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The Philippines and Vietnam’s Responses to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s Final Award on the Arbitration Case Initiated by the Philippines Against China over the South China Sea (July 2016)

Abstract

In July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued its final award on the South China Sea dispute between the Philippines and China that caught the attention of the international community. Since this was the first time that a claimant in the South China Sea had ever referred the case to an international juridical body in an effort to settle the dispute, the responses of both claimant and non-claimant stakeholders were awaited. Realising the relevance of the issue, I conduct a comparative study of the responses to the PCA’s final award to two major claimants with similar positions on the South China Sea—the Philippines and Vietnam. The main aim of this study is to indicate the similarities and/or differences in the way these two states responded to the final decisions of the PCA. The study finds that even though both the Philippines and Vietnam reacted to the award in a similar manner, the motives behind their responses were different. In general, the South China Sea policy of the Philippines has always been less consistent than that of Vietnam, which can be explained through each state’s foreign policy tendencies.

Open access
East Asian Technical Cooperation Initiatives in Central America: A Comparative Analysis of Japan and South Korea in Guatemala

Abstract

This article describes the similarities and differences of Japanese and South Korean technical co-operation approaches in Guatemala. The literature review illustrates the transition from an initially donor-centric results chain approach towards one that is increasingly recipient-balanced due to new cooperation principles such as horizontality and demand-drivenness. Such approaches are mainly fostered by the rise of new emerging donors on the international development cooperation horizon, such as the advocates of South-South Development Cooperation (SSDC).

An analysis based on a framework by the Network of Southern Think Tanks (NeST) concludes that Japanese and Korean technical cooperation approaches are markedly similar, most notably in regard to officially proclaimed technical cooperation standards and commitments. Differences result from the degree of related implementation: Japan achieves higher results based on relative deficiencies in reporting by Korea as well as comparatively shorter bilateral Korean-Guatemalan relations. Similarities are fostered by analogous institutional and project related structures, stemming from an argued learning and simulation approach by Korea from the long-standing experiences of Japan. Lastly, it is argued that the growing assimilation of the traditional and the SSDC concept, as well as the increasing engagement of both countries in triangular cooperation contribute to the identified similarities.

Open access
The Stranger and Others: The Life and Legacy of the Japanese Ethnologist Oka Masao

Abstract

Oka Masao (1898–1982) was a leading figure in the establishment of Japanese ethnology (cultural anthropology) since the 1930s and taught many of the next generation of ethnologists from Japan. He travelled to Vienna in 1929 to learn the methodology for studying the ethnogenesis of his own country, putting forward theories that questioned tennō-ideology of the time and became highly influential. During the war, he pushed for the establishment of an Ethnic Research Institute (Minken) to support the government in their ethnic policy in the occupied territories. Oka was also the founder of Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna in 1938. Despite these important—and at time controversial—roles, he is relatively unknown today. This article introduces recent scholarship on Oka’s life and legacy. It raises important questions about the role of ethnologists in politically sensitive times and counter-balances the Anglo-American narrative of the history of ethnology or social and cultural anthropology of Japan.

Open access
Queer desire in Japanese TV series

Abstract

This article provides an analysis of representations of sexual minorities in Japanese TV series. It outlines how homosexual and queer desire is depicted and how stereotypes and tropes are used in the construction of queer characters in this media format. The article also illuminates the ways in which TV series differentiate between depictions of same-sex romance and opposite-sex romance. The corpus of analysed TV series spans a period of twenty-five years. Thus, the analysis also sheds light on changes in the representation of sexual minorities over time. Examples from recent TV series point to a more positive and sometimes didactic approach towards the topic of homosexuality in Japanese mainstream media.

Open access
The Cultural and Educational Dimension of the “New Silk Road:” The Re-invention of Mongolness at the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Abstract

In October 2013, Xí Jìnpíng presented not only an ambitious infrastructure project but a strategic initiative that promoted connections in many regards: the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). One in-tended strategic value of this initiative is the improvement of relations between China and its neigh-bours as well as the improvement of dialogue among different civilizations. Emphasis is placed on the importance of the shared historical cultural heritage of the involved ethnic groups, while the idea of a ‘harmonious society’ is promoted at the same time. The aim of this article is to shed light on how China expands its soft power through civilizational connections along the Sino-Mongolian-Russian Economic Corridor by referring to the Silk Road Academic Belt. This article is based on ethnographic field research in Hénán Mongol Autonomous County in the Sino-Tibetan borderlands of Qīnghǎi Province during an international conference titled “Historical and Cultural Links be-tween Mongolia and Tibet,” held in July 2017.1

Open access
Chinese TESOL Students’ Perception of Their Speaking Anxiety in Workshops

Abstract

Foreign language anxiety (FLA) is perceived as a negative factor influencing learners’ language achievement. Targeting Chinese overseas students, this paper investigates whether communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and trait anxiety are related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. The present study also aims to examine how students perceive their speaking anxiety and coping strategies both from teachers and students. The questionnaire and the semi-structured interview were adopted for data collection. 80 TESOL students at the University of Edinburgh were invited to complete the questionnaires, with 6 students participating in the interviews to get deeper insights into Chinese students’ perception of their speaking anxiety. Research findings revealed that communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and traits anxiety were strongly related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. In the interviews, 6 respondents commented that instructors’ characteristics, such as patience and humor, and their preparation before class can alleviate their speaking anxiety in workshops. It is hoped that the current study can contribute to a deeper understanding of Chinese students’ speaking anxiety in UK universities.

Open access
Current Issues in Pronunciation Teaching to Non-Native Learners of English

Abstract

Pronunciation plays an indisputable role in communication; even more so in communication between native and non-native speakers of English. The goals for pronunciation teaching have shifted from accent-free or native-like pronunciation to comprehensibility and teaching practices aimed at non-native English learners vary and are often based on teachers’ opinions rather than research findings. The paper aims to present the current topics in twenty selected research papers dealing with pronunciation teaching (teaching practices in the English language classrooms, selected segmental and suprasegmental features). The analysed papers indicate that a teacher’s good theoretical background can raise students’ awareness and the overall performance of pronunciation phenomena, whether at the segmental or the suprasegmental level. Students may benefit from different strategies applied to pronunciation learning, but traditional teaching methods are still prevalent in the contemporary English language classroom.

The contribution presents partial results of the research project KEGA 001TTU-4/2019.

Open access
Faithful Prodigals, Precarious Polity and Re-Jigging National Discourse: Readings from Two African Novels

Abstract

This study is informed by the observation of some dangerous threats to faith’s missionary and human developmental goals as well as Salvationist stance. The alarm has been sounded that fanaticism of any colour at all is not only inimical to the raison detre of faith’s cardinal objectives but more tellingly, constitutes a serious endangerment of humanity, particularly the Nigerian enterprise. Deploying exemplifications from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2006) in an eclectic combination of a body of qualitative instances drawn from the Islamic and the Christian faiths the paper underscores the danger inherent in bigoted faith both to faith itself and to the society. The paper urges the painstaking reification/inculcation of the principles of tolerance and patriotism in children in their formative years through literary creativity, the precepts of inter and intra religious tolerance respecting the West African sub-regional stance for secular imperatives and egalitarian. This is to enthrone lasting peace in the African sub continent and the world a piece.

Open access
Impact of Teachers’ Beliefs on Teaching Phonetic Aspects: the Case of Czech as L1

Abstract

Cultivated speech with correct pronunciation and adequate prosody is important from a social, communicative and also didactic point of view. It can be regarded a “universal quality” of one’s self-presentation. Even though the Czech curriculum sets the development of phonetic aspects as one of the important elements of L1 teaching, various sources show that the educational reality in school differs. Based on a sample of 148 teachers of all educational levels from across the Czech Republic, the study analyses the teachers’ stated beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge of teaching phonetic aspects of Czech, and attempts to give at least an assumption of the actual classroom practices of teaching phonetic aspects in Czech classes and through that the extent of the mismatch between the intended and implemented curriculum. The results show that phonetic aspects are not treated with as much attention as they ought to and that teachers’ beliefs about the actual process of teaching and learning phonetic aspects seem to influence the implemented curriculum more than the intended curriculum and other formal requirements given by the government do.

Open access
Novice Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in the Czech Republic and their Drop-Out Intentions

Abstract

Problems with staffing play a crucial role among factors influencing the quality of English language teaching at Czech primary and lower secondary schools. Since 1990 the shortage of teachers of English as a foreign language has been repeatedly reported by the Czech School Inspectorate. The shortage is largely caused by the reluctance of English language teacher education study programme graduates to accept teaching positions at primary and lower secondary schools. A drop-out syndrome in the early stages of the teachers’ career is another factor that may contribute to the lack of teachers of English. Unfortunately, it has not been researched in the Czech Republic and it has not been systematically monitored by the state. In the research study focusing on novice teacher drop-out, conducted in 2015–2017, we deal with the process of socialisation of novice teachers in schools and with external factors that influence the socialisation and that can be seen as predictors of novice teachers’ decision to stay in their current school or leave either the school or the teaching profession. The current paper presents partial findings related to drop-out intentions of novice teachers of English as a foreign language in comparison with teachers of other subjects. Our findings indicate that drop-out intentions are more frequent in teachers of English as a foreign language than for other teachers and that teachers of English evaluate their cooperation with colleagues and leadership at their schools more critically than other teachers.

Open access