A close up of a pile of notebooks


SEAC aims to generate and support interdisciplinary research on Southeast Asia by bringing together researchers and providing a platform for critical debates for analysis of the region in global contexts.

SEAC encourages wider perspectives, paying attention not only to intra-regional or local dimensions but also to the ways in which Southeast Asia can enter into conversation with its neighbouring regions and the world.  In terms of research and public engagement activities, the Centre’s focus is on three key, intersecting themes: urbanisation, connectivity and governance. 

SEAC research focuses

Key research themes

Urbanisation: to enquire into urbanisation beyond demographic transformations and examine contemporary and historic experiences that encompass the politics and the economics of urbanisation/city-making. Topics of interest for example may include, but are not limited to, the promotion of urbanisation as a state project; the politics of land use; critical discourses on the use of Asian cities as reference points for (re-)developing cities in the Global South. 

Connectivity: to examine trans-regional or international connectivity in terms of people, built environments and the nature. The theme may possibly concern, for example, policy networks; infrastructural connections; special economic zones as nodal points for cross-border investments and trades; transnational real estate drives; trade relations; historic and contemporary migration; kinship or religious links; interconnected ecosystems such as the Mekong River basin.

Governance: to explore the governance that involves transnational, national and sub-national actors who play their roles directly and/or indirectly in the process of making decisions that may have socio-economic impacts upon people and places. Topics for example: state-business relations, transnational or regional cooperations, grassroots politics of democratisation, gender politics, ethnic and cross-border relations, communal conflicts and so on.

Research Projects 

SEAC is currently undertaking the following research project:


The Urban Spectre of Global China: Mechanisms, Consequences, and Alternatives for Urban Futures


cityscape stock photo

This project is funded by a British Academy grant for its Tackling the UK's International Challenges programme. The 18-month project will examine four large-scale property development projects of Chinese capital, to question the ways in which the urban has been reconfigured by China’s global expansion.

More details on the project can be found here.

Shin Hyun Bang 2019

Prof. Hyun Bang Shin, Principal Investigator

Prof Shin is Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC), and Professor of Geography and Urban Studies in the Department of Geography and Environment. 

yimin zhao

Dr Yimin Zhao, Co-Investigator

Dr Zhao is Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and Management, School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China


Dr Sin Yee Koh

Dr Koh is Senior Lecturer in Global Studies, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia



SEAC has also supported the following research projects:

UK-Southeast Asia Relations



The purpose of this project is to analyse UK-Southeast Asia relations, to explain recent policy change, and to offer a critical appraisal, whilst also providing policy advice in the context of Brexit.

A major aspect of the initial research in 2017/18 has focused on the question of the UK‘s future partnership arrangement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and possible options for future new trading arrangements. 


  • Future Options for the UK-ASEAN Economic Relationship (briefing paper) - PDF
  • Steering UK-Southeast Asia relations post-Brexit (13 March 2018,  East Asia Forum) - link
Jurgen Haacke 

Jürgen Haacke, Principal Investigator

Dr Jürgen Haacke is an Associate Professor in International Relations in the LSE Department of International Relations as well as a SEAC Associate.

Myanmar in Transition



This umbrella project explored the impact of political change in Myanmar. Pursued in collaboration with the LSE Global South Unit as part of its Myanmar Programme, it consisted of two research strands:

  • Myanmar foreign policy in the context of the country’s transition
  • Foreign policy agency in relation to ethnic armed organisations
Jurgen Haacke

Jürgen Haacke, Principal Investigator

Dr Jürgen Haacke is an Associate Professor in International Relations in the LSE Department of International Relations as well as a SEAC Associate.