Asian Studies

Research areas within the School of Asian Studies

Research conducted in the Department of Asian Studies spans East Asia in a variety of subjects, including labour history in China; human rights and trafficking; media, popular culture and the impact of digitalization; intellectual history, religious and philosophical traditions of Korea and East Asia; comedy and popular media in Japan.

Shared interests of staff include expertise in work and labour in Greater China, and North Korea (Professor Jackie Sheehan, Dr Leung Wing-Fai and Dr Kevin Cawley) or critical theory, relating to  popular culture and media (Dr Leung, Dr Cawley, Dr Till Weingärtner). All staff members also research and publish on topics such as ethnicity, gender and sexuality, as well as marginalized groups. Teaching and research activities are strongly interlinked, for example in the co-taught module Popular Culture in East Asia (AS2003). Dr Cawley and Dr Weingärtner are currently working on a research project relating to Korea and Japan that will hopefully attract up to $35,000 in funding from the One Asia Foundation. Dr Cawley and Dr Weingärtner have signed contracts for monographs with Routledge to be published next year.

Our wide regional coverage has already made significant contributions to the development of East Asian Studies in Ireland. We host the management of the Irish Association for Asian Studies (IAAS), with Professor Sheehan as President and Dr Cawley as secretary. Dr Cawley is also the founding and managing editor of the Irish Journal of Asian Studies (IJAS). IAAS has an initial membership of 25 academics from institutions in Belfast, Dublin, Maynooth, Galway, and Cork.

Similarly, the Department hosts the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (IICS), Irish Institute of Korean Studies (IIKS), Irish Institute of Japanese Studies (IIJS) and the India Study Centre Cork (ISCC). The IIKS has hosted an international conference in 2013, as well as several workshops in Cork and Dublin. It has attracted over $150,000 in funding from the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) to support Dr Cawley’s first three years at UCC and language teaching over the last two years. Dr Leung is member of the EU Framework 7 COST Action ‘Dynamics of Virtual Work’ and deputy leader of its working groups, Creativity, Skills, Knowledge and New Occupational Identities. Prof. Sheehan’s research has been funded by UK research councils and the ILO, and is used by third-sector and government stakeholders in e.g. deciding asylum claims.

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