ASIANET: The Asian Century

The 21st Century is Asia’s Century. At the ASIANET 2019 conference, we analyse the rise of Asia along three axes: the economy and global power balance; the environment and resource politics; and social, political and ideological change.

Photos: Colourbox, Unsplash, Aljazeera English,, May Wong

The conference is organized by Asianettverket (The Network for Asian Studies).


The conference is free of charge, but requires registration. 

Please unregister or inform us if you are unable to attend.

Register for ASIANET 2019 here


Day one: 6 June 

Registration and Welcome by the organisers

    Key note:

    • China's Feminist Awakening by Leta Hong Fincher, journalist, scholar and author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (2018) and Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (2014)

    Key note:

    • Japan’s Leadership in Promoting Regional Security Multilateralism in Asia by Paul Midford, Director of the Japan Program, NTNU


    • The Environment and Resource Politics in Asia, moderated by Shilpa Rao (Norwegian Insitute of Public Health) and Kenneth Bo Nielsen (UiO).
      • Ursula Münster, Associate Professor and Director of the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, UiO

      • Andrea Nightingale, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, UiO

      • Gørild Heggelund, Senior Research Fellow, Fridtjof Nansen Institute

    • Asia's Changing Power Balances and Global Competition,  moderated by Paul Midford (NTNU) and Rasmus Bertelsen (UiT).

      • Paul O’Shea, Associate senior lecturer, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University, Sweden

      • Saira Basit, Research Fellow, Centre for Asian Security Studies, Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS)

      • Marc Lanteigne, Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway

      • Henrik Hiim, Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Inistitute of International Affairs (NUPI)


    • The UTENRIKS Programme and Norwegian Research on Asia, by Special Adviser Kristin Høiby, The Research Council of Norway
    • Research on Asia and Policy Needs, by Policy Advisor for Research Svein Bæra, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    We end Day one with an informal dinner.

    Day two: 7 June

    Network lecture:

    • Networking Asian Studies, by Outi Luova (University of Turku)

    Double panel session:

    • Constructing “Sustainable Japan”: Ideology and Practice chaired by Aike Rots (UiO)

    Double panel session:

    • Glimpses of the Asian Century, chaired by Arve Hansen (UiO)


    • Social, Political and Ideological Change, moderated by Anne Waldrop (OsloMet)
      • Arild Engelsen Ruud, Professor, Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, UiO

      • Benedikte Victoria Lindskog, Associate Professor, OsloMet

      • Kari Telle, Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

      • Hans Jørgen Gåsemyr, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen; and Senior Researcher, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

    A more detailed conference programme with timings and practical information will be published later.

    About the Conference

    Economically, the gravity of the world economy has been shifting eastwards for decades. Starting with Japan and later the Asian Tigers, it is now China, India and other emerging economies that increasingly dominate the headlines. Indeed, Asia’s increased influence in nearly all areas has altered the conditions under which research on Asia is carried out in Norway, while also radically changing Norway’s need for expertise. Despite the fact that many countries in Asia are still low-income countries, it is no longer natural to see Asia solely from a development perspective, but more in combination with disciplines that are also relevant to foreign policy and security policy. As the Norwegian Research Council states in its new ‘Asia in a Time of Change’ initiative, there is now a felt urgent need for ensuring that Norway consolidates and further develops research competence of a high international standard on a broad spectrum of topics that reflect Asia in a time of rapid change, what this means globally, as well as what the consequences will be for Norway.

    At the 2019 Asianet conference, we wish to stimulate debate along these lines by zooming in on the following three theme clusters.

    The Economy and Global Power Balance

    Asia is, in short, the most important growth region in the world. Politically, it is home to both the world’s largest democracy and the world’s largest authoritarian regime, but also displays a wide range of other modes of governance. This include both national and transnational modes, including the ambitious process to unite the diverse governing regimes of Southeast Asia through ASEAN. Perhaps most important of all is China’s strategic expansion and the renewed importance of regional security policy. How does economic growth and competition translate into global political influence? What are the regional and global ramifications of the emergence of regional superpowers, and what can we learn from Asian perspectives on politics and diplomacy?

    The Environment and Resource Politics

    Rapid economic growth has serious environmental consequences that are global in scope. While China has long been seen as a villain, the country under Xi Jinping appears to now be taking a leading role in global climate diplomacy. And East Asia more generally will play a key role in advancing the technological shifts required to move towards sustainability. At the same time, the consumption levels among the rapidly emerging middle classes is increasing at astounding rates. What is the role of Asia in solving global environmental challenges? Can Asian perspectives on the sustainable society contribute towards global sustainability?

    Social, Political and Ideological Change

    Rapid economic growth and urbanisation, changes in the composition of the population, increased access to education and better health are leading to a broad spectrum of often-contradictory forms of social, political, and ideological change. Insight into the development new modalities of political participation, representation and mobilisation is thus essential if we are to understand how Asia will look in the 21st century. At the same time, macro-structural economic transformations interweave with forms of social and cultural change both locally and globally. New consumer cultures manifest new hybrid forms that merge the old and the new, and Asian cultural forms, images and artefacts that subtly fuse popular culture and soft power are ever more global in scope. How can we best approach and understand such changes in contemporary Asian societies?

    We explore the three theme clusters through a combination of plenary session, round tables, keynotes, and parallel themed panels. 

    Supported by

    The conference is supported by The Norwegian Research Council and The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation.

    Contact information

    Coordinator: Arve Hansen (

    Coordinator: Kenneth Bo Nielsen (

    Assistant coordinator: Kjersti Litleskare (

    Tags: Asianettverket, Asia, conference, SDGs
    Published Oct. 11, 2018 4:28 PM - Last modified Apr. 8, 2019 11:58 AM