East Asia is often discussed from the perspectives of global economy, international relations or ancient history and culture. However, there are other economic and societal topics deserving the limelight and discussion in a summer school setting. The summer school Current Social Issues in East Asia: Ageing Societies and the Role of Women brings two topics to the fore.
China, Japan and Korea are all facing challenges due to their ageing populations. This makes them interestingly comparable to most European states. The summer university seeks to find answers to questions as: What is the economic impact of ageing societies? How are the challenges being dealt with? What could be learned from the experiences of East Asian states? What does it mean to become old in contemporary East Asia? Equally important are questions about the changing role of women. East Asian societies have for centuries followed gender roles based on Confucian values. Over the recent decades, major shifts have occurred due to changes in the political and economic systems. What is the current role and position of women in East Asian societies? How are women’s rights upheld? How does the changing role of women impact the economy?
The two topics are interlinked and have multiple layers that will be dissected during the summer school. The topics discussed at this summer school are of interest to students of various disciplines. Economics students will learn about economic challenges and opportunities in the changing setting. Students of culture studies will get an understanding of the conflict between traditional values and contemporary changes. Political scientists will be interested in how politics and regulations are used to tackle these issues or how they have been intensified by misguided politics. The summer university will focus on the cases of Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam with comparisons drawn with Europe and Estonia.
This is the second Asia-related summer university held at the University of Tartu. The purpose of the summer school is to contribute to the ongoing studies or previous experience of students interested in East Asia. The two-week programme is full of theoretical lectures, interesting case studies, interactive seminars and thought-provoking group works. The University of Tartu is due to open an MA programme in Asian and Middle Eastern studies in autumn 2019.
Some of the topics to be covered in lectures and interactive seminars:
Applications are evaluated based on
Level: BA and MA
Credits: 4 ECTS
Time: 12–23 August; 2019
Programme fee: 1000 € includes tuition, cost of the study visits, cultural and social programme, services of the host university with accommodation in double rooms in a student dormitory.
Alternatively participants can arrange their own housing and in this case the tuition fee for the academic and cultural programme is 700 €.
Students are responsible for their travel and travel insurance (visa arrangements, if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country.
Preliminary programme (as of 12.06)
Mon 12/08, Tartu
Arrival of participants. Introduction to the summer school.
Respecting the elderly in China
The impact of aging on economy – implications on society
Welcome dinner and team buildingTue 13/08, Tartu
The implications of aging societies on East Asian economies + seminar
Tour of the UT campus and Tartu city centreWed 14/08, Tartu
A demographic catastrophe waiting to happen: Japanese media covering the problems of ageing society
Aging and dying with dignity in Korea
Topical film nightThu 15/08, Tartu
Political activism of Women in East Asia
Seminar: MeToo movements in Korea and Japan in the global context
Mobilizing women in the workforce – a solution for Japan?
Women and education in JapanFri 16/08, Tallinn
Role of Women in the Confucian Tradition
Gender income gap: theoretical mechanisms behind it and empirical evidence from Europe
Informal pub nightSat-Sun 17-18/08 Free time
Option to visit Tallinn, potential activities: Bastion tunnels, KUMU, The Seaplane Harbour, Telliskivi Creative City, Trip to Helsinki (Finland)
Potential activities in Tartu: AHHAA science centre, The Widget Factory, University of Tartu Museum, University historical observatory, Beer museum
Other: Trip to Viljandi, Narva, Valga or any other Estonian townMon 19/08, Tartu
Field trip to Tallinn.
Meeting experts at Enterprise Estonia Asia Information Centre.
Walking Tour of Tallinn Old Town
Free time in Tallinn. Drive back to Tartu in the evening.Tue 20/08, Tartu (restoration of Estonian independence day)
Political inclusion of women: gender quotas in China
Feminist movement in 21st century China
Topical movie night about Estonian indepednenceWed 21/08, Tartu
Match-making and marriage in Urban China
The history and contemporary results of one child policy in China + seminar
Two child policy in Vietnam + seminar
Visit to the Estonian National MuseumThu 22/08, Tartu
Haunting past: the issue of WW II comfort women in present day Japan + seminar
Maternity – conflict between social expectations and policy (Japan context)
Concluding seminar - Changing society in East Asia
Free timeFri 23/08, Tartu
Group presentations, feedback
Please note that the programme is being finalized and more lectures will be added.
During the first week of the summer school (12-18.08), we also recommend attending the annual Tartu Love Film Festival, which is an open air free event on the historic town hall square.
Sungju Park-Kang is Adjunct Professor at the Centre for East Asian Studies, University of Turku, Finland. Park-Kang was Assistant Professor of International Relations and Korean Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands and the University of Central Lancashire, UK. His work has appeared in Review of International Studies and Millennium: Journal of International Studies, among others. Park-Kang is the author of Fictional International Relations: Gender, Pain and Truth (Routledge, 2014).
Lisheng Dong is Professor of Asian Politics at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia. From June 2015 to May 2017, he was Marie Curie Professorial Fellow at the School of Social and Political Sciences in the University of Glasgow, the United Kingdom. He has published 20 books and 48 referred articles and contributed to 20 books. He was the 2012 co-recipient of the Pierre de Celles Award of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration. His latest monograph is titled Public Administration Theories: Instrumental and Value Rationalities. He is the co-editor of Urban Mobilization and the New Media in Contemporary China and China and the European Union. He has published in Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, International Public Management Journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences and Journal of Contemporary China.Read more about Lisheng from this interview: https://aasiakeskus.ut.ee/et/persoon/dong-lisheng-new-professor-asian-politics-ut
Peter Hwang is a professor of Asian in UT School of Economics and Business Administration. He is from Taiwan where he graduated from BA and MA level. He acquired his PhD from Michigan State University in the USA. Professor Hwang has worked in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the National Taiwan University and the National University of Singapore. He has been a dean and a program manager and taught students at different levels - from BA to PhD. In his research professor Hwang focuses on international business and cooperation strategy.
Read more about Peter here: https://aasiakeskus.ut.ee/en/news/professor-hwang-starts-teaching-university-tartu
Ene Selart is a junior researcher of media studies at the Institute of Social Studies. Her research topics are media history (image of Japan in Estonian media) and diplomatic relations between Estonia and Japan. She is teaching the courses of Japanese history and history of Estonian journalism.
Read more about Ene here: https://www.etis.ee/CV/Ene_Selart/est
Märt Läänemets, PhD, is engaged in academic research in the following areas: Buddhist culture and history of thought, classical Chinese literature and philosophy, Chinese history (from the oldest times to the present), society and history of Taiwan. His activities also include translation (from Chinese and Sanskrit), delivering lectures and lecture courses, development of Oriental studies at the University of Tartu, consultations and training courses. Read more about Märt’s research here: https://www.etis.ee/CV/M%C3%A4rt_L%C3%A4%C3%A4nemets/est
Qi Wang is Associate Professor at the Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science from China and PhD degree in the same discipline from University of Aarhus in Denmark. Her research area is in the field of gender, gender and politics, gender equality, feminism and feminist activism in China. She is the main editor of the book “Revisiting Gender Inequality: Perspectives from the People’s Republic of China” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), co-editor of the book “Gender Equality, Citizenship and Human Rights: Controversies and Challenges in China and the Nordic Countries” (Routledge, 2010) and “Gender Politics in Asia: Women Maneuvering within Dominant Gender Orders” (NIAS Press, 2008). For more about Qi Wang please visit https://portal.findresearcher.sdu.dk/da/persons/qiwang/activities/
Loreta Poškaitė (Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University) - full description to be added http://www.atsi.fsf.vu.lt/en/about-us/academic-staff/58-lietuviu-k/apie-mus/destytojai/324-poskaite-eng#profile
Eva Liias studied Japanese studies, Chinese studies and linguistics at Tübingen University and completed her PhD in Japanese studies at the Free University Berlin in 2018. She is interested in education and developments of the job-market in Asia, women in Asian societies and language policies. Her dissertation research focused on higher education reforms and internationalization in Japan. While working on her PhD she was a guest researcher at the University of Tokyo. Prior to the recent studies in Berlin and Tokyo she worked three years at the Qingdao University of Science and Technology in China.Tsubasa Yoshito joined Enterprise Estonia’s Asia Information Centre in July 2018 and is the project manager for Japan. Before that he worked for two years as a sales manager at Elcogen, a fuel cell manufacturing company in Tallinn. Before moving to Estonia Tsubasa worked in electronics, telecommunications and automotive industries in Japan and United Kingdom for more than 7 years.
Jaanika Meriküll has a PhD from Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in University of Tartu. She has been a post-doctoral fellow at UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies and is currently working as a senior economist for Bank of Estonia and senior research fellow for University of Tartu. Her main research fields are labour economics, international economics and also comparative economics focusing on Central and Eastern European issues. She has published research in a number of international academic journals such as Review of World Economics, Journal of Common Market Studies, International Journal of Central Banking, Journal of Comparative Economics and in many more. She is currently a head of a research project InWeGE "Income Wealth and Gender". CV is available at: https://www.etis.ee/CV/Jaanika_Merik%C3%BCll/eng?lang=ENG
Youjun Shin is from South Korea and now a Ph.D. student in Economics at University of Tartu. His main interest in research is health economics, econometrics, and machine learning. At 2010, Youjun moved to Europe from Korea and he has have lived in the UK, Finland, Germany and now Estonia.
Pille Tsopp-Pagan is the President of the Women Against Violence Europe and the Executive Manager of Womens Support and Information Center (Estonia), where she has worked for the last 14 years.
The Asian Centre at the University of Tartu coordinates and develops research and teaching of Asian studies as a cooperation network between faculties. The aim of the Asian Centre is to make the Asian studies at the University of Tartu more visible and more beneficial for the society by arranging prestigious research events, developing the existing study modules, offering in-service training courses and popularising the acquired knowledge actively in the public. The Asian Centre at the University of Tartu attempts to involve all researchers, institutes and projects that deal with Asian themes in a broader or narrower sense into a cooperation network. The Centre forms a joint platform for these activities by uniting researchers within the University, contributing to the presentation of various research areas (Asian languages, Chinese and Japanese culture, Oriental religions, etc.) to the public and helping to find cooperation partners for launching research projects.
Asia and the Middle East are two of the most fascinating and rapidly developing regions of the World, creating challenges and offering opportunities for the 21st century. By 2050, close to 60% of world’s consumers will live in the region, China will be an indisputable superpower, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu will dominate much of the world business, Islam will change and diversify due to its contact with modernity, and migrantion will continue to put pressure on the Middle East.
Come join our English-taught master’s programme in Contemporary Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Tartu. We provide a comprehensive curriculum in Asian and Middle Eastern economies, politics, languages and societies, a flexible and personalised study plan, and a multinational study environment. The programme creates tailor-made study packages at our partner universities across Asia and the Middle East, and values the need to fine-tune your practical skills through internships (included in the program) in private companies, state organisations and NGOs.
Photos by Marge Teder and Laura Roop