Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

Identity and Recognition in Asia

Demands for recognition of many different kinds have been at the forefront of conflicts in Asia. Asia is an extremely diverse continent and diversity exists both between and within countries. Many of these conflicts have been shaped by legacies of foreign occupation and continuing domination. And the diversity of the region has been increased as a result of colonial economic exploitation.

These conflicts over identity and demands for recognition have occurred on the basis of many different identities: including race, gender, religion, ethnicity, tribe, caste or language.

The states of Asia have adopted multiple and differing strategies to manage (and in some cases seeking to eliminate) this diversity. IAPS members have examined the historical success (or otherwise) of these strategies and seek to examine contemporary identity conflicts, both between groups but also those targeted against the state (or perpetrated by the state).

Many countries in Asia have adopted federal systems of government (for example, India, Pakistan, Malaysia), others are considering adopting it (for example, Nepal), whilst others have sought to create a strong unitary state (for example, Sri Lanka). Others have adopted a more nuanced position (for example, Indonesia).

IAPS members are researching on the ways in which federal states have sought to manage diversity within their countries, as well as seeking to answer questions relating to the allocation of resources and the delivery of good governance.

IAPS members are also researching on how the experiences of historical and contemporary occupation have altered cultural representations and the development of visual and audio cultures in Asia.


Areas of research of IAPS members within this include:

  • Globally Competitive Korean Film Sound 1997-2017 (Julian Stringer)
  • Indentured labour and the articulation of rights in the Indian Ocean world, especially Mauritius, from 1834-1920 (Sascha Auerbach)
  • The regulation of prostitution in interwar India (Stephen Legg)
  • Anti-colonial nationalism in India (Stephen Legg)
  • Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia (COTCA) (Jeremy Taylor)
  • Chinese dialect entertainment and cultural production in Southeast Asia (Jeremy Taylor)
  • The Manila Chinese community (Jeremy Taylor)
  • Continuity and Change in Indian federalism (Katharine Adeney)
  • Federalism and ethnic autonomy in South Asia (Katharine Adeney, with Kings/LSE/SOAS)
  • China's domestic policies and foreign relations (Jing Cheng)
  • Chinese Nationalism (Jing Cheng)
  • The role of social media in China (Jing Cheng)
  • 19th/20th century Indian indentured labour, Subaltern identity, Manifestation of identity in multi-ethnic societies and development of national and sub-national post-colonial identities, Spheres of influence and the Indo-Pacific Arena, Experimentation and Empire, Small Island Developing States (Reshaad Durgahee)
  • Social and economic development, security, nationalism, nation building, governance, state building, welfare state, institutionalism, modernization (Assylkhan Nurgaliyev)
  • Globalised risk relations in Nepalese mountaineering tourism (Esther Bott)
  • Ethnic tourism in Vietnam (Esther Bott)
  • Adventure tourism in Thailand (Esther Bott)
Identity and recognition

Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies

School of Politics and International Relations
Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 82 83087