About Us

ASEAS(UK) facilitates co-operation between scholars, institutions and research programmes in Southeast Asian studies both within the UK and with other countries.

The Association was established in 1969 and has members from dozens of universities across 15 countries, including academics, postgraduate researchers and others who are interested in Southeast Asia.

ASEAS(UK) is an educational charity which became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2016, registered in the UK with the Charities Commission, registration no. 1170590. A copy of our constitution can be downloaded here

ASEAS(UK) is managed by an Executive Committee and a Research Grants Committee. The Association organises a conference every two years and additional seminars, liaises with academic organisations, disperses grants, and works generally to advance the interests of members and Southeast Asian studies.


Executive Committee Officers

Chair
Dr Deirdre McKay is Professor of Sustainable Development at Keele University. Her research draws on both social/cultural geography and social anthropology to explore people’s place-based experiences of globalisation and development. Her fieldwork is in areas of the global South and also with migrant communities from developing areas who have moved into the world’s major cities. Much of her work has been conducted with people who originate in indigenous villages in the northern Philippines.

Secretary
Dr Kimberley Weir is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Treatied Spaces Research Group at the University of Hull. She recently completed a PhD in the Department of History at the University of Nottingham. Her thesis explored the construction of monuments during the US colonial rule of the Philippines and the extent to which the United States shaped the Philippine memorial landscape from 1898 to 1978. This PhD formed part of the Cultures of Occupation Project in Twentieth Century Asia, funded by the European Research Council. Kimberley also has an undergraduate degree in American and English Studies from the University of Nottingham, and a Masters in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester.

Treasurer
Elliot Newbold is a PhD researcher in the American & Canadian Studies Department at the University of Nottingham. His thesis, tentatively titled ‘Selling American Empire: Cold War Public Diplomacy and the American Decolonization of the Philippines, 1945-1957’, explores America’s decolonization of the Philippines through the lens of public diplomacy. Elliot also works as a social media officer at Asia Dialogue (theasiadialogue.com), a platform for discussion on the Asia-Pacific region, where he often contributes articles. 

Early Career Representative
Dylan Gaffney is Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford. His research examines long-term changes to culture, society, and behaviour at the interface of Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Most of his fieldwork has taken place in Papua New Guinea and, more recently, West Papua where he runs a project in the Raja Ampat Islands. Prior to being at Oxford, Dylan studied for a BA Hons and MA in anthropology at the University of Otago in New Zealand and a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge, UK. 

Early Career Representative
Dr Charlie Rumsby is a research Fellow at the Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University with research interests in youth, children, belonging and citizenship. Geographically she focuses on mainland Southeast Asia, where she has conducted research with the Vietnamese diaspora in Cambodia since 2014. Charlie trained in anthropology at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Goldsmiths University and went on to conduct an interdisciplinary ethnography at Coventry University for her PhD thesis.

Postgraduate Representative
Thomas E Kingston is a PhD student and Berkeley Fellow in South & Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  He holds an MPhil in Chinese Philosophy, Religion and Culture from Renmin University of China and an MA in Pacific Asian Studies from SOAS. Most recently he studied Mandarin and Hokkien as a Huayu Enrichment Scholar at NCKU in Taiwan, and he has previously studied Indonesian and Burmese at SOAS and UW-Madison respectively. His PhD explores the intellectual history and political economy of Southeast Asia, with specific research interests including nationalism, colonialism, spatial and cartographic developments. Alongside his studies he is one of the hosts of the Intellectual History channel on the New Books Network. 

Book Reviews Editor
Pon Souvannaseng is Assistant Professor of Global Studies at Bentley University. A political economist by training, her research examines state and business behaviour in global infrastructure competition and its social, environmental and fiscal implications. Her work examines these dynamics through the intersection of private and public sector actors in comparative global infrastructure lending and energy development in Asia and Africa.  She has been a Fulbright Research Scholar and was named a 2020-2021 Mansfield-Luce Asia Policy Scholar and 2019 APSA Asia Fellow.  She has previously served as a researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, ASEAN Labour Secretariat and as a Fellow in Political Economy & International Development at University College London.

Dr Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge and the Executive Director of the Toynbee Prize Foundation. She holds a PhD in Southeast Asian and International History from Yale University and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Her research centers on Southeast Asian and global intellectual history and seeks to reconnect Philippine history to that of Southeast and East Asia, from which it has been historiographically separated. Her first book, Asian Place, Filipino Nation: A Global Intellectual History of the Philippine Revolution, 1887-1912 (Columbia University Press, 2020), examines “peripheral” Southeast Asian Pan-Asianism and the emplotment of place in the Philippine Revolution. Her current work examines class and relationships with the natural environment in the Philippines.

Graeme Barker is Disney Professor of Archaeology Emeritus and Senior Research Fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. The focus of his research is `human landscapes’, the ways in which past societies and the environments they inhabited constructed and transformed each other. It is an interest he has pursued in different ecologies and with societies at different levels of complexity. The transition to farming has been a particular focus, and more recently his interests have also moved backwards in time to the behavioural adaptations made by Homo sapiens in its global dispersals, involving fieldwork in Borneo, Libya, and Iraqi Kurdistan.

Professor Alan Collins is Head of Department in Political and Cultural Studies at Swansea University. He is a specialist on Southeast Asian security with a specific interest in ASEAN. He has written on the security dilemma and security communities and has published three single-authored books on Southeast Asian security, as well numerous articles on ASEAN, securitization and societal security in Southeast Asia. He is currently working on the evolving human rights system in Southeast Asia, with a focus on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and he retains a close interest in ASEAN’s aspiration to be people-centred.

Dr Tilman Frasch received his PhD from Heidelberg University and is now is Reader in Asian History at Manchester Metropolitan University. While his interests cover Southeast Asia, Buddhist studies and urban history rather broadly, his specialization and current research are in the field of early Myanmar history and culture – the city and kingdom of Bagan, its epigraphy, art and architecture. In recent publications, he explored the Theravada Buddhist cosmopolis before c. 1500.

Dr Ben Murtagh is Reader in Indonesian and Malay at SOAS University of London. His research focuses on non-normative genders and sexualities in Indonesia, primarily through the lens of film and literature and his current work looks at the cultural memory of HIV/AIDS in Indonesian popular culture. He is also Co-Managing Editor of Indonesia and the Malay World  and Book Reviews Editor of South East Asia Research.

Dr Laurie Parsons is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London. His work examines the contested politics of climate change through its impact on socio-economic inequalities, patterns of work and mobilities. He is the co-author of Going Nowhere Fast: Inequality in the Age of Translocality (Oxford University Press, 2020) which explores this nexus through the lens of migrant Cambodian livelihoods. Alongside his academic work, Laurie has a longstanding engagement in development practice. Throughout more than a decade of research in Cambodia, he has researched and informed policy decision-making on economic development and inequalities for a range of IOs and NGOs, from UNDP to Care International.

Jessica Rahardjo is a DPhil student in the History Faculty, University of Oxford. Her current research is on early Islamic funerary material culture in Southeast Asia. She is also interested in Arabic and Southeast Asian manuscript cultures.

Dr Amanda Rogers is an Associate Professor in Human Geography and the Geohumanities at Swansea University. Her research focuses on the intersections between cultural geography and the performing arts (particularly theatre and dance) in post-conflict settings across Southeast Asia. Her current research focuses on contemporary dance in Cambodia, its relationship to the politics of nationality, and how the expressions of young artists speak to current concerns in Cambodian society. She is also writing about Cambodian dance tours to the West after the Khmer Rouge and the extent to which dancers can be considered diplomatic agents.

Dr Adam Tyson is Lecturer in Southeast Asian Politics at the University of Leeds. “When I first arrived in Indonesia in late 2003 I witnessed the build-up to Indonesia’s first direct presidential election in the new democratic era. This led me to investigate how political actors test the structural limits of power in both democratic and non-democratic settings. My research specialises in contentious politics, and my publications are based on field research in countries ranging from democratic Indonesia to semi-authoritarian Malaysia to autocratic China. My publications juxtapose the study of politics with land conflicts, agribusiness practices, ethnic identities, vigilante justice, new media and visual arts, and the evolving role of social organizations, all of which point to emergent forms of political agency that test, and sometimes transcend, the limits of the permissible.”

Russell Yap is currently a student at the School of Social Sciences at the Singapore Management University. He works as a teaching and research assistant at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Apart from his academic commitments, he also sits on the student committee at the Wee Kim Wee Centre and the Communication Management Society at the Singapore Management University. A historian by training, he studies the different colonial experiences of Southeast Asia states and their resulting decolonisation.


Research Grants Sub-Committee

Chair: Professor V.T. King (SOAS; University of Leeds)
Secretary: Dr Amanda Rogers (Swansea University)
Member: Dr Deirdre McKay (Keele University)