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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 71, Friday, December 8, 2006

In this issue

Y-File Headline News

 York librarian helps out in Hanoi
  Conferences/Workshops  UCGS reskeds dissertation workshop on North-South perspectives on social justice

Internship Opportunities

 Aga Khan Foundation Canada opens up competition for fellowship programs

Call for Proposals

 AUCC calls for proposals for Tanaka Fund for Japanese Language Studies

Asian Arts and Culture

 Spicy combination of past and present

York librarian helps out in Hanoi

With the fourth fastest growing economy in the world, huge changes are afoot in Vietnam. This rapid growth has put great pressure on the education system to become modernized, a feat proving very difficult for the country’s educational institutions. With a desire to provide ideas to an educational and economic system that is in great flux, Scott librarian Mark Robertson spent seven months last year working at a library in Vietnam’s Hanoi University for Foreign Studies, where he mentored staff, developed standard library systems and lived life from a whole new perspective.

His interest in the country stemmed from living nearly 15 years of his life near Broadview and Gerrard, an area that is populated by mostly Vietnamese residents. Over the years, he has come to know many of the Vietnamese families in the area, and has developed a fascination with their culture and country of origin.

Left: Mark Robertson in Hanoi

"Living in that area opened my eyes," says Robertson. "I wanted to work abroad and contribute to the sharing of professional skills in the developing world."

After much research, Robertson decided that the library at Hanoi University for Foreign Studies was the right place to spend half his sabbatical. There, he assisted in developing the library’s English-language collection, selecting from literature donated from around the world. As well, he mentored the library staff, teaching them standard library services. For the students, he helped to develop an information literacy program, a service that teaches students how to conduct research, and understand, use and interpret their findings.

"It's hard to tell how these ideas will be incorporated. I didn’t want to go to the university as an expert, but to engage in a dialogue with them. They'll make the ideas their own," he says. Full Story>>

YCAR invites you to its annual holiday reception

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) would like to invite you to its Annual Holiday Reception on Monday, December 11 from 3-6 pm at York Lanes 270, York University. Please feel free to bring food and drinks to share with everyone. We would like to take this opportunity to greet everyone a Happy Holiday Season and Best Wishes for the New Year!! Thank you very much for your continuing participation and support and we hope you can join us in celebrating another successful year for YCAR.

YCAR & Knox College to co-sponsor conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia

YCAR and the Centre for Asian-Canadian Theology and Ministry, Knox College invite you to a one day conference on Canadian Missionaries in Asia: Memory and Meaning in Asian-Canadian Churches. Thursday December 14, 2006, 10 Am – 4 Pm at Knox College, 59 St. George St. Toronto, Canada

In the 19th and 20th centuries Canadian missionaries went to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Many Asian-Canadian churches have historic origins in those former missions. What historical and cultural legacies link those British Canadian missionaries and these Asian Canadian Christians? Do the personalities and theology of those Canadians reappear in the practices and faith of these churches? How are the early missionaries present (or not) in their collective memories? What does that mission history mean in the memory of Asian Canadian Christians?

For inquiries contact: Nam-soon Song at, tel 416-978-1884 or Michael Stainton,, tel 416-736-2100 x 33068. 

UCGS reskeds dissertation workshop on North-South perspectives on social justice

The York University Dissertation Workshop on the theme of South-North Perspectives on Social Justice has been rescheduled to February 13-15, 2007. There will be a slight change in theme to bring out the question of how north-south social justice questions are manifested in fieldwork. Further information on how the workshop may be re-organized will be announced soon. The University Consortium on the Global South (UCGS) is organizing this dissertation workshop for 8-12 PhD students. PhD students interested in participating in the workshop are invited to submit their 8-10 pages project proposal (pre-fieldwork) or description of research (post-fieldwork).

Theme: South-North Social Justice and Fieldwork Reflections. Eligibility and Selection Criteria: Applications from PhD students enrolled in Toronto area universities, and whose research engages social justice questions, are welcome to participate. York graduate students will be given preference with at least 4-5 spots available to non-York students. The completed or proposed research must involve fieldwork in global south sites, which includes global south diasporas and indigenous populations in the north. Other criteria include: suitability with workshop theme, overlapping interests, multidisciplinarity, geographic distribution, and gender. The workshop will be particularly useful for students who have recently completed PhD fieldwork, although students preparing research proposals may also apply. Dates: Proposal Submission Deadline – Monday, January 8, 2007. Please email proposals to

UWindsor holds conference on Citizenship, Identity and Social Justice

Confirmed speakers include:
Dr. Janine Brodie, Professor, Political Science, Canada Research Chair (Political Economy and Social Governance), Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Canada
Dr. Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender and Migration (Social Policy), Centre for Racial Equality Studies, Middlesex University, UK

This international conference, hosted by the Centre for Studies in Social Justice at the University of Windsor, will take place from May 17th to May 19th, 2007. The objective is to provide an interdisciplinary forum in which critical issues and themes related to citizenship, identity, and social justice can be explored across a range of intersecting debates and perspectives. It will explore historical, political, social, cultural, and intellectual trends in the conceptualization of social justice and its relationship to institutions and practices of citizenship. It will also consider how social and political struggles surrounding identity are interlinked with notions of citizenship and social justice. The conference will bring together internationally acclaimed scholars, researchers, and activists whose work addresses the complex relationships among citizenship, identity, and social justice. For more information, visit the conference website and click here to submit an abstract

Aga Khan Foundation Canada opens up competition for fellowship programs

Aga Khan Foundation Canada is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for the 2007-2008 Fellowship in International Development, Fellowship in International Microfinance and Microenterprise and Young Professionals Program in Media. These nine-month programs provide unparalleled opportunities for young professionals to apply their skills and share their expertise with development organizations in Asia and Africa while broadening their understanding of international development. For more information or to download the application form, please visit AKFC's website at The deadline for applications is January 31, 2007.

CRS seeks Regional Information Officer for Southeast Asia

The Jakarta-based Regional Information Officer (RIO) will build upon and implement a media/communications strategy for the South East Asia region in order to build awareness about CRS and its programs to the U.S. media. The candidate will provide timely information on CRS activities to HQ staff, U.S. correspondents in the region and U.S.-based news outlets during times of emergency and heightened media coverage. Through the use of skilled writing and research, the candidate will compile human interest stories for the benefit of the Agency’s Catholic constituency in the U.S. He/she will write profile pieces, op-eds, press releases and other materials aimed at educating and informing the U.S. constituency and CRS donors about the agency’s programming and how their money are spent.

Job Responsibilities:
1. Develop and implement a comprehensive media strategy for the South East Asia region, focusing efforts on outreach to U.S. audiences – media outlets & CRS donors.
2. Establish and maintain relationships with national and international media representatives based in the South East Asia region to increase awareness in the U.S. of CRS projects and priority issues. Become a vital resource of information for journalists, feed them story ideas and keep them abreast of CRS activities. Consistently seek out newsworthy stories for U.S. media consumption.
3. Serve as media spokesperson for the South East Asia region, under the direction of the South East Asia Regional Director. Represent CRS in meetings with other NGOs on issues relating to media, information exchange, or joint public statements. Stay abreast of regional news trends to tie in CRS angles as appropriate. Serve as regionally based resource for staff on all issues relating to media and public relations, public appearances, and external information exchange. Host media training workshops and other key communications/PR training for CRS field staff.
4. Coordinate all visits by the media in the field, arrange interviews with key CRS staff when necessary, and provide key messages and talking points to interviewees for interview preparation.
5. Research, analyze, and write press releases, position papers, articles, country profiles for the web, op-eds and other pieces that further the objectives of CRS headquarters Communications Unit, the Se Asia region and agency.
6. Establish and maintain relationships with HQ-based Fundraising and Marketing staff, including communications, publications, web and direct response fundraising. Become a vital resource of regional stories for fundraising and marketing staff, and keep them abreast of CRS activities.
7. Travel throughout the South East Asia region to gather information on CRS and partner programs. Write compelling human interest and CRS success stories, photos/captions and other public relations information pieces. These pieces will in turn be utilized for the web site as well as for distribution to the Agency’s extensive donor base through direct mail pieces and e-newsletters. In conjunction with media and publications staff, coordinate visits of videographers and/or photographers to the region.
8. Incorporate emphasis on appropriate branding in regional training; ensure that CRS staff who are interviewed or photographed have access to appropriate CRS-branded wear, and, where feasible, that appropriate signage is visible on program vehicles, buildings, and items to be distributed. Provide on-the-ground support for visiting delegations by members of the Executive Leadership Team, bishops, key CRS donors or U.S. diocesan partners.

Qualifications: 1.Masters degree in journalism/communications preferable; 5 – 7 years work experience in journalism, communications and public/media relations; Solid understanding of U.S. media and U.S. audience; Experience working with international non-governmental organizations; Excellent written and oral communication skills; Overseas work experience, preferably in the developing world.

How to Apply: To apply for this position please go to the CRS website at Please include requisition number I 06 099, source code IDEALIST and salary requirements in cover letter. Preferred method of submitting your resume is through:

AUCC calls for proposals for Tanaka Fund for Japanese Language Studies

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) is pleased to announce the following call for proposals for the 2007-08 Tanaka Fund Program for Japanese Language Studies. Through Creation of Continuing Position (CP) grants and Visiting Language Lectureship (VLL) grants, the Tanaka Fund aims to enhance opportunity for study of Japanese language in Canadian universities, promote and help to improve Japanese language instruction, and foster institutional program development. Disciplines: Japanese language instruction, linguistics and language pedagogy. Value: A total of $62,000 (subject to annual variation) will be awarded among successful applicants. Grant period: 2007-08 academic year. Eligibility: Institutions applying for a Special Grant must be full members of AUCC; applications must be endorsed by a) the institution's authorized official (president, principal or rector); b) the project director; and c) the institution's authorized bursar; and only full credit courses qualify for assistance. Deadline: January 19, 2007.

Program guidelines and application forms are available on-line on the AUCC website:; http:///;

Call for papers: The 4th International Conference on Women and Politics in Asia 2007:
A Springboard for Democracy, October 4-6, 2007, Ottawa, Canada

Building upon “Women and Politics in Asia 2005: Discovering the Gender Face of Politics”, Women and Politics in Asia 2007: A Springboard for Democracy? aims to reflect upon the links between democracy and the feminization of the halls of political power within Asia. This region of the world is interesting for students of democracy for a number of reasons: many Asian countries have acceded to democratic government in the past few years; the vast majority boast extremely diverse populations, which generates enormous challenges for the establishment of balanced political representation; many countries have adopted affirmative action measures to increase the representation of women and ethnic groups in their parliaments; finally, many countries in Asia have elected women to the highest positions of executive and legislative power. This conference is soliciting papers for the four themes: (1) Political Actors and Institutions (2) Public Policy (3) Political Theory and Citizenship Discourses (4) Feminist Movements. 

PAPER PROPOSALS: Please send 1) the name and institutional location of the presenter; 2) the title of the presentation; 3) a 250 words paper proposal by the end of March 2007 to and Visit the CPSA WWW Homepage for more information.

Spicy combination of past and present, by Hwang You-mee, Korea Herald, Nov 15, 2006

India is the next big thing in every way, making waves in business, politics and now culture. As familiar as "Chindia" has become, contemporary art is seeing the rise of Indian artists, following their Chinese counterparts. There is no arguing that India has one of the richest cultural heritages, and a rich legacy - either an asset or a burden - of diverse culture and languages. Its artists today also have strong personalities, making it hard to categorize Indian art, unlike Chinese art that has strong political undertones. (Photo credit: B.M. Kamath`s claymation video "Happy man with restless cat" [Hangaram Design Museum].

"Hybrid: Cross-cultural hybridity," an exhibition at Hangaram Design Museum, focuses on the creativity and imagination of different times, cultures and genres. Fourteen Indian contemporary artists recommended by Lalit Kala Akademi, or the National Academy of Art in New Delhi, are showing their works with 15 Koreans, offering a rare chance for Koreans to glimpse Indian art, although it would be only the tip of the iceberg, as Jai Krishna Agarwal, curator of the show, said.

Colours are vivid and rich in Chintan Upadhyay's paintings and installations, dazzling viewers with bright crimson, fuchsia and yellow. The subjects, however, are eerie, and his frequently featured demonic, pouting babies are hybrids of images projected on symbols of innocence. The artist is known to analyse the relationship between two objects by placing them together. Another up and rising artist B.M. Kamath brings attention to the blurred line between reality and virtual reality with his video installations. With a critical and ironic view, he demonstrates with his images that the deeper you explore reality, the harder it becomes to tell between reality and virtual reality.

"Often I work with an illusionist space and even an ordinary element becomes a fantasy for me," said the artist. Indian art has changed through the generations and has become more accommodating of contemporary art from Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa. Explained Agarwal. "The artists participating in this show are fascinating in that they are creating hybrids in terms of visual images and ideas," he noted, acknowledging the different views that have built something new, be it a pastiche or a reconstructed adaptation. Korean artists also acknowledge and embrace diversity. Using the imagery of Venus for "An Everyday Venus", Debbie Han challenges the notion of femininity, portraying it as complex, unfamiliar, mythical, androgynous, or a hybrid of all these qualities.

A hybrid of identities as found in Upadhyay's are present in the works of Byen Ung-pil, Lee Jin-joon, Lee Eun-jung and Roh Jin-ah. Byen's "Portrait as a men" consists of five paintings of men of different ethnicities, with their hair removed (including eyebrows and moustache) and in the same pose. Also on view are Lee Eun-jung's cloned human bred with a pig, or Roh's cyborg filled with human emotions. The exhibition runs through Dec 13, at Hangaram Design Museum, located near Nambu Bus Terminal Station, Subway Line No 3. For more information, visit

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