School of Languages and Cultures

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India in New Zealand - Local Identities, Global Relations

In February 2007 the Asian Studies Institute hosted  a workshop on "New Zealand and India: Migration, Perceptions and Relations." A book from that workshop has now been published.

Indian people in 'bi-cultural' New Zealand have long been an invisible minority, rarely mentioned in our history books. India in New Zealand - Local Identities, Global Relations, edited by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, provides us with a multidisciplinary investigation of Indians in New Zealand and India-New Zealand relations; it is the only book dealing with this subject matter in the post-1990 period.

The first section introduces the context, briefly tracing the history of Empire and migration, which saw a few hundred adventurers from Gujarat and Punjab braving the seas and settling here in the late 19th century. Now Indians constitute the second-largest Asian-Kiwi group in our population (having more than doubled in number between 1991 and 2001). This increasing diversity has initiated a fresh debate on New Zealand's changing national identity, with the emphasis shifting from its bicultural foundation to greater recognition of ethnic minorities within the nation-space. The second section critically addresses the issue of a distinctive and uniform 'New Zealand Indian' identity and rethinks diasporic identity. In the third section, the Indian diaspora in New Zealand is looked at from a wider global perspective.

About the Editor
Sekhar Bandyopadhyay is Professor of Asian History in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. He has published extensively on caste and Indian nationalism and on the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.

India In New Zealand Local Identities, Global RelationsEditor: Sekhar Bandyopadhyay
Asian Studies/Cultural Studies/Ethnic Studies/ History
235 x 155mm, 264 pp, ISBN 978 1 877372 85 8, $49.95. Otago University Press

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'Globalization and National Identity in Asia' - Research Symposium

On 29 October 2009, the Asian Studies Institute held a research symposium on  "Globalization and National Identity in Asia".

While influential commentators have posited an end to the nation-state as a result of globalization, empirical evidence suggests that the nation-state remains, in fact, alive and well. Nonetheless, around the world, not least in Asia, the complex and often contradictory processes of globalization are undeniably encouraging the rearticulation of local and national identities in frequently unpredictable ways. While some theorists of globalization have argued for scenarios in which cultural diversity is being effaced (e.g. "Coca-Colonization," "McDonaldization"), others have suggested that through processes of contestation, pluralization, and "glocalization", local and national identities are being maintained or even enhanced.

Assessing these phenomena has crucial implications for understanding how Asian societies are adapting to increased transnational movement of capital, goods, ideas, and people, and to swift developments in information and communication technologies (ICT). In this workshop we aimed  to consider a series of detailed case studies on responses to these phenomena in order to probe the precise effects of these trends throughout the Asian region.

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The 18th New Zealand Asian Studies Society International Conference 2009

In July 2009, the Asian Studies Institute hosted the 18th New Zealand Asian Studies Society International Conference 2009 at Victoria. The New Zealand Asian Studies Society (NZASIA), established in 1974, seeks to encourage the spread of knowledge about Asia, its history, its culture and its role in international affairs. The Society's biennial conferences help achieve this aim through the dissemination of original research in all fields concerning Asia. The conference was very well attended, with close to 150 papers presented by scholars from around New Zealand and overseas.

The opening ceremony featured welcoming remarks from the Governor General of New Zealand, His Excellency The Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, who inaugurated the conference, and the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, the Hon Pansy Wong and was immediately followed by a keynote speech from Sugata Bose, the Gardiner Professor of History at Harvard University. Other keynote speakers included Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine and Robert Buswel, Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies and and chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, at the University of California, Los Angeles.