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Completed Research Projects

Asia Pacific Disputes Resolution: Cross-cultural and Comparative Disputes Resolution Research
Principal Investigator: Pitman Potter, IAR Hong Kong Bank Chair in Asian Research and Professor of Law
The Asia Pacific Dispute Resolution Project is based in the Institute of Asian Research (IAR) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), through its Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program, and the Office of Vice-President Research at UBC. The Project’s Principal Investigator is Dr. Pitman Potter, Professor of Law and Director of IAR at UBC, and involves a network of colleagues from UBC and from partner institutions in North America and Asia.
This Phase One MCRI Project supported research, analysis and policy proposals aimed at building knowledge on cross-cultural dispute resolution in international trade and human rights in Canada, China and Japan. Interviews and archival research, as well as statistical and qualitative data analysis were compiled to explain interactions among local, foreign and international norms and practices. The project tested existing hypotheses and generated new ones about selective adaptation and related concepts that inform the exchange of practices and norms about trade and human rights dispute resolution across cultures. The results of the research enabled interdisciplinary scholars and policymakers in Canada and internationally to understand better the requirements for effective cross-cultural dispute resolution, thus strengthening efforts to build a community of trade and human rights compliance in the Asia-Pacific region.
As part of its wrap-up activities, the Phase One APDR research project centred its focus on the publication of the APDR book series, knowledge dissemination events, and the correlative analysis of its second phase of Selective Adaptation Survey data on issues of human rights and international trade. Six APDR book volumes have been completed and these revolve around research themes associated broadly with the theme of Asia Pacific legal culture, international law, dispute resolution and globalization.  


Air Quality in Indian Cities: Assessing the Science to Inform Policy

Principal Investigator: Milind Kandlikar, IAR and Liu Institute


Indian cities are among the most polluted in the world. This project examines the impact of traffic related air pollution on air quality in Indian cities. The research consists of several discrete but interconnected topics including: detection of trends in air quality data and attribution to traffic and other sources; measurements and modeling of in-use emissions from vehicles; impact of switch to CNG and LPG in India's auto-rickshaw fleet on air emissions; and the relationship between air quality policy and global climate change. Dr. Kandlikar collaborates on aspects of this project with Dr. Madhav Badami (McGill) and Dr. Geetam Tiwari (Indian Institute of Technolgy, Delhi). This work is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Auto-21 Network Three doctoral students - Conor Reynolds (UBC); Arvind Saraswat (UBC) and Christian Krelling (McGill) - also work on this project.




Choice, Curricula, and Cram Schools – Diversity in the Japanese shadow education market

Principal Investigator: Julian Dierkes, Keidanren Chair in Japanese Research


Funded by a standard research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), Dr. Julian Dierkes is researching Japanese juku, the for-profit afternoon and weekend schools that many Japanese schoolchildren attend. He is conducting ethnographic fieldwork at approximately 30 schools in the greater Tokyo area, in Kansai, in Hiroshima and in rural Shimane Prefecture.


Dr. Dierkes is particularly interested in how operators of small juku relate to the education market that they are a part of. Early results show that there is no curricular diversity in this market, but a lot of organizational diversity. As one would expect of small-and-medium-sized enterprises, small juku attempt to shield themselves from the impact of the market in some areas (geographically, hiring practices, etc.) while not being able to avoid this impact in other areas of their operations (creeping oligopolization, technology lag, etc.).




Malthusian Discourse and Migration in the Japanese Empire, 1895-1945

Principal Investigator: Hyung Gu Lynn, AECL/KEPCO Chair in Korean Research


Studies of migration in contemporary contexts have proliferated over the past decade. However, the power of demographic ideas to engender very material forms of organized migration has received, at least in relative terms, little attention. Funded by SSHRC, this project analyses the diffusion and impact of Malthusian discourse of overpopulation became one of the primary engines of Japanese colonial expansion from 1895 to 1945. It examines these intersections of colonialism, modern demography, and surveys with visions of overpopulated dystopias and fecund, untrammelled colonial utopias through the use of archival and theoretical material, linking intellectual history to migration studies.


Some of the relevant publication results are below:

·         Migration Theory and Rural Migration within the Japanese Empire” (in Japanese), Institute of Korean Studies Annual (2008).

·         History of Gendered Migration in the Two Koreas” Harvard Asia Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring 2008).

·         “Moving Pictures: Postcards of Colonial Korea.” International Institute of Asian Studies Newsletter, No. 44 (Summer 2007).

·         Malthusian Dreams, Colonial Imaginary: The Oriental Development Company and Emigration to Korea.” In Caroline Elkins and Susan Pedersen, eds., Settler Colonialism in the Twentieth Century: Projects, Practices and Legacies (London: Routledge, 2005).

·         Co-authored with Apichai Shipper, and Eunice Kang, “Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration in East Asia,” in The International Studies Compendium Project (Oxford: Blackwell, forthcoming).



Popular Culture Flows in Northeast Asia

Principal Investigator: Hyung Gu Lynn, AECL/KEPCO Chair in Korean Research


Growing numbers of lives and perceptions within Northeast Asia are influenced in various ways by transnational flows of cultural commodities and cultural practices, such as Korean television soap operas, Japanese karaoke, Japanese animation, Taiwanese pop songs, Hong Kong film stars, or Chinese pirate DVDs. Such increases in the transnational circulation of popular culture have led to two seemingly contradictory yet deeply intertwined developments. On the one hand, there appears to be a growth in a common consumer or audience culture from “below,” while on the other, governments move to articulate and regulate these flows from “above.” As the reasons for audience and governmental reactions to each program or commodity in each country are inevitably varied, the project aims to analyze the circulation of popular culture within the Northeast Asia region through empirically grounded, interdisciplinary analysis that looks at both connections and comparisons. The Japan Foundation, Asia Research Fund, Centre for Korean Research and the Centre for Japanese Research sponsors this research project.  


The project involves (a) an international conference that was held in February 2008; (b) public lectures by three contributors from Japan in March 2008; and (c) the planned publication of a volume edited by Hyung Gu Lynn based on papers from the conference.


Some relevant publications are as follow:

·         Vicarious Traumas: Television and Public Opinion in Japan’s North Korea Policy.” Pacific Affairs, Vol. 79, No. 3 (Fall 2006).

·         Globalisation and Culture in the Asia-Pacific.” Media Times Review (February 2005).

·         Powering the Ignorant Eye: Aesthetic Value and Korean Film.” Harvard Asia Pacific Review, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Fall 2004).



Re-making Jakarta: cultural politics and the build environment in the new Jakarta

Principal Investigator: Abidin Kusno, Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Social Change and Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia


A SSHRC-funded project, “Re-making Jakarta” is an attempt to understand the interconnections between neoliberalism, political changes, and the various scales of spatial production in the new Indonesia. This research project intends to contribute to the study of Indonesia in two ways: by bringing more specific attention to the role of the built environment in shaping social changes, and by examining the role that such physical space plays in the formation of new political identities and urban citizenship. Studying the role of architecture and urban space in the formation of social and political identities would allow us to tease out the regimes of power that operate in the city and to deconstruct the meaning of the post-Suharto era.




Risk, Regulation and Agricultural Biotechnology: Controversies over Genetically Modified Seeds in India

Principal Investigator: Milind Kandlikar, IAR and Liu Institute  


India has emerged as a major battleground in the global debate over genetically modified organisms, and the regulatory process in India is marked by extensive public scrutiny and scientific controversy. This project aims to understand the emergence and evolution of these controversies and to examine their links to the national regulatory process, and the role of science therein. Kandlikar is the Principal investigator of this project funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This work is being done in collaboration with anthropologist Dr. Terre Satterfield at UBC. Julia Freeman (UBC) is the doctoral student working on this project.






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