New research fellow - Agnieszka Nitza-Makowska

Four research fellows joined the Centre in September. Now it is time to introduce Agnieszka Nitza-Makowska.

  • What is your background and how did you get fascinated by Asia?

I am a political scientist. I received my PhD from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. I began developing my interests in Asia at the beginning of my BA studies; however, hilariously, I initially wanted to become an EU official. The class about Asia, by prof. Piotr Kłodkowski convinced me that the world outside the so-called West is fascinating and on the rise in many dimensions. Since then, in Asia's context, my interests have shifted from the Arab World to South Asia (at PhD level) and China. 

  • What do you do in your research?

First, I am a part of an inspiring, fresh and multidisciplinary research group here at Asia Centre. We work on two projects focusing on Asia, particularly "Political, economic and cultural role of Asia for Northern and Eastern Europe" and "Analysis of geopolitical developments in South Asia after the Ukrainian war in cooperation with researchers from Singapore". Under these projects, I work on two specific themes: China's and India's soft power, and the implications of Putin's nuclear blackmail for the perception of nuclear weapons in South Asia (India and Pakistan). Second, I led a scientific project about China's environmental diplomacy and its soft power ("green soft power") funded by Poland's National Science Centre. Regularly, I share my discoveries with knowledge-thirsty students in Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland.

  • What are your cultural recommendations from Asia to our followers? 

As the Covid pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine showed us that the world, Asia included, is not that accessible anymore, I would recommend travelling and getting to know Asia. Also, I would suggest rejecting Western-centric lenses through which we tend to look at Asia - on the one hand. On the other hand, I advise not to accept everything we see in Asia or read about it by explaining it by cultural differences (e.g. human rights violations, honour killings etc.). Finding a balance here is challenging but critical. For instance, in my research about China's soft power, I attempted to look at this state, and its policies from Pakistan's (China's all-weather friend) perspective to provide a Western reader with a different image of Beijing's international performance, yet without intentions to point to the "right" or "true" perspective.

Evelyn Pihla

Evelyn Pihla joins Centre as assistant to manager

NIAS konverents

Consuming Asia - Systems and Structures of Consumption in Modern and Contemporary Asia