Independent papers

Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

Panel with independent papers

Chair: Duncan McCargo, Director of NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of Copenhagen

Panel programme, 29 June, 13:15-15:15 (CEST)

Time Title Presenter
13:15-13:45

The dynamics of nation, locality and gender in museums for modern Korean writers

Jungshim Lee
13;45-14:15

China’s Integration into the International Aid Community: Caveats and Pitfalls

Yuliia Mysak
14:15-14:45

Leveraging technological innovation for economic transformation: The Chinese approach

Samuel Aderemi Igbatayo
14:45-15:15 Transformation of tribal hinterlands into urban spaces in the fifth and sixth scheduled areas of India: Emerging issues and contestations Aashish Xaxa

Abstracts

The dynamics of nation, locality and gender in museums for modern Korean writers
Jungshim Lee

This paper examines literary museums in Korea as a dynamic space where aesthetics transforms to cultural heritage through negotiations between private and public, between local, national and universal, and between traditional and feminist ideas. The Korean landscape is dotted with eighty odd literary museums. A museum for literature is by definition a specialized museum type aiming to collect, preserve and exhibit literary materials in a systematic order. For that purpose, many countries including Japan, China and Taiwan have established a central or national museum for modern literature. However, Korea does not have a national literary museum yet. The systematic preservation of modern literature remains a nominal and unrealized idea in the Korean context. If so, what do all of those literary museums in Korea stand for? It is local and regional significance that should be discussed first. Korean literary museums have mushroomed since the autonomous local government system was launched in 2003. Local authorities have developed museum projects to celebrate writers as local cultural heroes and promote thereby culture, economy and tourism at a local level. The second significance goes for the national community. In its storytelling, Korean literary museums evoke the nation, national histories and sentiments as a compelling and overarching theme. In doing so, they reclaim the idea of modern public museums in its original and universal sense, while largely marginalizing women writers whose literary style is predominantly personal and autobiographical. Nonetheless, female authorship and their literary legacies are redeemed and appreciated by a handful of small, family-running or non-public exhibition halls. It is an irony how these secret, secluded and confined spaces are reminiscent of traditional inner chambers for women.


China’s Integration into the International Aid Community: Caveats and Pitfalls
Yuliia Mysak, University of Hong Kong

Since the start of its international humanitarian activities, China has established itself as a non-traditional donor country. The distinctive features are, inter alia, its reluctance to fully integrate into the international humanitarian system and its adherence to the principles that are different from the so-called Western humanitarian principles, i.e. humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. Lack of clarity constitute the fertile ground for discerning the ulterior motives behind China’s humanitarian initiatives, which are not always justified. For example, some label China’s activities as an “economic expansionism” and attribute it to China’s ambitions to undermine the liberal global order. In any case, there are a lot of variables as to what China’s intentions are, yet the focus of this research is not on identifying them. One question to ask here is: How China’s rising humanitarian ambitions may change the international humanitarian system?

Today’s system of humanitarian aid is marked by the conflict between the “aspirational” and “operational”, which means that noble humanitarian imperatives are not easy to uphold on the ground, in (post-)conflict and post-natural disaster situations. Further problems that traditional humanitarian aid community faces include, e.g., the lack of transparency and inadvertent facilitation of terrorist activities. Against this backdrop, what will China, mainly driven by pragmatism, be able to bring into the international humanitarian system? To answer both questions, I will undertake a normative study, with the focus on China’s humanitarian activities in Africa and South-East Asia.


Leveraging technological innovation for economic transformation: The Chinese approach
Samuel Aderemi Igbatayo

China has witnessed an impressive economic growth in recent times. Its exponential growth since the beginning of economic reforms in 1978 is characterized by a doubling of its GDP every eight years between 1978 and 2017, in a development aptly described by the World Bank as “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history”. Over the past four decades, China’s economy has undergone significant transformation, from the world’s tenth largest economy in 1978, to the second largest by 2010.  The nation’s transformation profile is driven by the manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 40% of its annual GDP. The path of China’s emergent technological revolution is traceable to its export processing zones, established in the 1980s, to deepen industrial transformation in the coastal regions. The export processing trade is driven by a strong manufacturing base created in the 1950s and complemented by technology transfer since the 1980s, gradually became a catalyst for China’s economic transformation.  China’s innovation policy and practice are accompanied by success stories in recent times. In 2016, the national Supercomputing Center in Wuxi launched the Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest supercomputer, with 10.65 million CPU cores, a demonstration of China’s mastery of technological innovation. An emergent industry associated with China’s technological innovation is the electric vehicle.  According to the World Economic Forum, China sold about 1.3 million electric vehicles or hybrids in 2017, or 4% of all vehicles sold in China, a testimony to China’s emergent technological innovation capability.

Transformation of tribal hinterlands into urban spaces in the fifth and sixth scheduled areas of India: Emerging issues and contestations
Aashish Xaxa, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

Much has been written on the ways and means by which tribal land is procured for industrial, irrigation, power and mining projects. However, a little literature exists on procurement of land in the context of urban development which has been spreading in the tribal areas. My paper explores the modalities and mechanisms by which land is being procured in the context of urban development, especially in reference to the emerging capital townships of Greater Ranchi and New Shillong Township which fall in the Fifth and Sixth Scheduled Areas of the Indian Constitution respectively. It examines the implications of such development on the affected people regarding their constitutional and legal rights and entitlements, their modes of governance and the way they have been articulating and addressing their issues. The issues above are examined from a comparative perspective.