YCAR lectures tackle broad issues


York’s Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) held a successful lecture series which included the Jan. 13 lecture by Ngo Huy Duc, who spoke on “Vietnam’s Political System: Current Development Issues”. Duc, research director at the Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy, is at York looking into the ways in which political science is taught at the graduate level so he can set up a program at the Ho Chi Minh Institute.

The series continued with film scholar Suzy Young, a cultural theorist specializing in Asian cinema in York’s Department of Film & Video, who spoke on “Women in the New Cinemas of the Three Chinas”. The focus of the lecture was on the new relationship between aesthetics and politics that had emerged in Chinese cinema in the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, the repatriation of Hong Kong to China and the end of formal diplomatic relations between the US and Taiwan, effectively ostracizing Taiwan from international contact.

On Feb. 26, Mohammad Rahman, a visiting scholar from Dakka University in Bangladesh, spoke on “Local Government Reform Lessons in Bangladesh”. Rahman emphasized a need to go beyond a dichotomous model that polarizes the interests of local government against those of the state since it is at the local level that the largest representation of ethnic diversity occurs.

A panel of  specialists in Southeast Asia led a discussion on Feb. 27, entitled “In the Wake of the Bali Bombing: Domestic, Southeast Asian or Global Politics?”. The panelists were Judith Nagata, York Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts; David Wurfel, senior research associate with YCAR; Joshua Barker, Department of Anthropology, U of T; Jacques Bertrand, professor of political science at U of T; and Peter Vendergeest, director of YCAR.

The focus of this last presentation was the context of the Bali bombing incident and the ways in which the networks of local, national and regional politics have become linked through the media to international “terrorist” networks.