Research Exchange Plan

The social, political, and economic upheaval that has been produced by rapidly increasing migration and multiculturalization does not adequately fit into surveys and studies on a national level, and we need earnest and prompt joint research and discussions based on an international research network that includes both the “sending society” and the “receiving society”. For this project, Asian scholars, who can primarily represent the position of migrant workers, and Japanese/European scholars, who are part of the receiving society, will conduct the following three research exchanges after sharing the state of contemporary problems through joint research.

① Joint Research

Every year, when scholars gather at one of the Core Institutes, they collaborate to conduct both qualitative and quantitative empirical research targeting various actors from their respective societies, including migrants and their families and supporters, policy makers, public and private businesses, and citizens. In Japan, for example, when foreign workers settle and become established in Kobe, Toyama, and Tochigi Prefectures, a variety of issues emerge in these areas, and researchers work together to conduct field surveys with the assistance of domestic cooperative agencies. By mutually sharing the domestic perspective in Japan and the viewpoint of societies sending the migrant workers, the study can explore the construction of a more stable and sustainable multicultural community.

② Seminar

At the symposia and workshops held regularly each year at the Core Institute, scholars mainly compile research announcements and joint discussions on common themes such as “migration, welfare nation states, and human rights” and the “revival of regional cities facing situations of multiculturalization”; further, they also gather knowledge on sociology, politics, anthropology, gender studies, international relations, and cultural policy studies. Scholars address any differences in understanding concepts, such as the transformation of reproductive labor and new urban cultural policies and perform policy research to build a more constructive multicultural community. Additionally, in conjunction with the annual International Symposium, we hold the Next Generation Seminar based on the initiative of young researchers as a friendly competition site for postdoctoral and doctoral students.

③ Researchers’ Exchange

Traditionally, research exchanges have been constrained, particularly by budget issues. However, due to increased efforts toward scholar exchanges, particularly between Kobe University and various institutions in Asia and Europe, scholars are able to participate not only in joint research and studies at their respective home institutions but also by contributing as a teacher or mentor to the training of other researchers; moreover, they strengthen collaboration in the areas of both research and education and aim to further enhance and improve the functioning of their universities.

2016 Research Exchange Plan

① Constructing a Research Cooperation System

Cooperating institutions in Japan and the overseas Core Institutes establish numerous subthemes for promoting joint research and arrange a five-year collaboration system for each theme. In May, representatives from cooperating institutions in Japan will meet in Kobe and confirm opinion exchanges and action plans. In December, the Kick-Off Symposium will be held in Kobe and will include researchers from overseas institutions. The nine institutions will confirm plans for mutual exchanges, brain storming, and role responsibilities for the research project. In February, a seminar to address a number of subthemes will be held in Korea, and subsequently, joint research will begin on a full scale. Recently, we have directed mainly young faculty members of Kobe University, which has been the gateway for exchanges with overseas institutions, to overseas locations and encouraged the hosting of overseas scholars at our institution.

② Academic Perspective

By focusing on important issues in Intercultural Studies, which elucidate the intersection of humanities and sociology, we promote the establishment of joint research themes emphasizing on aspects of various academic fields, such as political science and international relations, sociology, ideology and philosophy, anthropology, cultural policy studies, and regional studies. Additionally, we delve more deeply into discussions on how to collaborate in conducting joint research.

③ Cultivating Young Researchers

In addition to holding the Next Generation Seminar at the time of the Kick-Off Symposium in October and the February seminar in Korea, we will engage in fieldwork and exchanges that involve sending graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to overseas locations. We also expect to accept several young researchers from overseas institutions.

④ Other (Contributions to Society and Independent Goals)

With the website of Kobe University’s Research Center for Promoting Intercultural Studies as the foundation, we will create a webpage for this project within the Center’s website and establish a system for periodically announcing the results of each joint research project via PDF. We are also planning regional collaboration projects and international exchange projects promoted by the Center; further, we are strengthening the system for transmitting research results to society.