2021 Workshop

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: 2021 ASIA FELLOWS
“Evolution and Challenges in Local Governance in Asia”
Virtual Summer Program – July/August

We are pleased to announce a Call for Applications for early-career scholars who would like to participate in this year’s Asia Pacific Workshop. The virtual summer program will be conducted as series of weekly zoom sessions from mid-July through mid-August. The workshop will bring together up to 12 selected scholars to advance research related to local governance and decentralization across Asia. This program is part of a multi-year effort to support political science research among early-career scholars in East and Southeast Asia, and to strengthen research networks linking Asian scholars with their colleagues overseas.

Leading the workshop will be Maria Ela Atienza (University of the Philippines, Diliman, Philippines), Allen Hicken (University of Michigan, USA), Yuko Kasuya (Keio University, Japan), and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (University of Essex, UK). The workshop will consist of weekly sessions held over 5 weeks (from July 12 through August 13). Following their participation in the full program, alumni will receive 2 years’ membership to APSA and will be eligible to apply for small research grants.

The deadline for applications is Sunday, June 6, 2021. See the Call for Applications.pdf.

Eligible Participants
The workshop is intended for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in political science, international relations, and other social science disciplines who are citizens of countries in East and Southeast Asia, especially those who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the region (defined as Brunei, Cambodia, China, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam). We also welcome applications from citizens of countries outside the region or who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the United States.

Scholars should apply with a manuscript or research project in progress that they will present at the workshop. Professional fluency in English is required. Applications from scholars working on topics related to the workshop theme (as described below) are especially encouraged.

Workshop Theme
Focusing on East and Southeast Asia, this workshop will examine the heterogeneous experiences and outcomes associated with local governance and decentralization programs designed to devolve authority from central governments to subnational and local levels. As elsewhere around the world, experimentation with decentralization across Asia has produced mixed results; for each modest success story in one policy domain in one country, there is a counter-narrative of failure in another. Participants will explore key theories and puzzles in the study of local governance and decentralization, as well as their connections to and implications for wider inquiries concerning governance, public goods and service provision, identity politics, democratization and autocratization, and urban politics. Participants will utilize a range of methodological tools to analyze public behavior and opinion, mobilizing structures, state responses, and political outcomes before, during, and after the occurrence of popular protests. Thematic emphases include:

The Politics of Local Governance, Identity, and Representation

  • The interaction between local and national politics and political organizations
  • The politics, promise, and problems with decentralization
  • The effects of nation-state building and decentralization on identity politics
  • The effects of corruption, clientelism and rent-seeking in regional and local governments
  • Causes and consequences of national-local competition over resources, credit claiming, and agenda setting at the subnational level

Distinctive Challenges in Governing Urban and Semi-Urban Spaces

  • Overcoming infrastructural challenges in governing and providing services to Asia’s urban mega-cities
  • Managing the needs and demands of diverse and cosmopolitan urban populations
  • Crisis management and governance in cities, including re-envisioning urban spaces and usage amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Urban jurisdictional overlap and complexities of transparent and accountable governance

Democratization and Democratic Backsliding Below National-Level Governments

  • When do local politics influence democratization?
  • What explains the persistence of subnational authoritarianism after national-level democratization?
  • How do national- and local-level democratic backsliding influence each other?
  • How do national-level authoritarian leaders impact local governments’ policy delivery?

Local Government Authority and Public Service Delivery

  • The complex relationship between local government capacity and the delivery of public services, including education, health, and sanitation
  • Emergency response and disaster management at the local or regional level
  • Non-homogenous distribution of environmental and other problems (e.g. environmental degradation, poverty, natural hazards, conflict) affecting service delivery and localized responses
  • Coordination and relationship of local governments with national governments and other governance actors (e.g. private sector, civil society, political parties and elites, international community) in public service delivery
  • Factors affecting public service delivery at the local level

How to Apply
Completed applications, including all necessary supporting documents (in PDF or Word format), must be submitted by June 6. Selected fellows will be contacted in June. Applications must be in English and include:

  1. The completed online Application Form.
  2. A detailed, recent curriculum vitae/resume.
  3. A research statement (2,000 words maximum) describing the work-in-progress you propose to discuss at the workshop. This statement should outline the main focus of the paper, the methods used, the data/fieldwork on which it is based, and how it relates to the workshop theme(s). The research project should not be based on any part of a co-authored project and should not be an excerpt from an already completed work or one that has already been accepted for publication. Submissions may be derived from an ongoing dissertation project if also suitable for a journal article.
  4. One letter of reference on official letterhead and scanned as electronic files. If you are a graduate student, the letter should be from your supervisor. If you are a researcher or faculty member, the letter can come from a former dissertation supervisor, a colleague at your home institution, a university official, or an employer. Your letter can be uploaded with your application material or the letter write can e-mail this directly to [email protected].

For more information, contact [email protected]. Please do not contact the workshop leaders directly.