Winner of IBP 2019 Dissertations Social Sciences
Aleksandra (Leksa) Lee, 'Modeling China: Business, Politics, and Material in China's Museum Industry'.
Aleksandra Lee’s 'Modeling China' is a well-researched and well written dissertation, properly informed by theoretical considerations, which raises questions about the nature and definition of the capitalist system itself. It explores material authenticity and specificities of late capitalism through analysis of the complex networks in which new museums are embedded, demonstrating how displays of Chinese history and culture are constructed as part of nationalist discourse.
Shortlist IBP 2019 Dissertations Social Sciences
Do Young Oh, 'From a Colonial Institution to a Neoliberal Real Estate Developer: Comparative Analysis of Universities in the Urban Process in East Asia'.
Do Young Oh’s 'From a Colonial Institution to a Neoliberal Real Estate Developer' represents a critical and innovative approach to the role of East Asian universities in the evolving urbanisation processes of neoliberal globalisation. This study is important to anyone concerned with wider questions of the role and status of universities and the education system.
Melissa Johnston, 'The Political Economy of Gender Interventions: Social Forces, Kinship, Violence, and Finance in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste'.
Melissa Johnston’s 'The Political Economy of Gender Interventions' is a well-defined and deeply reflective thesis using structural feminist political economy to argue that gender interventions in the peace-building processes of post-conflict Timor-Leste perpetuate and reproduce elite and masculine domination. It offers a convincing argument against a ‘local turn’ in development and peace-building studies.
Simon Christian Rowedder, 'The Art of Being Small: Exploring the Trans-national World of Lao Small-Scale Traders in the Yunnan-Laos-Thailand Borderland'.
Simon Rowedder's 'The Art of Being Small' is a model anthropological dissertation, which examines daily cross-border trade dynamics in a tri-national borderland economy, bringing out the key role of small-scale Lao traders as enablers of multidimensional transnational social spaces and drawing attention to the importance of such fieldwork based investigations.
Yimin Zhao, 'The Hegemony of Urbanisation: Questioning the Production of Space by the State in Beijing’s Green Belts'.
Yimin Zhao’s 'The Hegemony of Urbanisation' argues that China’s land business is a project aimed at upholding the Party’s legitimacy and capital accumulation. Vigorously exploring the issues of modernity, ecology, urbanisation, governmental techniques and political potential of urban citizens, Zhao gives a compelling picture of contemporary urbanisation and its discontents.
Reading Committee Accolades IBP 2019 Dissertations Social Sciences
Ed Pulford, 'On Northeast Asian Frontiers of History and Friendship'.
Ed Pulford's 'On Northeast Asian Frontiers of History and Friendship' examines the Chinese, Russian and Korean manifestations of historical forces shaping this region from the Qing period to the present day. It focuses on the encounters and friendships – particularly masculinised friendship – shaping this frontier space in a multi-faceted cross-disciplinary dissertation of considerable interest.
Mekhola Sophia Gomes, 'Expressions of Power: Representations and Practices of Kingship Beyond the Vindhyas, ca. 3rd century CE – 8th century CE'.
Sophia Gomes’s 'Expressions of Power' is a classical Indology-based study of early medieval copper-plate inscriptions from the Deccan. It demonstrates the connection between inscriptional forms and the articulation of royal power and authority in early India. An original approach, and an authoritative work that should evolve into an important monograph.
Ground-breaking Subject Matter Accolade
Isabella Maria Weber, 'China’s Escape from the ‘Big Bang’: The 1980s Price Reform Debate in Historical Perspective'.
Isabella Weber’s 'China’s Escape from the ‘Big Bang’' analyses intellectual and bureaucratic traditions that prevented China from adopting the ‘big bang’ doctrine of rapid liberalisation, instead implementing a dual track price system. Her comprehensive case study is discussed in comparison with various historical and geographical contexts.
Most Accessible and Captivating Work for the Non-specialist Reader Accolade
Emily Sekine, 'The Unsteady Earth: Geological Kinships in Post-Fukushima Japan'.
Emily Sekine’s 'The Unsteady Earth' is an extremely well-written exploration of dynamic relationships between people’s lives, perceptions, experiences and earth processes. Located in post-Fukushima Japan, her study brings an interesting perspective on these processes seen not only as disastrous and destructive, but also creative and beneficial forces.