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The Australian National University

Dr Nick Cheesman

BCom, GDipEd (Melbourne), MEd (Hons) (UWA), PhD (ANU)
Research Fellow, Department of Political & Social Change, School of International, Political & Strategic Studies
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6125 0181

Areas of expertise

  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Law And Society 180119
  • Studies Of Asian Society 169903

Research interests

Rule of law; sovereignty; authority; power; political order; ideology; postcolonialism in South and Southeast Asia; Myanmar (Burma); Thailand


A sense of urgency to contribute towards useful, informed debate about politics in Asia shapes my research, past and present. Before coming to the Australian National University, I worked in Hong Kong with a regional organization aimed at protecting and promoting human rights. Earlier I convened a people’s tribunal on food scarcity and militarization in Myanmar, for a Thailand-based non-profit group. I also lived and worked in a refugee camp for a number of years.

I studied for a PhD at the ANU’s Department of Political and Social Change, on a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship. In 2013 my dissertation, about the politics of law and order in Myanmar, obtained both the ANU’s Crawford Prize and the ASAA (Asian Studies Association of Australia) President’s Prize.

My ongoing research interests are in rule-of-law ideas and practices; rumour, truth claims and political violence; and, torture in South and Southeast Asia. I am lead convenor of the Myanmar (Burma) Update Conference, and also teach undergraduate courses on comparative politics (ASIA2065) and internal security in the Asia-Pacific (STST2002). I welcome inquiries from students thinking about taking either of those courses, as well as from current or potential research students whose interests intersect with mine.



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Updated:  21 April 2014 / Responsible Officer:  Pro VC (Research and Research Training) / Page Contact:  Researchers