UBC Workshop on Borderwork in Northeast Asia

On April 12, 2017, ABSj chair and Hokkaido University professor Naomi Chi and KUBS’s Edward Boyle were at the University of British Columbia to promote National Institute for the Humanities (NIHU) Area Studies Project for Northeast Asia being run by Hokkaido University, and explain the role taken by Kyushu University in the project under the aegis of their own Progress100 funding. The Institute for Asian Research provided a collegial atmosphere for setting out the details of the project, the Kyushu University portion of which will be conducted with several UBC colleagues, including Professor Paul Evans, who facilitated this event, and to whom the two presenters offer their gratitude.

Following the project introduction, both speakers were granted the opportunity to introduce their own research and show how it fitted into wider narratives on northeast Asia. Naomi Chi’s presentation examined marriage migration in East Asia, focussing on the structural inhibitions as well as the individual difficulties that affected such unions. The talk made clear that any desire to institutionalize a northeast Asian region would require more than merely the greater circulation of national populations. Similarly, Edward Boyle’s look at “The Changing Shape of Japan: territorial disputes and remapping borders” highlighted how notions of regionalism could be used to highlight converging patterns of disputation as well as cooperation, as regional actors at a variety of levels came to reflect one another in stoking a spiral of conflict over seemingly remote territorial scraps. Again, any efforts at regional cooperation must make use of a security architecture able to incorporate such issues, as otherwise integration takes place even as such disputes continue to fester.

The response to the project introduction was good, and we at KUBS are looking forward to hosting each of Paul Evans, Sara Shneiderman and Stéphanie Martel in Kyushu at various points over the next ten months.