom. Presented by the University Consortium on Global South (UCGS) in cooperation with the Atkinson School of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology, South Asia Studies Program and York Centre for Asian Research.

From 7-9pm at Atkinson (Harry Crowe Meeting Room 109), a public lecture on the topic will also be presented by the Atkinson School of Social Sciences. The event is co-sponsored by Atkinson Dean's Office, Centre for Feminist Research, Graduate Program in Social Work, South Asian Studies, and Anthropology. Refreshments will be served. Everyone welcome!

International Workshop: Indochina between the two Geneva Accords (1954-1962)
6-7 October 2006, Salle de Boiseries - J2805, Univesité
du Québec à Montréal, Canada

Between 1950 and 1991, Indochina was one of the hottest spots in the international system. In 1950, the French colonial war against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam became an integral part of the Indochina War, when the Chinese began aiding the Vietnamese in their bid to take all of Indochina from the French and the Americans stepped up their assistance to the French to head off the communists in Southeast Asia. In 1954, an accord was reached in Geneva that confirmed the withdrawal of the French; set out a plan for resolving peacefully the form of the nation-states that would replace colonial Indochina; and held out hope that confrontation over this part of the world would fade away. It did not. The battle over Indochina would continue at the local, regional, and international levels, so much so that a Second Geneva Conference had to be opened in 1961-1962 to head off a major crisis in Laos - and beyond. What happened between this two accords and their immediate aftermath? What were the roles of local actors in melting down the peace of 1954? What were the regional and international contexts and the links among them? This workshop seeks to address these questions and others by examining the crisis that emerged over Indochina between the two conferences of 1954 and 1962. For more information, contact Karine Laplante, Département d'histoire Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada, email:, visit their website at or refer to the attached brochure.

Call for panelists on urban security in Asia for CANCAPS conference

Human security provides a way for academics and policy makers to understand the obstacles facing peoples in the developing world in a way that by-passes the dominant state-centric analysis. The concept is one with a broad range of uses, from Canadian 'freedom from fear' and Japanese 'freedom from want' approaches, to positions informed by post-structuralism. The panel on urban security in Asia will be exploring the issues of human security that face urban environments in Asia.  Presenters are asked to speak about specific human security concerns facing a particular urban environment or to address the more broad topic of human security in Asian cities. Conference participants will have travel and hotel costs partially covered (approximately 75% of travel and hotel fees to a maximum of $500). For those interested in participating in the panel, please contact Ryerson Christie at The conference is an excellent opportunity to meet with academics and government representatives working on a broad range of Asian security issues. For more information, visit

EDG project announces creation of Student Research Network worldwide

Ethnicity and Democratic Governance (EDG) is a five-year Major Collaborative Research Initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Its central research question is "How can societies respond to the opportunities and challenges raised by ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural differences, and do so in ways that promote democracy, social justice, peace and stability?"

The Student Research Network (SRN) is a key component of the Ethnicity and Democratic Governance project's student development strategy. Facilitated through an online discussion board, it is designed to help achieve four broad goals: create a useful, central resource for students researching nationalism, ethnicity, democratic governance, citizenship, multiculturalism, international intervention, immigration, social integration and other related topics; involve undergraduates in the project; provide opportunities for new scholars - particularly graduate students - to form relationships with others who share their research interests; and disseminate information related to the project to both affiliated and unaffiliated students.

If you would like to participate in the Student Research Network, please visit  and sign up today!

SSHRC funding competitions in full swing

It's the time of the year when the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funding competitions come in full swing again. SSHRC grants and fellowships programs allow researchers to explore, invent and develop deep expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, as well as to target research to specific social needs. They also provide support for research training and research communication activities. SSHRC supports university-based research and graduate training in the social sciences and humanities. Below are the hyperlinks to the specific programs for:

                Graduate students
                Postdoctoral researchers
                Community & non-profit organizations
                Postsecondary institutions
                Scholarly associations

                All SSHRC Programs

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. For more info, contact: Office of Research Services, 214 York Lanes, York University,, Tel: 416-736-2100 Fax: 416-736-5512.

Japan’s new prime minister eyes next year’s elections, by Sheila Smith, EWC Wire

HONOLULU (Sept. 27) – Shinzo Abe (AP photo) became Japan’s 70th Prime Minister Tuesday (Sept. 26). At 52, he is that country’s youngest postwar premier and the first born after World War II. And that, according to East-West Center fellow Sheila Smith “was one of his main selling points.” But, as Smith notes, “Abe may be young by Japanese standards, but he is no political neophyte. His political pedigree is very solid.” Abe’s father, Shintaro, was a former foreign minister in the government of former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 1980s, and his grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, was Japan’s Prime Minister from February 1957 to July 1960. Abe, himself, served his predecessor Junichiro Koizumi in various positions in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and government over the past five years.

The new Prime Minister has been labeled by some as a nationalist. Smith says she can understand why, but she prefers to call him a Japanese conservative. “Abe feels fairly strongly that the time has come for Japan to speak its mind internationally … to move away from what many people think of as Japan’s postwar ideology.” She adds that “he startled many people abroad by saying that he thinks the outcome of the Tokyo war crime tribunals is something he does not agree with.” But, according to Smith, “Abe, as Prime Minister and head of the LDP, will be focusing inward for awhile with an eye toward next summer’s Upper House elections. That will be a critical election because the LDP will be trying to win a two-thirds majority in the Upper House.” Smith points out “if they can do that, it will allow the party and Abe to move forward on Constitutional revision, including rewriting Article 9 to allow Japan broader latitude in deciding how to use its military.” He has suggested, according to Smith, “one of his domestic priorities would be the passage of a new education law … reforms that have long been part of Japan’s conservative agenda … reforms that address the perceived need to instill patriotism in Japan’s youth, and to give them a sense of morality.”

As Smith puts it, “In effect, Abe is stepping in to lead a new LDP, one that was fundamentally shaken up by Koizumi.” And, he apparently has moved quickly to put his stamp on the party. “Abe has appointed individuals with ideas very similar to his own to the three key leadership positions within the LDP.”  Many observers believe Abe will follow Koizumi’s reform agenda, but Smith notes “he will clarify his own approach.” Like his predecessor, Abe has continued to emphasize the need to bring new and younger voices to Japan’s leadership. Smith points out, “in his cabinet, 11 of the new members are novices and eight are below the age of 60.” But, he also emphasized consensus building in the selection of the new cabinet. A Japanese trait, the self-styled maverick, Koizumi did not stress. There are plenty of foreign policy issues that Abe will have to deal with early on, but Smith emphasizes, “It will be next year’s Upper House elections that will be upper-most in his mind. If he can lead the LDP to a major victory he will have not only secured his base, but also taken a big step toward advancing his conservative agenda.”


Sheila Smith is a research fellow in Politics, Governance, and Security in the East-West Center Research Program. Smith’s academic affiliations include associate in research of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. She has conducted extensive field work in Tokyo at the University of Tokyo and in Okinawa at the University of the Ryukyus, and has had research fellowships at the Japan Institute for International Affairs and the Research Institute for Peace and Security. Smith earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. Dr. Smith may be reached at (808) 944-7427 or via email at  For daily news on the Pacific Islands, see For links to all East-West Center media programs, fellowships and services, see

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