I am a global historian interested in cities, migration, and civil society. My research interests are primarily in modern Southeast Asia, with a focus on transnational connections and cross-cultural exchange.
PhD, History, University of Cambridge, 2010
M.A., History, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2004
B.A. (Comb. Hons), History and Contemporary Studies, the University of King's College and Dalhousie University, Canada, 2001
Before joining the School of History and Cultures in August 2013, I was a Mellon post-doctoral fellow in the Department of South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley between 2011 and 2013. I was a Past and Present post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London in 2010/11, and a sessional lecturer at Birkbeck College in 2009, where I taught a graduate class on global cities. I have also worked on social development projects for the World Bank and International Organization for Migration in Indonesia, where I developed an interest in the history of local civil society organizations and grassroots social movements in Southeast Asia.
This year I will be teaching a second-year option module on 'The Making of Modern Southeast Asia c. 1860-1960', as well as a group research course is 'Student activism in 20th c. Burma.' I will also be co-teaching 'History, Theory, and Practice' and the MA in Contemporary History's core module on 'Globalization since 1945'. I will additionally be contributing lectures to the new MA in Global History.
I would be happy to discuss offering postgraduate supervision in any topic relating to inter-ethnic relations, social activism, and social, intellectual, and urban history in twentieth-century South and Southeast Asia.
I am currently completing a manuscript based on my PhD thesis that explores intersecting themes of urban space, cross-cultural sociability, education, the press, and popular culture in the 1920s and 1930s. The book focuses largely on the cities of Rangoon, Penang, and Bangkok. I am currently pursuing research on cultural internationalism and the transnational movements of activists, literati and artists in the 1950s, focusing on Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia, as well as African-Americans in Cold War Asia.
Most recently I have been a collaborator and speaker on events hosted by the 'Sites of Asian interaction' project at the Cambridge Centre for Economics and History. I am also currently involved in heritage conservation projects in Southeast Asia, working with the Yangon Heritage Trust and Think City Penang to share ideas on community-driven development in heritage zones and promote public awareness of the vibrant, multi-ethnic histories of Asian port-cities.
Editorial: 'A world of ideas: new pathways in global intellectual history, c. 1880-1930' co-authored with Stefanie Gaenger, Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming Vol. 10:2, August 2013
'Between Orientalism and Nationalism: the learned society and the making of "Southeast Asia''', Modern Intellectual History, forthcoming Vol. 10:2, August 2013
Editorial 'The roots of global civil society and the interwar moment’, co-authored with Andrew Arsan and Anne-Isabelle Richard, Journal of Global History Vol. 7:2, July 2012
‘Breaking the Colour Bar: The Rotary Movement and the ‘International Mind’ in 1930s Southeast Asia’, Journal of Global History Vol. 7:2, July 2012
‘Cosmopolitanism and the Modern Girl: A Cross-cultural Discourse in Interwar Penang’ in Modern Asian Studies 43:6, November 2009
‘Print and Colonial Port-Cultures of the Indian Ocean: Rangoon and Penang’ in Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, December 2009 (republished in Moussons no 7 Social Science Research on Southeast Asia for special issue on ‘the Moving Frontiers of Burma’, summer 2011)
'Echoes of Cosmopolitanism: Colonial Penang’s ‘Indigenous’ English Press’ in Media and the British Empire Ed. Chandrika Kaul (London: Palgrave Macmillan, March 2006)