Asian studies researchers at UNSW Arts, Design & Architecture undertake internationally recognised, globally impactful scholarships on all geographic regions of Asia—Southeast Asia, South Asia and Northeast Asia. We explore pressing problems of the current era as well as ongoing puzzles about past societies. Our researchers seek to enhance progress towards the formation of just societies, social progress and economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the Asian region and Australia by disseminating informed discussion based on a deep knowledge of Asia. UNSW Asian studies' experts each have a country of prime focus but are also active in exploring regional and global linkages and comparisons as they impact Asia and Australia. 

Research focus 

We adopt an interdisciplinary research approach grounded in multilingual expertise with attention to the connections between the past and the present. Our priority is to achieve academic excellence and to contribute specialist Asia expertise to UNSW Grand Challenges. 

Our specialists are currently engaged in the following fields: 

Southeast Asia: history and gender, material culture and migration of the Philippines (Mina Roces); law reform in Indonesia and Myanmar, Islam and Muslim communities, courts and the rule of law (Melissa Crouch), community-driven development and personhood in Indonesia (Tanya Jakimow); environmental management and resource governance in Southeast Asia, civil society and development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (Pichamon Yeophantong). 

South Asia: Interdisciplinary studies in history, visual culture, material culture, gender and politics in India (Kama Maclean), women and governance, agrarian change, livelihoods and non-government organisations in India (Tanya Jakimow), environmental and climate justice, development planning and policy, political ecology, natural resource management in Nepal and India (Krishna Shrestha), environment and development, public policy and governance in South Asia (Hemant Ojha), ethnic minorities (Duncan McDuie-Ra), Indian media and cultures, digital media and socio-political change, postcoloniality and decoloniality (Ramaswami Harindranath). 

Northeast Asia: Ancient and modern Chinese literature (Karyn LaiJon von KowallisPing WangYi Zheng); comparative philosophy and cultural history (Karyn LaiGreg EvonYi Zheng); Korean intellectual history (Greg Evon); Japanese popular culture, Japanese media (anime, manga and video games), popular culture in Japanese language acquisition (Sumiko Iida); gender and ageing in contemporary Japan; anthropology of the life-course; ritual and performance (Katrina Moore); anthropology of Islam in China (Ayxem Eli); violence and war in Asia (Louise Edwards); media, communication and popular culture in China (Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Haiqing Yu); ethnic minorities in China (Ayxem Eli), childhood and film cultures (Stephanie Hemelryk Donald); Chinese social policy (Karen Fisher); East Asian international relations, environmental governance and development in Northeast Asia, Chinese foreign policy and overseas investment policy (Pichamon Yeophantong, Andrew Tan). 

Central Asia: household economic behaviour in post-socialist societies; China’s One Belt, One Road project and its Central Asian neighbours (Ayxem Eli). 

Comparative and cross-regional: international relations (Andrew Tan, Pichamon Yeophantong), security, terrorism, insurgency (Andrew Tan); gender and migration (Mina Roces); feminism, feminist theory, sexuality and women’s movements (Mina RocesLouise Edwards, Ayxem Eli, Haiqing Yu); Asians in Australia (Haiqing Yu, Louise EdwardsMina Roces); popular culture in Asia (Haiqing Yu, Ayxem Eli); Islam and Muslim communities (Melissa Crouch, Ayxem Eli); ethnic minorities in India and China (Duncan McDuie-Ra, Ayxem Eli), violence and conflict (Louise Edwards), South Asian diaspora (Ramaswami Harindranath); environmental governance, resource development, civil society movements (Pichamon Yeophantong). 

Staff strengths & accomplishments 

UNSW Academics in Asian studies are active publishers in their fields, producing books and articles in some of the most prestigious outlets in Asian studies and their respective disciplines. They also make regular appearances as keynote speakers at international forums and are well networked in their fields through professional organisations. Our researchers are editors of major book series and journals, and serving on editorial boards for leading academic journals. 

UNSW students also have access to the Chinese Periodicals Full-text Database, developed by Shanghai Library. The database provides comprehensive coverage of almost all the periodicals published in China between 1911 and 1949. 

View Chinese language journals

Research networks & initiatives 

  • Imperial, Colonial and Transnational Histories