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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 74, Friday, January 12, 2007

In this issue

York Events Winter 2007

 Thongchai Winichakul to speak at the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies Launch
  Summer Internship  SEASSI offers Asian Language Training for professionals and students

Fellowship Opportunity

 Aga Khan Foundation provides fellowship opportunity with BRAC

Call for Applications

 APFC opens up competition for its research grants programs

Asian News Analysis

 Genghis Khan's Legacy: Battle for Mongolia's soul, The Economist

Thongchai Winichakul to speak at the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies Launch

YCAR invites you to its Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) launch on Thursday, January 18, 2007 from 2-5 pm at 280 York Lanes with guest speaker, Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, History Professor from University of Wisconsin and respondents, Dr. Tania Li from University of Toronto and Dr. Philip Kelly from York University. Thongchai Winichakul's book Siam Mapped has won numerous academic honors. He has published articles on civilizational discourses, public memory, and the intersection of geography and history in area studies. He is also an active and engaged scholar as well as teacher among Thai and American academics.

The GDAS enrolment forms are now available on YCAR's website. The GDAS core course, The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives, will be taught this Winter 2007 by Dr. Peter Vandergeest and is cross listed in the Departments of Anthropology, Geography and Sociology (ANTH 5500/GEOG 5700/SOCI 6745). The GDAS Language Award has also been approved by the Office of Student Financial Services for graduate students who are interested in taking an Asian language course to further develop their proficiency and understanding of the context and perspectives relating to their area of research study. The deadline for application has been moved to January 31, 2007.

YCAR commences brownbag with a series of talks on South Asia

January 15, Michael Nijhawan, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
On Urban ‘Dhadi’: Cultural, Linguistic, and Political Translations

Abstract: This paper, co-authored by Virinder Kalra (Manchester U), analyzes how a popular musical genre of Punjab/India has entered the British rap and hiphop scene, being pushed by a political agenda of Sikh separatism and militancy. Challenging the dominant paradigm of "cultural translation" in migration and diaspora studies, the paper investigates different translational levels by demonstrating that the groups behind such musical outings disrupt the stereotypical distinction between "cosmopolitan" and "fundamentalist/inward-looking" diasporic formations.

January 22, Ritika Shrimali, PhD Candidate, Geography, York University
Peripheralising Urban ‘Bads’: Case of Idgah Slaughterhouse in Delhi, India

Abstract: The paper is an attempt to critically look at urban practice of relocation drive of the only municipal slaughterhouse currently located amidst Sadar Bazaar – a busy hubbub of wholesale commercial activity in Delhi, India. It’s an attempt to document an urban process of peripheralization of an urban bad - which everybody needs but nobody wants in their backyard. The paper will provide some hints to possible causes of its relocation - traced historically and then juxtapose them with the current status on the case of  slaughterhouse's relocation.

January 29, Saidul Islam, PhD Candidate, Sociology, York University
From Rice to Shrimp: Environmental and Agrarian Changes in Rural Bangladesh

Abstract: Bangladesh is one of the top ten shrimp producing countries of the world, and cultured shrimp is known as "white gold" in rural Bangladesh. Historically, farmers have confined shrimp culture to ocean coastlines because shrimp require large volumes of saltwater to reproduce and mature. Recent developments in Bangladesh suggest, however, that this once purely coastal activity could soon be a thing of the past. Many Bangladeshi rice farmers are adopting low-salinity culture systems that rely upon sea water or salt farm effluent that is trucked inland. This innovation, combined with low farm gate prices for rice and high prices for shrimp in the world market, has led increasing numbers of rice farmers in Bangladesh to convert paddy fields to shrimp ponds. As a result, the amount of land under shrimp production has skyrocketed in recent years. As rural economy is increasingly linked to global shrimp commodity chain, it has generated significant changes both in environmental and agrarian landscapes of rural Bangladesh.

York's Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts also presents Dr. Hyun Ok Park, Interdisciplinary Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, who will give a lecture on “Democracy, History, and Migrant Labor in South Korea" for a tenure-stream position in Historical Sociology on Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 10:00 a.m. at the Sociology Common Room, 2101 Vari Hall.  Everyone welcome!

IDS to present short-listed candidates for potential teaching position in its program

York's International Development Studies (IDS) of the Division of Social Science presents four short-listed candidates for potential teaching position in its program. The candidates will present their current research at South 752 Ross between 10-11:30 am on the following dates. All members of the York community are invited to attend.

Monday January 15: Julie Nguyen. Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Asian research, International Development Studies and Gender Studies), University of British Columbia, 2004. Doctoral Thesis: “Exploring Indigenous Approaches to Women’s Well-Being in Vietnam: Negotiating Gender”. Dr. Nguyen’s research and published work focus on global poverty and social marginalization, indigenous approaches to women’s well-being, and on the impact of corporate advertising on gender equity in Vietnam. She has worked on gender projects with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and has research experience in Vietnam, Canada and the Philippines. Dr. Nguyen is currently a lecturer on gender and public policy at the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.

Monday January 22: Dia Da Costa. Ph.D., Department of Development Sociology, Cornell, 2003. Doctoral Thesis: “Scripting Power and Changing the Subject: The Political Theater of Jana Sanskriti in Rural Bengal”. Dr. Da Costa’s research and publications are on the politics and culture of development, cultural study of state formation, citizenship, political street theater, and gender roles in India. She has research experience in urban and rural India and is currently an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in Sociology & Anthropology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York.

Monday January 29: Sharada Srinivasan.  Ph.D. in Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 2006. Doctoral Thesis: “Development, Discrimination and Survival: Daughter Elimination in Tamil Nadu, India”. Her research and publications cover issues of gender, culture and violence, young people and development, poverty and insecurity, and domestic violence, dowry and daughter elimination in India. She is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Social Studies in The Netherlands

Monday February 5: Melissa Marschke. Ph.D. in Natural Resource and Environmental Management Natural Resource Institute, University of Manitoba, 2005. Dr. Marschke’s research and published work focus on community-based participatory resource management, governance and local development, resource use and livelihoods, and on the relationship between poverty and environmental degradation in Cambodia. Dr. Marschke has worked as consultant with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Wildlife Fund WWF) and has field or research experience in Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Lao PDR, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Dr. Marschke is currently a SSHRC Post-Doctoral fellow based at York Centre for Asian Research.

SEASSI offers Asian Language Training for professionals and students

Burmese Class ActivityThe Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) at University of Wisconsin is offering an eight-week intensive language training program for undergraduates, graduate students and professionals. This coming summer 2007 will be the 25th Anniversary of SEASSI. Instruction is offered for academic credit in nine languages (Burmese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Javanese, Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese) at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year levels. Each language course is equivalent to two semesters of study, with full academic year credit. Instruction is given in small individualized groups taught by a team consisting of a coordinator and teachers who are native speakers of that language.

Application Deadlines: February 2: Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) and Heritage Language Award
April 2: Tuition Fellowship and General Application

Contact: Mary Jo Studenberg: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 207 Ingraham Hall, 1155, Observatory Dr. Madison, WI 53706, tel: (608) 263-1755, fax: (608) 263-3735, email: web:

Aga Khan Foundation provides fellowship opportunity with BRAC

Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) is a non-denominational, non-profit international development agency that promotes sustainable and equitable social and economic development in low-income countries in Asia and Africa. It is looking for an English Language Teaching Associate in Dhaka, Bangladesh from April 2007-March 2008.

BRAC University Institute of Educational Development (BU-IED) was established in July 2004 with the mission of “building professional capacity and strengthening the knowledge base to develop competencies to address the challenges of educational development in Bangladesh and elsewhere.” The vision of BU-IED is to be a centre of excellence for professional development in education, combining theory and practice and the dissemination and use of knowledge and skills for improving the quality of the educational system. BU-IED also seeks to be the professional home of a community of people committed to developing themselves professionally and building capacities in the education system. BU-IED’s central goal is to build professional capacities and strengthen the knowledge base to develop competencies to address the challenges in educational development in line with national aspirations and priorities in Bangladesh and the region.

Position Description: BU-IED is seeking an experienced English language teacher for intensive English language courses to build the capacity of professionals working in the field of education in Bangladesh. The first group of students will be professionals working with BU-IED and other organizations as well as government education officers who are preparing to enter a Masters of Education program that will be offered in conjunction with the University of Manchester. These students must pass the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam before starting the MEd course in September 2007. The teachers will assist the course coordinator in developing the course materials, teaching the classes, and assessing the students’ readiness to take the IELTS exam. The teacher would then repeat the course with other groups of professionals 2 more times over 12 months. In addition, as a member of the English Language Team at BU-IED, the Associate would be involved in planning and developing teaching materials at various levels (i.e. secondary, primary) for both classroom use and teacher training.

University degree in Education or relevant field; Experience teaching English as a second language to adults; Experience in development of teaching materials; Training in English Language Teaching; International work or volunteer experience preferred.

Application Process: Applicants should send their CV and covering letter to Human Resources at Deadline for application is January 31, 2007.

Job Contact Information: Aga Khan Foundation Canada Email:

APFC opens up research grant competitions

Purpose: The Asia Pacific Foundation Research Grants Program, funded through the proceeds of an endowment established by the Government of Canada, is designed to support policy research and informed discussion on Canada’s relations with Asia. As part of the Foundation's Canada Asia Pacific Research Network (CAPRN), this program will fund research activities, conferences, graduate and media fellowships, and special initiatives. These activities will in turn assist in the enhancement of Canadian capacity for public policy research and analysis focusing on the Asia Pacific region.

Programs: Asia Pacific Research Grants will be available in five categories:

All grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada reserves the right to cite the results of research funded under the grants program, and grant recipients may be called upon for media and outreach activities coordinated by the Foundation. Applications may be submitted in English or French.

Applications for all programs may be e-mailed to or mailed to Research Grants Program, 890 West Pender St., Suite 220 Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1J9.

Genghis Khan's Legacy: Battle for Mongolia's Soul
Dec 19th 2006 | Ordos City, Ulan Bator and Darkhan, From The Economist print edition

 On the 800th anniversary of his empire's birth, China and Mongolia both claim Genghis Khan as their own.

SOUTH of the great bend of the Yellow River a newly built four-lane expressway cuts through the scrub-covered semi-desert of the Ordos plateau. It is a bleak landscape. Overgrazing, intensive farming and the ravages of mining have taken their toll. Legend has it that Genghis Khan stopped to admire the area's lush grasslands and herds of deer as he and his warriors passed through on a mission of conquest eight centuries ago. If today he were to follow the signs to his mausoleum, just off the motorway, he would not be so impressed.

Members of a Mongolian tribe said to have been appointed by Genghis to take on the hereditary task of guarding his mementoes are certainly not pleased with what is happening on their ancestral land near Highway 210. The few hundred Darkhats, as they are known, are among some 4m Mongols living in Inner Mongolia, a province of China. The Mongols are vastly outnumbered by ethnic Han Chinese who, encouraged by the communist leadership, have migrated to Inner Mongolia in recent decades to work in factories and turn pastureland into farms. The Darkhats are happy enough that the new motorway brings more free-spending tourists to the mausoleum. What they resent is that much of their land has now been appropriated by the local government for the development of a Genghis Khan theme park next to it. To add insult to injury, they say, a Han Chinese businessman is running it. China's economic boom is spreading wealth into parts of the country that until a few years ago were impoverished backwaters. Thanks to soaring demand for its natural resources, Inner Mongolia is notching up faster economic growth than any other region of China: nearly 22% in 2005 (albeit from a low base). The rush to exploit coal and natural gas reserves around Ordos City, about 60km (40 miles) north of the mausoleum, is turning it into a boomtown of lavish hotels and restaurants and grandiose new government buildings.

Where there is money in China, theme parks are often quick to follow. The Genghis Khan theme park is run by the Donglian Group, a privately owned conglomerate of construction, property and education businesses based in Ordos City. With the help of the city government it acquired 80 sq km (31 square miles) of land for its project. On this it has built a luxury hotel, including a vast banqueting hall in the shape of a round Mongolian felt tent, or GER, where visitors can watch a long-and-dance re-enactment of Genghis's life over a meal. The theme park itself includes what is described as the world's largest Genghis Khan museum (though with pitifully few exhibits), surrounded by hundreds of giant cast-iron figures of warriors on horseback and their camp-followers.

Local Darkhats complain they have been ill-compensated for the loss of their land. They are particularly incensed by tourists being diverted to the theme park, which obscures the mausoleum in a separate enclosure behind it. Many Darkhats earn their money as mausoleum guards or selling horse rides or trinkets to tourists. They say a road built by the Donglian Group linking up the two sites has covered a sacred spot where the mausoleum once stood before the communist government built a much grander one on the present site in 1956.

Across the border in Mongolia, the plight of the Darkhats is being noted. Mongolia itself was ruled by China for some 200 years until the early 20th century. After declaring its independence in 1921 it fell under the control of the Soviet Union. But despite the brutal purges that followed, Mongolians often quip that the Soviets' grip at least helped them preserve their independence from China and avoid the fate of Chinese-ruled Inner Mongolia or Tibet. Now, with the Soviets gone, many Mongolians watch China's growing economic might with concern.

Though China brings badly needed money to their tattered economy, some are beginning to fear that Mongolia might eventually go the way of Inner Mongolia, the only difference being that instead of swallowing Mongolia, China will in effect rule it by controlling its economy. The symbol of stirring nationalism in Mongolia is Genghis Khan. This year the impoverished country has poured millions of dollars into celebrating the 800th anniversary of Genghis's unification of the Mongol tribes into a single state which became the biggest empire the world has ever known, stretching from Beijing to the Balkans. Under the Soviets, commemoration of Genghis was taboo because it reminded Russians of the humiliation of living under the Mongol yoke. But now the government, led by Mongolia's former communist party, is sponsoring a cult of Genghis, elevating him to the near-divine.

From cigarette packets and vodka bottles to bank notes and the capital's recently named Chinggis Khaan (the usual spelling of his name in Mongolia) Airport, Genghis's benign-looking image is everywhere. An equestrian statue of him is being constructed in front of the parliament building in central Ulan Bator. His face in chalk looks down on the city from a hillside. He is rarely portrayed as the bloodthirsty slaughterer of Western imagination. Genghis, say Mongolians, was a bringer of peace who encouraged trade and the flow of wealth, technology and ideas across vastly different cultures. Indeed, he all but invented globalisation.

In a country of only 2.7m people scattered over an area four times the size of Germany, national heroes are few and far between. This makes it all the more galling that Genghis is claimed by China too. Unlike the Russians, the Chinese have got round their subjugation by the Mongols by insisting he was one of their own. Genghis's grandson, Kublai Khan, founded China's Yuan dynasty in the 13th century. That, in China's view, makes Genghis himself an honorary Chinese emperor. China's Mongols are one of the country's 56 officially recognised ethnic groups, which in theory at least makes them just as Chinese as the ethnic Hans who constitute 93% of the population. Continued>>

Go to for more global news, views and analysis from the Economist Group. is the online version of The Economist newspaper, an independent weekly international news and business publication offering clear reporting, commentary and analysis on world politics, business, finance, science & technology, culture, society and the arts.

Note: The Central and Inner Asian Association (CIAS) in cooperation with The Asian Institute and the Central and Inner Asia Seminar is launching today its Central and Inner Asian Lecture Series with a talk on Mongolian Economic Opportunities and its Natural Resource Endowment by W. S. (Steve) Vaughan, Honorary Consul for Mongolia. Mr. Vaughan is a partner with the Toronto law firm of McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP. He is a mining/securities law specialist with over 35 years experience. Mr. Vaughan also acts as the Honorary Consul for Mongolia in Toronto.

Friday, January 12, 2007, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm. Informal reception follows 108N - Seminar Room, North House Munk Centre for International Studies 1 Devonshire Place. For more info, contact Gillian Long or visit MCIS website.

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