Introducing APARC’s 2023-24 Fellows

Introducing APARC’s 2023-24 Fellows

We are thrilled to welcome seven outstanding scholars supported through our multiple fellowship offerings, including postdoctoral fellowships on Japan, Korea, and contemporary Asia, the Lee Kong Chian Fellowship on Contemporary Southeast Asia, and APARC's Predoctoral Fellowship and Diversity Grant.

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) offers a range of prestigious fellowship and training opportunities for students, emerging scholars of exceptional promise, as well as accomplished faculty and mid-career experts dedicated to tackling pressing issues affecting contemporary Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to our newest cohort of exceptional fellows. Their diverse research methods and disciplines reflect a rich tapestry of perspectives, offering fresh insights into pressing questions that shape contemporary Asian societies.

We will announce two additional incoming fellows in July.


Meet Our Incoming Fellows

Japan Program Postdoctoral Fellow Hikaru Yamagishi

Hikaru Yamagishi

Japan Program Postdoctoral Fellow

Hikaru Yamagishi received her PhD in Political Science from Yale in 2022 and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Her research focuses on democratic institutions and electoral competition, with a special interest in the case of Japan

Her research focuses on a central puzzle in contemporary Japanese politics: the electoral dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party despite the electorate’s preference for opposition party policies. The extant literature on Japanese politics has suggested that depressed turnout leads to opposition electoral weakness, but the mechanism of this phenomenon remains understudied.

Hikaru argues that opposition fragmentation leads to opposition electoral weakness: when the opposition fragments, it becomes difficult for voters to believe that any one party can unseat the incumbent, thus making it less likely that opposition supporters turn out to vote. In her research, she is using a survey experiment conducted around the most recent lower house election in Japan.


Gidong Kim

Korea Program Postdoctoral Fellow

Gidong Kim holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri, as well as both a M.A. and a B.A. in Political Science from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. He studies comparative political behavior and economy in East Asia, with a particular focus on nationalism and identity politics, inequality and redistribution, and migration in South Korea and East Asia. His work is published or forthcoming in journals including the Journal of East Asian Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Asian Perspective, Korea Observer, and Social Science Quarterly.

His dissertation, “Nationalism and Redistribution in New Democracies: Nationalist Legacies of Authoritarian Regimes,” investigates the micro-level underpinnings that sustain weak welfare systems in developmental states. He argues that authoritarian leaders who encounter twin challenges of nation-building and modernization tend to utilize nationalism as an effective ruling and mobilizing strategy for national development. As a result, nationalism shaped under authoritarianism can embed pro-development norms, which can powerfully shape citizens' preferences for redistribution even after democratization. He tests his theoretical argument using a mixed-method approach, including in-depth interviews, a survey experiment, and cross-national survey data analysis.

At APARC, Gidong will transform his dissertation project into a book manuscript. Also, he will lead collaborative projects about nationalism, racism, and democratic crisis to address emerging social, economic, and political challenges in Korea and, more broadly, Asia.

Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow, Norman Joshua

Norman Joshua

Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow on Contemporary Asia

Norman Joshua is currently a doctoral candidate in History at Northwestern University. His research interests revolve around the histories of authoritarianism, civil-military relations, and economic history in Southeast Asia and East Asia. He is particularly interested in the relationship between historical experiences and the emergence or consolidation of authoritarian governance.

Norman’s dissertation and book project, “Fashioning Authoritarianism: Militarization in Indonesia, 1930-1965,” asks why and how the Indonesian military intervened in non-military affairs prior to the rise of the New Order regime (1965-1998). Using newly obtained legal and military sources based in Indonesia and the Netherlands, the project argues that the military gradually intervened in the state and society through the deployment of particular policies that were shaped by emergency powers and counterinsurgency theory, which in turn ultimately justified their continuous participation in non-military affairs.

His research project, “How Did Colonialism, Conflict, and Revolution Condition Society Towards Military Authoritarian Rule?” highlights the role of social insecurity, legal discourses, and military ideology in studying authoritarianism, while also emphasizing the significance of understanding how durable military regimes legitimize their rule through non-coercive means.

Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow on Southeast Asia

Gerhard Hoffstaedter is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland, Australia. He has a BA in Social Anthropology and Politics/International Relations and an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Kent at Canterbury and was awarded a PhD in anthropology and sociology from La Trobe University. From 2014-2017 he was an Australian Research Council DECRA research fellow. He conducts research in development studies, on refugee and immigration policy and spiritual and existential security as well as religion and the state. He is a regular commentator in newspapers, radio, and online media on topics of his research.

His first book entitled Modern Muslim Identities: Negotiating Religion and Ethnicity in Malaysia is published by NIAS Press. He is co-editor of a volume on human security and Australian foreign policy published by Allen and Unwin as well as Urban refugees: Challenges in Protection, Services and Policy, published by Routledge

His project, “Placemaking in the Polycrisis: The Effects of Irregular Migration Trajectories of Refugees in Southeast Asia,” addresses two key interrelated policy issues concerning refugees: How do refugees experience life in situations of protracted refuge in countries that afford them no legal status, such as Malaysia? How do Rohingya and Chin refugees experience life in limbo in Malaysia and to what extent have they successfully integrated into the Malaysian host society?

Soksamphoas Im

Soksamphoas Im

Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow on Southeast Asia

Soksamphoas Im is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Khmer Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. She was awarded a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and was selected for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship. She also worked as a Senior Analyst at the Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Her research project, “Authoritarian Resiliency: Cambodia’s Politics of Social Protection Policy” asks questions including: What motivates the Cambodian government to reform the country’s welfare system? What has been the purpose of this social welfare provision in Cambodia in recent years? How has social welfare policy helped Cambodia tackle its poverty issues? In answering these questions, her research provides an emphasis that fills the current gaps in studying how Southeast Asian autocrats seek to retain their power in the face of challenges from new political forces.

During her time as a Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow on Southeast Asia, she intends to produce at least two manuscripts from this proposed research project for peer-reviewed journals. Drawing on this research data and my dissertation, she plans to work on a monograph entitled Authoritarian Resiliency: Cambodia’s Politics of Social Protection Policy.

Marie Wakio

Marie Wako

Predoctoral Fellow

Marie Wako is a JSD (Ph.D. equivalent) candidate at Stanford Law School. She holds an LL.M. from Stanford Law School and a J.D. and LL.B. from the University of Tokyo. Her research interests include empirical analysis of human rights, law and gender, international trade law, and international public law.

Marie’s current research project, “Female Voice in the Courtroom: Effects of the Participation of Female Judges in Japanese Criminal Cases,” focuses on the impact of female judges in Japanese criminal cases. Concerned about the persistently low gender equality in Japan, Marie seeks to understand how the presence of female judges can potentially challenge the male-dominated judiciary and influence sentencing outcomes.

The research utilizes a rare situation in Japan where criminal cases are randomly assigned to a group of judges, which enables us to study the pure causal impact of female judges on the judicial panel. The study conducts statistical analyses on a dataset of approximately 620 cases of criminal cases. Preliminary results indicate on average a statistically significant increase of 7.8 percentage points in sentencing severity for sexual offenses per one female judge, while no significant difference is observed for non-sexual offenses. Since the three judges in the panel must come to a unanimous conclusion in deciding the sentencing, this gap implies that, for better or for worse, these female judges are influencing the views of the male judges in the same judicial panel.

Diversity Grant Fellow Maleah Webster

Maleah Webster

Diversity Grant Fellow

Maleah Webster is currently a third-year undergraduate honors student, Mellon Fellow, and 2022-2023 APARC Diversity Grant Recipient. She studies International Relations, Translation Studies, and Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. Her research interests include East Asian Studies, migration, public policy, multiculturalism, citizenship, and race and ethnicity.

Her thesis, (tentative title) "Multicultural Children in South Korea’s Ethnoracial Homogeneity" explores the mixed identities of children of international marriages in South Korea. Using qualitative methods such as interviews and comparative historical analysis, Maleah seeks to understand the historical conceptualization of Korean ethnic nationhood, how demographic shifts have changed public policy, and why some multicultural children have been granted closer proximity to 'Koreanness' over others. Fundamentally, her project asks how increased diversity has shifted definitions of Korea's ethnic nationhood and has changed membership criteria for Korean citizenship.

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