Current research projects

The Asia Institute is distinguished by its active research profile. Faculty and graduate research projects involve not only aspects of our four target areas (Arabic and Islamic Studies, China, Indonesia, Japan) but also, and very importantly, Australia’s relationship to Asia.

A number of projects probe Asia-Australian relations as well as the lives and cultures of Asian migrants to Australia. Other areas of research include computer aided language learning (CALL), endangered languages, dialectology, modern history and various forms of Asian popular culture.

A detailed listing of current research projects being undertaken at the Asia Institute is below.

Name Project title Funding agencyPeriodPartners
Professor Vedi HadizIslam and the left in Indonesia and Turkey Australian Research Council (Discovery) 2018-2020  
Dr Claire Maree and Dr Ikuko NakaneThirty Years of Talk: A Panel Study of Kobe Women’s Interview Discourse Australian Research Council (Discovery) 2017-2019 La Trobe University; Monash University; Osaka University
Professor Akihiro Ogawa and Dr Claudia AstaritaEmbedding the Apology in the Media: How Civil Society Contributes to Reconciliation Toyota Foundation Joint Research Grant 2017-2019  
Professor Andrew RosserEvaluating How Teacher Reforms in Decentralised Indonesia Can Promote Learning Gains United Kingdom Department for International Development and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) program. 2017-2020 Social Monitoring and Early Response Unit (SMERU) Research Institute
Professor Andrew RosserTransnationalism and Diaspora: Contributions to Migration and Development Australian Research Council (Discovery) 2017-2020 University of Adelaide, Macquarie University, National University of Singapore
Dr Ken SetiawanUnderstanding the relationship between leadership and human rights promotion in Indonesian human rights discourses at the regional, national and local levels under President Joko Widodo McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the University of Melbourne 2015-2019  
Professor Christine WongChina’s Poverty during the Process of Urbanization Ford Foundation 2018-2020  
Professor Christine Wong and Dr Sarah RogersRemaking Rural China Australian Research Council (Discovery) 2018-2020  

Embedding the apology in the media: how civil society contributes to reconciliation

Project summary

Lasting reconciliation with former enemies after a war is a difficult and often distressful process. Peace is not a top-down practice, and the entire civil society must be involved to make it successful. Official apologies have often been perceived as a symbolic yet effective tool to promote peace and reconciliation, and international regimes are often quoted as the optimal structure to consolidate stability. This project untangles the connections between formal apology, regime building and peace in post-war contexts, illustrating the critical role of media and civil society in influencing collective memory and fostering reconciliation. The case studies of Japan, Germany and Italy provide empirical evidence on how media critically shaped the narration of post-Second World War events and how this interpretation is instrumentally linked to the rhetoric on peace and stability. Interviews and archival research are used to elaborate on new cognitive frameworks and paradigms to transform media, and in particular new media, into powerful tools to spread new values and perspectives, embedding civil society in a virtuous reconciliation process. Findings on media-civil society synergies and their capacity to promote new values for the general public will be discussed in workshops, academic journals, policy papers, and a documentary film.