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The Australian National University

Dr Nick Cheesman

PhD (ANU), MEd (Hons) (UWA), BCom, GDipEd (Melbourne)
Fellow, Department of Political & Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs (Room 4.11, Hedley Bull Building)
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: +61 2 6125 0181

Areas of expertise

  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Law And Society 180119
  • Political Theory And Political Philosophy 160609

Research interests

Rule of law; sovereignty; the state; authority; power; political order; torture; impunity; human rights; postcolonialism in South and Southeast Asia; Myanmar (Burma); Thailand; interpretive social science 


Currently I hold an Australian Research Council grant to study torture in mainland Southeast Asia. The study follows my doctoral and early post-doctoral research, published as Opposing the Rule of Law. Earlier I worked in Hong Kong with a regional human rights group; convened a people’s tribunal on food scarcity and militarization in Myanmar, and lived and worked in a refugee camp in Thailand.

I look forward to hearing from potential research students. I also welcome advice on books to feature on the Southeast Asian Studies channel of the New Books Network, and inquiries about publishing in the ASAA Southeast Asian Publications Series (NUS Press). 

Member, IAS, Princeton, 2016-17; Visiting Scholar, ABF, Chicago, 2017; Awarded: Distinguished Book Award, ALSA, 2017; DECRA, 2015; President’s Prize, ASAA, 2013; Crawford Prize, ANU, 2013; Commendation for Contribution to Student Learning, ANU, 2012; VC’s Scholarship, ANU, 2008; Bradshaw Prize, UWA, 2003; Fellow: Higher Education Academy, UK; Editorial board member: Law & Social InquiryHague Journal on the Rule of Law

Current student projects

Ana Alonso (PhD, ANU, associate supervisor) Children born of war in Peru and Guatemala, James Bean (PhD, ANU, advisor) Jawi-Malay grievances and perspectives on local conflict in Southern Thailand, Jay Karunakaren (B Asian Studs Hons, ANU, supervisor), Sai Kham Maung (PhD, ANU, primary supervisor & chair) Ethnic politics and democratization in Myanmar, Lazum Lone Wah (PhD, Mahidol University, external advisor), Gerard McCarthy (PhD, ANU, advisor) Framing contentious politics; Who makes political cleavages in Myanmar's transition? Tasfi Sal-sabil (PhD, ANU, associate supervisor), Sirichinda Thongchinda (PhD, ANU, chair), Justinas Stankus (PhD, Ghent & Vilnius Universities, external advisor), Wong Kai Shing (PhD, Mahidol University, external advisor), Catherine Yen (PhB Hons, ANU, supervisor)

Past student projects

2018Kristina Simion (PhD, ANU, advisor) Eve Warburton (PhD, ANU, advisor), Jaqueline Menager (PhD, ANU, advisor); 2017Chit Win (PhD, ANU, advisor), Tushira Wickramariyaratne (M Nat Sec Policy Hons, ANU, advisor), Alice Dawkins (LLB Hons, ANU, 2017, advisor); 2016: Tamas Wells (PhD, Melbourne, advisor)


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  17 November 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers