Asia Pacific Development and Security

Current project

The Asia Pacific Development and Security Research Group draws experts working on current significant socio-political changes affecting the Asia Pacific Region.  

Asian Development

We are seeking candidates to work on projects in line with the group’s key research themes as below:

Gender, Religion and Development 

Explores how socio-cultural norms interact with the perceptions of equitable and just development in the Asia Pacific Region. How gender equality can be achieved is an important research issue. Prospective supervisor:

Infrastructure Development and Its Local Impact 

Explores the development and human security impacts deriving from China’s Belt and Road Initiative, IT and Ecommerce Development in Southeast Asia. Prospective supervisors:

Human Security and Development 

Examines how significant social changes such as urbanisation, climate change and natural disasters have affected community resilience, food security, refugees, governance and social policy. Prospective supervisors:

Military politics, Democracy, and Human rights

Examines political development processes with particular attention to the drivers and obstacles to change, and the role of the international community in facilitating or inhibiting progress. Prospective supervisors:

China and the Asia-Pacific Security

Explores external and internal drivers of China’s foreign and security policies, Chinese military modernisation, China’s relationship with countries in South East Asia & Pacific Islands Region, and the implications for Australia’s strategic interests. Prospective supervisors:

Examples of Current Projects

Bhirawa Anoraga

Supervisor(s) - Associate Professor Minako Sakai

This presentation examines the promotion of civic pluralism through social engagement and new media in Indonesia. Since Indonesia’s democratisation in 1998, religious sectarianism and intolerance towards non-Muslims have surged. This presentation demonstrates the emergence of online movements that have effectively countered growing sectarianism in contemporary Indonesia. Its effectiveness has been contributed by the role of new media that has enabled wide-ranging actors to engage and shape public discourses. Furthermore, this study will also highlight social engagement of broader community in promoting civic pluralism that has been more effective to attract mass support in current neoliberal Indonesia.

Melanie Fay Walker

Supervisor(s) - Morten Pedersen, Anthony Burke

Short description of your research project (100 words): Using PAR methods, the research project will work with a group of youth in Rakhine State, Myanmar, to collect and analyse data on how they perceive their present and futures, particularly regarding peacebuilding with the Rohingya, through the lenses of resistance and everyday peace. The empirical research will integrate youth voices and experiences in scholarly deliberations on everyday peace praxis, and contribute to more grounded and inclusive theorisations of, and engagements with, peacebuilding. Additionally, it will explore the suitability of ethnography in peace research.

Ajie Saksono

Supervisor(s) - Assoc. Prof. Minako Sakai

My research aims to propose the inclusive rural development model based on historical and chronological implementations of rural development programs in Indonesia. To achieve this aim, I investigate the previous rural development programs in Indonesia to find how the programs failed to bring benefits to the small farmers and low-income families. Subsequently, I will test the findings into current rural development programs in Indonesia to find whether there have been the changing impacts of the programs to the small farmers and low-income families. The proposed model will be based on how the programs benefit small farmers and low-income families.

Feifei Cai

Supervisor(s) - Dr. Pichamon Yeophantong & Dr. Nicolaas Warouw

This study aims to explore how Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) manage and negotiate their relations with civil society in Cambodia. In asking this question, the thesis speaks to broader research gaps pertaining to the responsiveness of MNCs from developing countries to opposition from civil society—a topic which is not yet explored systematically in the CSR and private politics areas—and the effectiveness of company strategies to manage their local relations. Drawing on institutional theory and corporate social responsiveness theory, the thesis will engage in a comparative analysis of three cases in Cambodia. All three cases feature ‘mega-projects’ that have been invested by a transnational Chinese private-owned enterprise, and which involve local conflict over the acquisition of land by the respective companies.