NIAS: The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

deskDuring April and May I have been a visiting researcher at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, an international research institute currently hosted at the Faculty of Social Sciences University of Copenhagen’s City Campus. The Institute was established in 1968 as a centre for cooperation between researchers across the Nordic region. It has its own press, ‘specializing in publishing innovative research on modern Asia’ and every morning a new title on its extensive bookshelves catches my eye.

While here, I am working on an article emerging from Locating Ethics which engages more closely with literature on the Asian region. The argument draws on ethnographic material gathered in 2009 and 2010 to examine how ethics committee members use comparison as a device to create a sense of regionality, competition and conviviality. Much comparative work on bioethics in Asia discusses attempts (and failures) to create an “Asian Bioethics” that stands up against a “Euro-American” ethic- perceived as overly focused on autonomous self-determination and informed consent. In critical conversation with this literature, my paper shows how distinct kinds of national and international comparisons are used to generate and sustain networks of mutually supportive ethics committees (and researchers) across national contexts.

I am also busy preparing for the ITU’s PhD Course Big Data and Ethics where I plan to bring my interest in decisions, committees, and science governance to bear on new narratives around data. For more, see here.