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Postgraduate profiles

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Darren Atkinson

PhD Candidate 
Department of Politics
University of Otago

Email: atkda504@student.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Dr Najib Lafraie and Associate Professor Brian Roper (Department of Politics).

Bio

Darren is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at the University of Otago. Before joining the department Darren worked in a number of diverse roles in the international development sector and has significant experience of working and researching in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan and Lebanon. Darren's research interests are focused on the history and current activities of left-wing political movements in the Middle East, South and Central Asia and the importance of diaspora communities to their continued existence. While conducting field research for his thesis Darren is expecting to spend time in London, Berlin and Kabul.

Thesis title

The Post-Communist Transformation of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA)

After the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was removed from power in 1992 the individual and institutional arrangements of the Afghan left have been poorly understood. One of the key issues that affected ex-PDPA members was the likelihood of imprisonment or death in the immediate aftermath of their removal from power; something that affected both party elites and normal members. Due to the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the involvement of Iran and Pakistan in their removal from power, PDPA members were forced to seek exile in Europe and the USA. However there is little understanding of how this new Afghan diaspora engaged politically in Afghanistan in the 1990s, how their continued existence as an established exile community has affected and changed Afghan politics, and how the transformation of the PDPA in the post-communist era fits into wider post-communist transition theories. My research will address the deficiencies of knowledge surrounding the post-communist transformation undertaken by the PDPA during its initial years in opposition, exile under the Mujahedeen and Taliban, and finally the involvement of PDPA successor parties in the political landscape of post-2001 Afghanistan. The following research questions will be addressed. First, how did the exiled Afghan leadership implement the policies of party transformation and does this fit with what is known about other post-communist transitions? Second, in the confusion of the post-PDPA era did the party split along factional or ethnic lines? Third, what involvement did the exiled communities play in seeking to undermine the Taliban after 1996? Lastly, what connections exist between the exiles and the current political system? Are they supportive of Karzai or do they still support leftist solutions to Afghan problems?

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Ik Young Chang

PhD Candidate
School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences
University of Otago

Email: ikyoung.chang@otago.ac.nz / ikyoungchang@gmail.com

Supervisors

Professor Steve Jackson and Dr Mike Sam (School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago).

Bio

Ik Young Chang is a PhD student in the socio-cultural analysis of sport at the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. He received a Bachelor of Science (Sport and Leisure Studies) and Master of Science (Physical Education) from the Korean National Sport University (Seoul, South Korea) in 2000 and 2002 respectively. In 2006 he moved to Canada supported by a South Korean government scholarship and studied at Lakehead University (Ontario) where he completed a second Master’s degree in Science (Kinesiology) in 2009. Ik Young is currently finishing his PhD thesis on the role of sport, leisure and lifestyle on South Korean migration to New Zealand. Overall, his thesis examines: 1) determinants in the process of South Koreans’ migration decision, 2) intergenerational differences in identity negotiation of migration decision makers (1st generation) and their dependents (1.5 generation), and 3) and the role of sport and leisure in the processes of identity negotiation.

Thesis title

Transnational Migration and Identity Negotiation: Sport and Leisure in the Lives of South Korean Migrants to New Zealand

Global migration has become an increasingly complex and controversial phenomenon. In the context of contemporary migration flows (where lifestyle considerations are becoming equally important as economic welfare), sport and leisure participation may play an important role in migration decisions, in the adaptation of migrants and in how they come to view their identities. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to explore how sports and leisure participation play a role in defining, confirming and transforming a local, national and/or transnational identity among South Korean migrants in New Zealand. More specifically, there are four case studies: 1) the first case study examines societal risk factors in South Korea and their influence on migration decisions, drawing upon the concepts of “risk society” (Beck, 1992) and “voice, exit and loyalty” (Hirschman, 1970; Smelser, 1998) and it offers an empirical analysis of the links between macro social structures and the micro individual experiences of South Korean migrants to New Zealand, 2) the second explores why South Koreans choose New Zealand rather than other countries as their new home in the context of lifestyle migration, employing Kemple and Mawani’s (2009) model of ‘Sociological bifocals’, 3) the third case is about the complexities and contradictions of how the South Korean 1.5 generation negotiates their ‘in-between’ identity with a particular focus on the role of sport in two key social spaces where identity negotiation occurs: home and school, and 4) I look at the dynamics of sporting events and political rights in the context of transnational migration. In particular, I investigate how the Korean government uses the National Sports Festival as a political tool to attract overseas Koreans home in order to maintain links with migrant citizens. This series of case studies will provide valuable information about the experiences of South Korean migrants in/to New Zealand and about the role of sport in the field of migration studies.

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Rakhee Chatbar

PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
University of Otago

Email: rakhee.chatbar@geography.otago.ac.nz / chara651@gmail.com

Supervisors

Professor Tony Binns, Dr Douglas Hill (Department of Geography).

Bio

Rakhee Chatbar is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Geography, University of Otago. She has an MA and MPhil in English from the University of Madras as well as an MA in Russian from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, India. She has lectured in a number of premier institutions in India and overseas at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the area of English language, literature, critical thinking and communication studies. Her last tenured position was at Curtin University of Technology, Malaysia campus. Rakhee’s current research interest traverses the areas of globalisation, rural development and migration specifically through information and communication technologies (ICTs) within the context of India.

Thesis title (working)

ICT4D in South India: Empowerment Social Capital and New Forms of Governance

My PhD thesis examines the deployment of Information and Communication Technologies for rural development (ICT4D), through the case example of one ICT based rural development project, the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). This is a Chennai based NGO that has initiated the Village Resource Centres (VRCs) and the Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) Programme in a number villages across five states in India. The aim of the programme is to empower rural communities through the provision of information relating to improve rural livelihoods and build social capital. This aim is connected to the larger rationale underpinning ICT4D initiatives, that ‘information’ and information access has the potential to address rural needs and hence leap frog rural communities to ‘development’.

Drawing from published literature in the fields of development studies, ICT4D, and governmentality, and a qualitative study of study of 15 villages in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Pondicherry encompassing interviews with various stakeholders across class, caste, community, and gender divisions, the thesis explores the following: the ways in which these Centres impact social capital amongst the community members, taking into account the developmental impact of the Centres; the use and abuse of the discourse of empowerment; the formation of new forms of citizenship through ICT4D initiatives; the usefulness and problems with the initiatives; the unintended consequences that have materialised; the entrenchment of existing social and cultural divisions and the fostering of new divisions within village communities through such initiatives; and the larger issue of social and cultural differences. The thesis argues that the VRC and VKC initiative has had very minimal developmental impact for the majority of the people for various reasons, including, but not limited to factors such as lack of literacy, connection to the Internet and power relations within the villages. Rather, this initiative has incorporated rural communities into new forms of governance that are intimately connected with the Indian government’s vision of a global Indian subject.

The VKC programme is one of the numerous initiatives being undertaken to bridge the digital divide in developing countries. The theme of migration is at the crux of such interventions to bridge the digital divide at many levels. These Centres are conduits as well as symbol of movement of information, people, as well as knowledge at many levels. As the PhD research demonstrates, the VKCs are not just sources of information but are also interfaces of exchange and migration of numerous kinds. At another level, they are also catalytic in people’s movement across the categories of class and gender. In that regard, the research links up well to the Asian Migrations Theme for the development initiatives are premised upon, and do foster the migration of ideas, peoples, knowledges, information, and livelihoods.

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Minoo Hassani Esfehani

PhD Candidate
School of Business, Department of Tourism
University of Otago

Email: minoo.hassani@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Drs Tara Duncan and Tianyu Ying, Department of Tourism.

Bio

photo minoo hassan esfehaniI was born in 1982 in west of Iran. My main interests include ecotourism, bio-cultural diversity in natural protects areas, and world heritage. I love travelling round the world and visiting new places with different cultures.
I was graduated in ‘Master of Geography and Tourism Planning’ with a final thesis that was conducted in Ecotourism and Eco-camps in national parks. After receiving University of Otago International Postgraduate PhD Scholarship in late 2013, I moved to New Zealand.
Following my interests, I started working in tourism when I have established a researching company in 2005 in Iran, with more emphasis on ecotourism and cultural issues. In addition, I have been teaching Ecotourism and Cultural Heritage in Middle East for more than six years. Cooperating with the National Ecotourism Development Project for six years in Geopark of Qeshm, located in an island in the Persian Gulf, has considerably enhanced my perspective about cultural assets which are associated with natural resources and the interdependence linkage between them.
I work as a freelance tourism journalist and travel photographer too.

Thesis title

The Roll of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Ecotourism Development in Natural Protected Areas (NPA)

In general, my PhD research project is an attempt to study the relationship between three concepts of culture, protected areas, and tourism. More particularly, this project emphasises the ‘Roll of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Ecotourism Development in Natural Protected Areas (NPA)’. ICH and NPA are two fragile structures, and ecotourism, based on its principles, tries to preserve them through considering both natural and cultural resources. While little research has addressed the relationship between nature, culture and tourism, the general objective of this project is to explore more specifically the interconnection between ICH, NPA, and ecotourism.

Currently, I am involved with the lasts stages of empirical phase of the project, which has been commenced in Qeshm Geopark in the south of Iran in December 2014, and it is expected to be concluded by August 2015. Applying the Ethnography Method, I explore my research objectives among the numerous unique natural and cultural landscapes of Qeshm Geopark which dates back over 2000 years.
As the first Geopark in Middle-East, the national protected area of Qeshm Geopark is located in Qeshm Island, the biggest Island in the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf is identified as the most cultural sea in the world and is a significant location to study human history and culture, as the oldest civilization of the world developed along the Persian Gulf coast.

Although, geoparks are known mostly for their specific geo-heritage in the world, in Qeshm Geopark culture and significant cultural heritage are of high importance, as well. Almost all criteria of ICH from traditional natural knowledge (TNK) to performing arts have been identified in Qeshm Geopark. ‘Traditional skills of building and sailing Iranian Lenj boats Qeshm island’ were added to UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2011. Additionally, Qeshm Geoprak provides the world with a magnificent example of the relationship between nature and human endeavor. Since centuries before Islam arrival, Iranians have respected, and valued water as a sacred natural element. Following along this cultural and spiritual belief, local society in Qeshm Geopark has created consistently different traditions and customs designed to use water sustainably, conserve their resource, and to store it for when their needs increase. Consequently, village water supplies remain generally sufficient and stable, even in times of drought.
Notably, Qeshm Geopark has become a famous ecotourism winter destination in Iran that receives large numbers of domestic as well as foreign visitors yearly.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that an article based on the main theme of my research project will be presented in 13th European Geoparks Conference in Finland in September 2015. This presentation will focus on the linkage between ICH and Mangrove Forest preservation in Qeshm Geopark.

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Nancy Earth

PhD Candidate
Departments of Anthropology & Archaeology, and Tourism
University of Otago

Email: earna015@student.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Associate Professor Jacqui Leckie (Department of Anthropology & Archaeology), Dr Tara Duncan (Department of Tourism).

Bio

I have personal background of multiple and generational migrations, including Europe, North America, East Asia, and the Pacific regions. Drawing on my experience as a former professional artist-potter in Japan, I am currently doing PhD research on contemporary Japanese women artist-potters, gender, tradition, and creativity. I am interested in feminist and aesthetics anthropology, cultural flows and migration of ideas encompassing art/craft, gender, and creativity, and their relationship to global/local economies, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Thesis title

Contemporary Kogoshima Artist-potters: Women, Gender, Tradition, and Creativity

Contemporary Japanese femininities literature on working women has largely focused on women living in urban centers in institutionalized workplaces. I seek to de-center these debates by looking at a small group of women making pottery in rural areas of Kagoshima prefecture as artist-potters, a traditionally high-status, male occupation.

Using a feminist lens, I trace women’s production roles throughout Japanese ceramics history focusing on their creative desires and how these have been constrained by certain production taboos and societal expectations. It is my thesis that in the postwar period, Kagoshima women artists disrupted the historical social fabric, expectations, and tradition of tōgeika or artist-potter as male by becoming artist-potters, themselves. I seek to critically analyze the Kagoshima women artists’ lives and works in a wider conceptualization of their contribution as role models in contemporary society and to the ceramics aesthetics field in Japan.

My recent Asian migrations research involves Oriental ceramics aesthetics introduced into New Zealand through Bernard Leach, Hamada Shoji, and Yanagi Soetsu from the 1940s onwards. It focuses on contemporary Dunedin studio potters’ Japanese-influenced aesthetics in functional pottery production. The research views New Zealand ceramists within a wider Pacific anthropology of Japanese cultural flows.

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Molly George

PhD Candidate
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
University of Otago

Email: molly.george@otago.ac.nz
Go to Molly's online research profile

Supervisors

Dr Ruth Fitzgerald and Dr Cyril Schaeffer (Department of Anthropology and Archeology).

Bio

photo molly georgeI hold a BA Honours in sociology and studio art, with an emphasis in photography, from the University of Denver; and a MA in social anthropology from the University of Otago. My MA research explored negotiations of identity and ‘home’ over several decades for post-World War II migrants ageing in New Zealand. It included a look at belonging, ageing, transnationalism and the passage of time in New Zealand’s unique post-colonial, bicultural context. It resulted in a publication in Ageing & Society (George and Fitzgerald, 2011). Other previous research experience included qualitative interviewing and analysis for an undergraduate research considering the life-long effects of the death of a parent during childhood. In addition to being a PhD Candidate I have worked as a research assistant with gerontologist and social work researcher, Dr Amanda Barusch (University of Utah and University of Otago) and as a research assistant and lab manager with psychologist, Dr Wyndol Furman, (University of Denver). I am currently employed as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Otago.

Thesis title

Ageing in an Increasingly Diverse Aotearoa New Zealand

My current research involves seeking out older New Zealanders for their perceptions of and experiences with immigrants and multiculturalism in an increasingly diverse New Zealand. Many older New Zealanders, without ever migrating themselves, now live in “a different country” than the one of their memories. Thus, with perspectives gained by witnessing change over time, they offer unique insights and contributions to discussions on national identity, ‘home’ and immigration in New Zealand.

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Danilo Giambra

PhD Candidate
Department of Theology and Religion
University of Otago

Email: danilo.giambra@otago.ac.nz
Go to Danilo's online research profile

Supervisors

Dr Erica Baffelli, Dr Will Sweetman (Department of Theology and Religious Studies).

Bio

photo danilo giambraDanilo Giambra received his Master of Arts in Oriental Languages and Cultures (Japanese) from the University of Catania (Italy) in 2010. His master thesis explored Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) in the Japanese context. Danilo’s interests include: religious communication on the Internet, religious studies, CMC studies (and beyond), Japanese sociolinguistics, Internet studies, and New Media studies.

Thesis title

Japanese new Religious Online Communication: a Sociolinguistic Analysis

Danilo’s thesis explores online communicative strategies used by a selection of Japanese new religious movements, and provides an analysis of religious communication within the culturally defined Japanese Internet, and, in particular, on the Social Media platforms (Mixi, Facebook, and Twitter).

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Hamizah A. Hamid

PhD Candidate
Department of Management
University of Otago

Email:  hamizah.hamid@otago.ac.nz


Supervisors


Professor André M. Everett (Department of Management, University of Otago)
Dr. Conor O’Kane (Department of Management, University of Otago)


Bio


Hamizah A Hamid is a PhD student in the Department of Management, University of Otago with a special interest in entrepreneurship and migration.


Thesis title


Ethnic migrant entrepreneurs: Challenges, opportunities and response


Hofstede (1980) argued that individuals prefer similarities and tend to be ethnocentric. In the context of international entrepreneurs, based on this argument, they are likely to remember the way of doing things back in their homelands (Morosini, Shane, & Singh, 1998) and may look to similarities in culture between the host country to which they are engaging in business activities and their home country in order to reduce uncertainties.
Primarily outlined by the institutional approach (North, 1990; Scott, 1995, 2014), the Forms of Capital model (Bourdieu, 1983) and the concept of entrepreneurial opportunity exploitation (Sarasvathy, Dew, Velamuri, & Venkataraman, 2010; Shane & Venkataraman, 2000; Venkataraman, 1997), this study investigates the experience of ethnic migrant entrepreneurs from countries of origin with a range of cultural similarities to the host country, (Malaysia) based on three elements: 1) the institutional challenges that they have encountered, 2) the key source of business support and 3) the choice of market in which entrepreneurial opportunities are exploited. The three countries of origin are Indonesia, Pakistan and South Korea. This research adopts a qualitative approach with multiple case to analyse the findings.
Theoretically this study will strengthen our understanding of ethnic resources through an institutional framework. Practical implications of this paper will focus on clarifying essential resources required for international entrepreneurs in order to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities. This study also offers valuable insights for policymakers dealing with migration and trade.

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Huijuan Hua

PhD student
Department of Music
University of Otago

Email: huijuan.hua@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Professor Henry Johnson (Department of Music)
Associate Professor Paola Voci (Department of Languages & Culture)

Bio

Huijuan Hua is a PhD student in the Department of Music majoring in Ethnomusicology. She graduated from Yunnan Arts University in musicology (BA) after attending between 2000-2004. Then, she carried out fieldwork on the Christian music of the Miao ethnic group in Northern Yunnan, China, when she studied for a Master’s degree at the Xi’an Conservatory of Music. Huijuan Hua has specialised in Christian music among the Hua Miao people of Northern Yunnan since 2005. Her dissertation in musicology is entitled (in translation) Spread, Evolution and Cultural Meaning of Christian Hymns of the Miao Ethnic Group in Northern Yunnan, and was completed in 2007. Huijuan was invited to attend the ICTM (International Council for Traditional Music) conference in 2013, and presented a paper entitled “Indigenization and Secularization of Christian Hymns of the Miao Ethnic Group in Northern Yunnan”.

Thesis title

A Musical Biography of Samuel Pollard

The Hua Miao people who mainly live in the southwest of China are a subgroup in the Miao ethnic group. They are called Flowery Miao, as defined by their colourful clothes; however, they call themselves A’ Mao or H’mong and have settlements in the mountains far away from cities. They were converted to Christianity from missionaries at the beginning of the 20th century. A British missionary, Samuel Pollard (1864—1915), established Shimenkan Church as the early Miao foundation site where it was popular at the boundary between Yunnan and Guizhou from 1904. With the aim of converting Miao people to Christianity, Pollard and his Chinese assistants created a kind of writing script (“Pollard Script”) based on Latin script to translate the Bible into the Miao language. He invented not only the writing for Miao people, but also a new musical notation script, which is similar to the numbered musical notation system used to present the western musical scale. This project is an individual study of music which focuses on how and why the Pollard Script notation and hymns have been maintained to the present day. This original interdisciplinary research will present a better understanding of the Christian music among the Hua Miao people by tracking Samuel Pollard’s life and contribution. It will also be of profound benefit to sustain the Hua Miao’s unique tradition and culture, which feature characteristics from both the West and Asia. 

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Naoko Inoue

PhD Candidate
Higher Education Development Centre
University of Otago

Email: naoko.inoue-kudo@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Dr Vivienne Anderson and Dr Ben Daniel (Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago)

Bio

Naoko holds a bachelor's degree in Japanese language teaching from Daito Bunka University in Japan, and a master's degree in TESOL and Foreign Language Teaching from the University of Canberra in Australia. Naoko has taught Japanese in Australia, at varieties of courses to students with a wide range of Japanese proficiency.

Thesis title

The experiences of native English speaking teachers who work and live in Japan

Naoko's research aims to explore how native English speaking teachers working for universities in Japan negotiate their identities as native English speakers. The project will involve interviews with native English speaking teachers who work in Japanese higher education institutions and analysis of internationalisation policy documents, in order to investigate how higher education in Japan is being 'institutionalised' in policy and practice.

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Balazs Kiglics

PhD Candidate
Department of Languages and Cultures, Asian Studies
University of Otago

Email: kigba823@student.otago.ac.nz / szunvukung@yahoo.co.nz

Supervisor

Associate Professor Roy Starrs (Department of Languages and Cultures, Asian Studies, University of Otago).

Bio

I graduated from the Hungarian University of Physical Education (BSc in Physical Education), the Hungarian University of Economic Sciences (DipGrad in International Economics), and the Budapest Business School (BSc in Marketing and Business Administration). Before coming to New Zealand, I worked as a Japanese speaking interpreter in Hungary. I am currently a PhD candidate in Asian Studies in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Otago, conducting research in contemporary Japan-China relations.

Thesis title

Values, Visions, and the Question of Progress in Japanese Elite Perceptions of Contemporary Japan-China Relations: What is Needed to Move Forward?

Contemporary Japanese elite discourse on Japan-China relations is mainly framed in the various contexts of power relations: antagonistic national interests, an ever- growing rivalry for a regional leadership, territorial disputes linked with national sovereignty, conflicts between identities, and conflicting interpretations of history. Even though there is a substantial amount of scholarship on these aspects of Japan-China relations, no study appears to have been done on the approaches and value perceptions that frame contemporary Japanese elite discourse regarding Japan-China relations. My research aims to address this important yet disparagingly neglected area of research. In my thesis I argue that not only Japan-China relations are problematic, but so are the general frameworks and contexts in which the Japanese elite views and explains them. It is not only the political, but also the mainstream academic elite arguments that appear to focus on short-sighted national interests in relations to current and developing conflicts of interest, and therefore pays little attention to the question of how to move forward. Moreover, arguments and analyses are framed in mainstream international relations approaches such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism. My research argues, however, that these theories are not sufficient to grasp the complexity of the issues covered by Japan-China relations research, let alone providing effective solutions to them. A more comprehensive and holistic approach is needed in order to be able to move forward, something that will not happen without reflecting on research approaches and value perceptions. Revising theories of international relations by focusing on values, working on developing long term strategic visions, and constructive discussions directed at defining the meaning of terms such as ‘progress’ would be paramount in order to be able to move forward. Overall, my project aims to contribute to generating more progressive and forward-looking discussions about contemporary Japan-China relations.

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Wendy Eikaas-Lee

PhD Candidate
Department of Music
University of Otago

Email: leewe130@student.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Professor Henry Johnson and Dr Jennifer Cattermole

Bio

Wendy Eikaas-Lee is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Music, University of Otago. In year 2004, she graduated from the School of Music, University of Canterbury with a BMus in Ethnomusicology (1st Class Honours). Her research topic Teej Festival: Social and Musical Implication for its Celebrations held in Kathmandu, Nepal and Christchurch, New Zealand, focuses on the Teej festival in diaspora, and defining the musical aspects of Teej. Her current research is an extension of the work, looking at Nepalese festival music in diaspora in Singapore.

In addition, an educator in her field for more than 15 years, Wendy has taught at primary, secondary and professional levels. She believes teaching is one of the ways in which she shares her passion in ethnomusicology.

Her interests include: Ethnomusicology, Festivity Music, Asian Music Diaspora, Anthropology of music, Musical Instruments and Performing Arts.

Thesis title

Music of Nepalese Festivals in Migration and Its Social and Musical Implications in Singapore

The study aims to explore the identity of Nepalese in diaspora through the examination of music presented in Singapore. By probing into the music sung, played and performed at major festivals, and comparing to how they are celebrated in Nepal through testimonies given by interviewees residing in Singapore, the results will be used to infer on the change/s in their identity.

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Marie Nissanka


PhD Candidate
National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies [NCPACS]
University of Otago

Email: nissanmari@gmail.com

Supervisors 

Dr Katerina Standish and Professor Richard Jackson, NCPACS, University of Otago

Bio


Marie’s background in commerce, development studies, and knowledge management are complemented by her work experience in the areas of strategy development, policy and business analysis in the public and non-profit sectors. Marie holds a Masters degree in Management from Victoria University of Wellington and an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from NCPACS. Marie’s PhD research investigates the nature of multiculturalism within the Citizenship Education textbooks in Sri Lanka. Her research is complementary to the aims of the Asian Migrations Research Theme, as her work investigates how narratives within textbooks convey intercultural or mono cultural perspectives with regards to citizenship in poly-ethnic societies. Marie will be a visiting fellow at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, Braunschweig, Germany in July 2015.

Thesis title

The nature of multiculturalism within the civics education textbooks of Sri Lanka

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Tracy Rogers

PhD Candidate
Higher Education Development Centre and College of Education
University of Otago

Email: tracy.rogers@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Dr Vivienne Anderson, senior lecturer at the University of Otago Higher Education Development Centre, and Associate Professor Karen Nairn of the University of Otago College of Education.

Bio

photo tracy rogersTracy obtained her undergraduate qualifications from the University of Otago. She graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education (major) and TESOL (minor), and then completed her Bachelor of Arts with Honours (first class) in education in 2013. Small research assignments as an undergraduate and an interest in gender issues led her to pursue a doctoral degree investigating gender inequality in education. Tracy is originally from South Africa, and has lived and travelled in a number of countries, including Cambodia where her current doctoral research is based.

Thesis title

Exploring educational persistence: What factors support girls to remain in secondary school in Cambodia?

Cambodia has made significant improvements in basic education in recent years. Yet despite these improvements, girls are still underrepresented at school, particularly at secondary school level when dropout rates increase dramatically. The challenges to girls’ education are well documented, but little is known about girls who persist at school despite the odds against them. To help explain educational persistence, this project investigates what secondary school girls in Cambodia identify as their means of support in obtaining an education.
Cambodia is rated as the country with the largest gender equity gap in the East Asia and Pacific region (Social Watch, 2012), and therefore provides an appropriate context for investigating girls’ persistence in education. The overall aim of the project is to work with secondary school girls to identify the various forms of support they draw on to remain at school. This study draws on a community cultural wealth framework for investigating the girls’ sources of support, and utilizes a feminist discursive lens to explore the multiple discourses of girlhood, including counter-discourses of resistance to gender-based oppression. The results will provide a better understanding of how various stakeholders can support girls in Cambodia in their pursuit of academic attainment.

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Shabnam Seyedmehdi

PhD Candidate
School of Business, Department of Marketing
University of Otago

Email: shabnam.seyedmehdi@otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Professor Juergen Gnoth and Dr Kirsten Robertson (School of Business, Department of Marketing, University of Otago).

Bio

Shabnam is a PhD student in the Department of Marketing . She received her MBA in 2011 from Multimedia University in Malaysia. There she worked for two years before she came to New Zealand in July 2013. Moving from Iran to Malaysia and then to New Zealand results in gaining different experiences. In the process, Shabnam became interested in how people emotionally bond to a place and which factors in service and environment are involved.

Thesis title

Flirting with a destination: a study on the process of place bonding

The main goal of this research is to explain the process of place bonding. The process of place bonding is important in many contexts such as tourism and immigration fields. The present research aims to provide knowledge on how the process of place bonding leads to loyalty, intention to revisit, investment and word of mouth. Understanding how people experience a place and bond to it would help to inform profitable and sustainable marketing, service design, environment design and place branding. This research suggests a new perspective on place bonding which incorporates three contexts: tourists, migrants and refugees. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this process, the commonalities and differences among these three groups of place makers need to be highlighted.

Exploring the process of place bonding is highly important and valuable because in one hand, it helps both practitioners in customer experience management and policy-makers in place management in order to design environments and provide effective services. On the other hand, place bonding results in some personal outcomes such as improving the perceived quality of life, well-being and happiness. In addition, the knowledge on how place attachment is initiated and consolidated could be used to help new residents to adjust better to unfamiliar places and also help those people who are forced to leave a loved place and go through a necessary disengagement process while they try to form bonds to a new place.

Emotional relationship with a place makes it unique. Such relationship can be the outcome of different factors such as emotional attachment, experiences and the meanings that users/consumers of a place assign to it. Hence, spending time in new or unfamiliar places mostly offer different experiences and emotions which may lead to bonding to that place. From the marketing’s perspective, bonding to a place has a variety of advantages in different contexts. For example in a tourism context, place bonding leads to re-visitation of a place, loyalty and word-of-mouth, and, in the migration context, it leads to investment in that place by the migrants and enhances their well-being.

One of the aims of this project is to explore how migrants, including Asian migrants, experience and which strategies they use to become adjusted to a particular place and bond to it. People go to a place with different expectations and motivations. If they do not find it to be what they expected, what will happen? They use some strategies to deal with the disappointment. One may go through the rituals and do what locals do in the place, or perhaps one does some familiar and favourite activities which he used to do at home.

In summary, a part of this project aims to explore the experiences of migrants, including Asian migrants in Dunedin, and how they emotionally and functionally bond to it. Moreover, one of the purposes of this project is to understand the factors which influence migrants’ bonding to Dunedin and why some migrants bond to Dunedin more than others. The results of the study will increase knowledge about place attachment and also help to provide the right services or design environments to assist the migrants to love the place and bond to it. Consequently as the research includes Asian migrants as its sample, the research falls within the scope of the Asian Migrations Research Theme, and it contributes to the Theme’s goals as it adds to our knowledge about how Asian migrants experience a place and bond to it.

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Nicholas Sutton

MA Candidate
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
University of Otago

Email: sutni798@student.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Professor Glenn Summerhayes and Dr Anne Ford

Biography

Kia Ora. I hold a B.A. (Hons I) in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. In 2012 I completed a Graduate Diploma in archaeology here at Otago. Despite my interest in archaeology initially stemming from an interest in Classical Studies (my minor at Canterbury), my study at Otago opened my eyes to the fascinating archaeology right here in New Zealand and the wider South Pacific region. As a result, in 2013 I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in archaeology, analysing an assemblage of stone tools from Papua New Guinea for my 400-level dissertation under the supervision of Professor Glenn Summerhayes and Dr. Anne Ford. My current masters research, under the same supervisors, asks whether it is possible to identify systematic changes over time in ceramic pottery manufacturing technology at an early pottery-manufacturing site in southern PNG.

Thesis title

Pots on the Move?: Ceramic Production and Mobility at Oposisi, Papua New Guinea

There is little doubt amongst Pacific archaeologists that the technology of ceramic pottery production was introduced into the Pacific via Island South East Asia (ISEA), either as a result of a demic movement out of ISEA a little over 3000 years ago (a view supported by historical linguistic, and, to an extent, ancient DNA studies) or, as a few argue, its adoption through contact/trade networks by the descendants of those who first settled Papua New Guinea some 45-50,000 years ago. Regardless of which view is correct, ceramic pottery is a component of the ‘Lapita Cultural Complex’, the archaeological signature of the first human settlement of Remote Oceania around 3000 years ago. My research involvesstylistic, fabric and chemicalanalyses of a sample of ceramics from Oposisi, a site in southern PNG, first occupied around 2000 years ago. Oposisi was until recently the earliest known pottery-manufacturing site on the PNG mainland. Recent finds of sites containing Lapita-period ceramics at Caution Bay in the nearby Port Moresby region that have been dated to around 2900 years ago now demand a fresh look at more than 40 years of intermittent archaeology along the south coast of PNG. How does the ceramic tradition at Oposisi relate to the Caution Bay finds? Is it a direct descendant or could it be indicative of a separate, later colonisation of the region, perhaps out of ISEA to the west, at around 2000 years ago?

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Jacqueline Tagg

PhD Candidate
College of Education
University of Otago

Email: jackietagg@gmail.com

Supervisors

Dr Jacques van der Meer, Associate Dean (Academic) for the University of Otago College of Education and Dr Ruth Gasson, Education Studies Co-Ordinator and senior lecturer for the University of Otago College of Education

Bio

For over 20 years my professional background was initially as a secondary school teacher and then I moved into the ESL field and became a specialist English language teacher. I have taught in South East London and New Zealand high schools and also in university ESL foundation programs in New Zealand, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Currently I am a PhD candidate at the University of Otago and employed part-time as an ESOL teacher at the Otago University Language Centre. In between travelling and working abroad, Dunedin has been home for 30 years. My husband and 5 year old son take up any spare time I have left!

Thesis title

From the Student’s Perspective: A multiple case study of Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) students moving from an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) bridging program into mainstream university study and the relevance for their academic success

The University of Otago Language centre offers a bridging course called ‘English for Otago’ designed specifically for those students who wish to enter mainstream academic studies at the University of Otago. The course content covers a variety of academic skills considered necessary for NESB students to succeed in their academic studies e.g.: academic vocabulary, critical understanding and assessment of reading texts, paraphrasing, summarising, delivery of presentations, research skills, structuring arguments for essays etc. These programmes do not use English language test scores
i.e.: International English Language Test Score (IELTS) as an entry requisite into university, rather they have their own curriculum and assessments which students must pass in order to enter their chosen field of study at university.

The aim of this research is to look at NESB students’ perceptions of the English for Otago bridging program course content in relation to their first year academic studies at Otago University, to find out which aspects of the course students find most useful and how they make sense of the academic skills they have learnt. There will be two phases for data gathering. Phase 1 will involve data gathering from research participants whilst they are enrolled in the English for Otago course. Phase 2 will follow the same research participants through to their first year of academic studies at the University of Otago.

My hope is that this research will inform educators’ understandings of NESB tertiary students’ experiences of teaching and learning at the University of Otago and facilitate improved learning outcomes for students in the university bridging courses and mainstream academic programs. It could contribute to future curriculum planning, teaching practice and academic support being more informed. On a community level International students are important for both Dunedin and the University Of Otago. Quality programmes that are responsive to international students’ needs, therefore, are an extremely important factor when these students are choosing their study destination.

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Rachel Tan

PhD Candidate
Higher Education Development Centre
University of Otago

Email: rachel.tan@otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Professor Tony Harland and Dr Ben Daniel (Higher Education Development Centre)

Bio

Rachel is a PhD candidate in Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago. After she earned her bachelor's degree in English from the Universiti Putra Malaysia, Rachel had a short stint as a research assistant, and the job built her interest in research. Because she is an avid traveller, Rachel pursued her research interest in the Master of Science programme in Tourism at the same institution. During her masters, Rachel obtained a Certificate in Tour Guiding. She underwent a six-month tour guide training sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia as part of her master’s research to understand the tour guide’s role in affecting tourist satisfaction with the national park. Upon completing her master's degree, Rachel taught English and Tourism at a college in Malaysia. In 2013, she reflected on her learning and working experience in higher education and pondered how these two entities are different between developed and developing countries. Thus, in 2014, Rachel decided to pursue her PhD in Higher Education at the University of Otago. When she is not studying, Rachel enjoys two main activities: First, she volunteers as a Teaching Assistant at the English Language Partners Dunedin to help migrants learn English, while learning about different cultures. Second, Rachel develops her photography skills and portfolio of events, portraits, animals and scenery.

Thesis title

A Comparative Study on the Impact of Globalisation on a Developed and Developing Research University: How does it shape values and knowledge?

Rachel's research is about comparing the impact of globalisation on a research university in a developed nation and in a developing nation. The study looks into contemporary globalisation, as a phenomenon led by neo-liberalism ideology and information communication technology (ICT). This phenomenon has drastically changed the 21st century research university systems and structure. Thus, the study aims to identify how globalisation shapes the research university and how the contrasting experiences can tell us about the phenomenon. The study seeks to contribute to the theory of globalisation, and the policy and practice of the research university. The focus is on comparing the values (e.g. academic freedom) and knowledge (e.g. public good) of the research university.The study applies qualitative methodology and will use semi-structured interview. The targeted respondents are the senior decision makers and the academic staff. Both groups of respondents influence the direction of their institutions, where the former shapes the university using policies while the latter shapes the university through their work in teaching and research.

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Alex Thong

PhD Candidate
Department of Media, Film and Communication
University of Otago

Email: thoal346@student.otago.ac.nz / akwthong@gmail.com

Supervisors

Dr Vijay Devadas, Dr Brett Nicholls (Department of Media, Film and Communication).

Bio

photo alex thongAlex Thong graduated from the University of Lincoln (UK) with International Relations BA Hons (First Class) in 2011. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Media, Film and Communication at the University of Otago, and a student Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. He has recently presented a paper entitled ‘Articulating humour as resistance in the Malaysian blogosphere’ at the 7th Asian Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian studies, organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore 16-20 July 2012.

Thesis title

Postcolonial Democracy and Resistance in Malaysia

My research seeks to theorize resistance and explore wider questions of postcolonial democracy in Malaysia. My work engages with various expressions of resistance in terms of social movements, non-governmental organisations, “celebrity” activists, the body, and forms of communication in a mediated society. I seek to explore the tropes and concepts of resistance and alternatives being formulated and/or practiced within, across, and in the connections of various forms of resistance. In many ways, this work has a particular focus on the everyday; that is the everyday from below, forms of communication and the statements and bodily practices of people engaged in protest, micro-politically or within the overarching form of a social movement. These kinds of questions occur at various inter-sections with regard to global capitalism and neoliberalism, ethnicity, citizenship, postcolonial democracy, space, religion, class, gender and migration.

I am approaching this project by way of a nuanced engagement with Foucauldian and post-Foucauldian thought. Specifically, I am interested in theories and conceptions of resistance, power and politics in terms of rethinking how we might conceive of different concepts of resistance and the imperatives of postcolonial democracy in Malaysian context. Whilst positioning post-Foucauldian thought as the central theoretical set of tools and as possible points of departure, I also draw on work from areas such as cultural studies, postcolonial studies, migration studies, sociology, humour theory and media studies.

This research engages with focuses raised by the Asian Migrations Research Theme with respect to the transmission of communication and practices of resistance at the inter-sections of the local and global, the question of, for example, the migration of people with regard to conceptions of citizenship and postcolonial democracy, and the interactions of these in the context of or set against governmentalities, state spatial distributions and global flows of capital. Taking up the notion of migration, qua Arjun Appadurai, as marking various flows, the focus of this thesis clearly connects with the research theme. I am interested in exploring the mobility and flow of peoples, politics, solidarities, practices, identities and social movements.

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Lien Trinh

PhD Candidate
College of Education
University of Otago

Email: l.trinh@otago.ac.nz / lientrinhtt@gmail.com

Supervisors

Associate Professor Karen Nairn, Dr Vivienne Anderson

Bio

photo lien trinhLien is currently a PhD student at the University of Otago College of Education. Prior to this, she completed a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree through the University of Otago (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine). Her MPH thesis looked at abortions amongst Asian women in New Zealand: the current situation and reasons for abortions. Lien also holds a Master in Communications through University of Hawaii (USA) where she was a US Fulbright Scholar. Her MA thesis focused on sexual health communications amongst men-who-have-sex-with-men in Vietnam. She has previously worked as a research assistant at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (University of Otago), consultant at United Nations Population Funds (New York USA), and HIV/AIDS project manager and communication manager for DKT International Vietnam.

Besides academic work, Lien is involved in a number of community projects in Dunedin (Otago Community Broadcasters Committee, North East Valley Project, English Language Partners). She runs a multicultural women’s ukulele group in Dunedin as a founder and tutor. She is also a radio host for the “Delight in Diversity” weekly show which features the settlement journey of migrants in Dunedin.

Thesis title 

The provision of sexual healthy education for international students in New Zealand by their homestay parents

The primary aim of this research is to investigate whether and to what extent discussion about sexual reproductive health takes place between homestay parents and international high school students in New Zealand. The study examines the students’ level of awareness of sexual health and identifies factors that shape their access to sexual health information in their homestay environment. The study also explores school policies/ guidelines and practice in relations to homestay parents’ provision of support and advice to international students on accessing information on matters relating to sexual health.Findings from this research will address the lack of attention to international students in New Zealand in the field of sexuality and sexual health education. An understanding of factors influencing international students’ sexual health awareness and understanding will contribute to the future development of appropriate sex education and intervention programmes for international students and young migrants living in New Zealand.

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Monica Tromp

PhD Candidate
Department of Anatomy
University of Otago

Email: monica.tromp@anatomy.otago.ac.nz

Supervisors

Dr Hallie Buckley, Dr Lisa Matisoo-Smith (Department of Anatomy, University of Otago).

Bio

photo monica trompMonica Tromp graduated from Idaho State University (USA) with an Anthropology BA (Hons) in 2010 and a MS in 2012. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Anatomy as part of the Biological Anthropology Research Group at the University of Otago. Her previous research has focused on the micro-examination of ancient human skeletal remains for microfossil and chemical residues on and in bones and teeth as well as ancient DNA analyses.

Thesis title

Examining Migration and Agriculture through Plant Microfossils from Human and Pig Dental Calculus from Island South East Asia and Southwest Oceania

This project will help to understand how people moved through Island South East Asia (ISEA) and south-western Oceania by examining the subsistence base that enabled them to be so mobile. This directly ties in with the Asian Migrations Theme that aims to address shortcomings in Asian-Pacific movements. Although ISEA has long been seen as an important step for Oceanic settlement, the importance of this relationship has not been fully examined. In fact, ISEA is generally just seen as a stepping stone and an afterthought in ancient Pacific migrations. A better understanding of migration and the connectedness of ancient ISEA and Oceania is needed to break down ideological barriers that have separated this continuous region.

This project aims to examine domestication of both plants and animals of early Pacific settlers, commonly known as Lapita in New Britain and Vanuatu, and a contemporaneous archaeological site on Flores Island, East Indonesia. The idea of a Lapita subsistence economy that included food animals such as pig and chicken is well established in Pacific archaeology. Plant foods were also included as part of this subsistence economy through the analysis of language, plant remains (microfossils) extracted from food preparation equipment and soils, and chemical analyses of bone from human and animal skeletal material. The biggest reasons we do not fully understand the plant part of the Lapita diet are, 1) the scarcity of plant remains large enough to be detected during archaeological excavations and 2) the chemical analyses of bones are too generalized. The ancient diet and subsistence practices in ISEA and on Flores specifically is not yet well established.

There have not been many opportunities to assess the connection between these two regions that are often thought of separately. A direct way to examine plant diet in general, is to look at microfossils trapped within dental calculus (calcified plaque attached to teeth). These microfossils are trapped in the dental calculus during life and can be identified to specific families, and sometimes species of plants. This makes microfossils a more accurate way of understanding what plants were eaten. This accuracy will help to support and expand on the indirect evidence that has been collected from other archaeological work and will allow us to see if plant food resources changed between sites and through time. In addition to looking at human dental calculus, this project will examine pig dental calculus because archaeological work in ISEA and the Pacific tends to recover more pig than human remains. Comparing human and pig dental calculus will evaluate whether or not it is reasonable to use pig dental calculus in place of human dental calculus, as well as examining levels of pig husbandry throughout the region. By comparing plant food in these regions, I hope show similarities and differences between these two groups of people that are often seen as separate, but may have been more connected than previously thought.

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Lin Zeng

PhD Candidate
Department of Languages and Cultures
University of Otago

Email: zenli565@student.otago.ac.nz / zenglin2008@gmail.com

Supervisors

Dr Haixin Jiang (Department of Languages and Cultures), Associate Professor Jacob Edmond (Department of English)

Bio

Lin received her B.A. and M.A. in English Language and Literature from Beijing International Studies University. Prior to her doctoral studies, Lin held a position as Associate Professor in Translation Studies and Practice at Beijing International Studies University. Her PhD dissertation focuses on the English translation of modern and contemporary Chinese literature. She analyses the translations of Chinese contemporary fiction from the perspective of rewriting theory. She has been a professional translator/interpreter of English and Chinese since 2000, and has published a number of textbooks, translations and essays on translation.

Thesis title

Encounter between Languages: Liang Qichao's Transnational Experience and Transnational Practice

This research attempts to continue the research topic on “the role of Japan in Liang Qichao’s Introduction of Modern Western Civilization to China” and give an account of Liang Qichao’s translational practice during his exile in Japan and what new concepts and terms were introduced to China through Liang’s retranslations.

The late Qing period (1893-1911) in China was a period of profound turmoil caused by an internal political and social crisis and the external threat of Western and Japanese powers. After the failure of the Hundred Days Reform (from June 11 to September 21, 1898), many reform-minded Chinese scholars fled to Japan. Among these scholars, Liang Qichao became a central figure in introducing and disseminating Western knowledge and thoughts. Liang’s involvement in this monumental movement of new ideas and language is inextricably connected to the fact that he took refuge in Japan for 14 years, where he came into contact with an enormous amount of Western thoughts and concepts that were already translated into Japanese. The period of time that Liang stayed in Japan also matters, since in the late nineteen century, the Japanese were still using many kanji (Chinese-character) words in their writing, which made it possible for a Chinese translator, like Liang himself, to understand the gist of Japanese text without too much knowledge of the Japanese language. In a word, Liang’s impact on the modernization (or as some scholars call it “Westernization”) of the Chinese mind is closely related to his experience of exile in Japan.

This study involves a lot of library research, to check the major historical records, e.g., Chronological Biography of Liang Qichao, and Completed Works of Liang Qichao.

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