Welcome to the Asia Research Centre
Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre is celebrating twenty years of research into capitalist development and political conflict in Asia this year. The Centre was formed with Federal funding as a Special Centre of the Australian Research Council in 1991, the same year that the Soviet Union collapsed, Keating unseated Hawke, and the web browser was invented.
Since that time, the Centre has developed to become one of Australia’s leading concentrations of expertise on South East Asia, with a thriving programme of research on Japanese studies also. Murdoch University has some of the world's leading scholars working on Asia. Highlights of the recent research agenda include an AusAID funded project conducted by a team of Centre members led by Emeritus Professor Richard Robison on the political economy of aid effectiveness; an Australian Future Fellowship awarded to Professor Vedi Hadiz to study populist Islam in Indonesia, the Middle East and North Africa; and an Australian Professorial Fellowship awarded to Professor Garry Rodan to study the politics of representation in South East Asia. The Asia Research Centre also recently became a member of an international consortium of universities investigating the emergence of an Indian Ocean economy from the 10th century onwards, through a project led by historian Professor James Warren.
The Centre was established with a mission to investigate the impact of the new middle classes that were emerging in Southeast Asia following a decade of economic boom in the 1980s. This resulted in a book series entitled The New Rich in Asia, which comprised eight volumes dealing with different aspects of the new political conflicts spawned by the demands and interests of new social forces in Asia. In the 1990s, also, businesses in Australia were first becoming interested in Southeast Asia as an export market, and the Asia Research Centre hosted an array of conferences and briefings for WA businesses eager to learn about tax regimes, investment laws and labour relations in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
The end of the 1990s brought the Asian Financial Crisis, and Centre researchers were at the forefront of attempts to explain the suddenness with which Asia’s economies went bust, hosting a workshop on the issue which was addressed by then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. The Centre’s pioneering studies of the relationship between class, capital and the state in Southeast Asia gave researchers a particular framework for explaining the nature of political contestation in Asia as well as the fortunes of Asian economies. This framework, sometimes referred to as the ‘Murdoch School’ of political economy, has become increasingly influential, attracting the attention of scholars in Europe and the US as well as across Australia.
In 2012, the resource boom that is tying the state and the Commonwealth ever more closely into the economies of Asia, the emergence of non-traditional security threats such as infectious diseases and organised crime, the politics of poor people’s movements in Southeast Asia, and the governance of Asia’s dwindling natural resources are among the issues currently investigated by Centre staff and research students.
The Asia Research Centre is located in the School of Social Sciences and
Humanities and affiliated with the Institute for Sustainable Societies,
Education and Politics at Murdoch University. The Centre encompasses researchers
from across Murdoch University and regularly engages in collaboration
with researchers from other universities around the world.
Latest News from the ARC
Public Seminar, Thursday 4th April, Senate Room, Murdoch University, 12:30 pm
Dirk Steenbergen, Asia Research Centre
Negotiating the Future of Local 'Backwaters': Participatory Marine Conservation in Southeast Maluku, Indonesia
Director of the Asia Research Centre, Caroline Hughes and Shahar Hameiri have been awarded an ARC Discovery Grant for their project “The politics of public administration reform: Capacity development and ideological contestation in international state-building”.
Caroline Hughes, Jane Hutchison and Ian Wilson of the Asia Research Centre, in collaboration with Andrew Rosser of University of Adelaide, have been awarded an ARC Discovery Grant for their project “Remaking the poor: Poor people’s responses to donors’ market citizenship programs in Southeast Asia”.
Carol Warren was part of a successful ARC Discovery Grant application with three colleagues at Deakin, for their project “Intangible cultural heritage across borders: Laws, structures and strategies in China and its Associate of Southeast Asian Nations neighbours”.
David Hill was successful with his Office of Learning and Teaching Extension Grant application, receiving $30,000 for his project “Promotion of national strategic plan for Indonesian in Australian universities”.
Dr Silke Tommer has been awarded the International Studies Association's 2013 International Political Economy Section Best Dissertation Award which will be announced at the 2013 Annual Convention in San Francisco. The title of her thesis is "Transformations in Trade Politics: West African Civil Society Participation in Economic Partnership Negotiations with the European Union"
The dimensions of the Indian Ocean World (IOW) past: sources and opportunities for interdisciplinary work in IOW history, 9th -19th centuries Conference. The Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle, 12-14 November 2012.
In September Professor Garry Rodan was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) is an autonomous, nongovernmental organisation, devoted to the advancement of knowledge and research in the various social sciences. The Academy consists of 537 Fellows including those honorary and overseas. Fellows of the Academy are elected by their peers on the basis of having achieved a very high level of scholarly distinction and for having made a distinguished contribution to one or more disciplines of the social sciences.