Research Seminar Series (03/2020)

“Conflict, intervention, and tech: Critical perspectives on new technologies in societal conflict in Myanmar and beyond”

Speaker: Dr Stefan Bächtold

Date:      Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Time:       12.00pm

Venue:    The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). To register, please click here.

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Dr Tan Meng Yoe
(Academic matters).

Speakers' Profile

Dr Stefan Bächtold is an Associated Researcher at swisspeace, specialised in evaluation approaches and collaborative learning processes for conflict-affected environments. He is a scholar, trainer, and evaluator currently based as a visiting post-doctoral fellow at Monash University in Kuala Lumpur.

He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Basel, Switzerland and a MA in social science from the Universities of Fribourg and Berne.

His research focus is on critical/postcolonial approaches, the role of new technologies in conflict, and the power relations that are structuring peacebuilding and aid interventions in Myanmar and globally. Previously, Stefan was swisspeace’s in-country focal point embedded in a local peacebuilding organisation in Myanmar; worked for Terre des Hommes in West Darfur; and at the Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Cooperatives at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. In addition to South-East Asia, he has worked in Sudan (Darfur), Palestine (Gaza/West Bank), Bangladesh, and Senegal.


In June 2019, the Myanmar government imposed a shutdown of all mobile internet communications in parts of its Rakhine and Chin states. This internet 'blackout' has since turned into one of the world’s longest. While Myanmar has received considerable attention for its political transition, for its peace process, or more recently, for the international criminal court's investigations into accusations of genocide in Rakhine state, interest in the technological dimensions of these change processes have been limited.

This talk takes the 'blackout' as an entry point to critically analyse how new technologies reshape power structures in a context marked by armed conflict, international intervention, and transition. How do actors like the Myanmar government, civil society actors, or tech companies mobilise new technologies in their discourse and specific practices? And how do phenomena like online hate-speech and 'fake news' link to longstanding societal dynamics of inclusion/exclusion?

Rather than providing a fully formulated argument at this point, I would like to present different narratives pertaining to new technologies in societal conflict in Myanmar and explore how they relate to the (very different) context of Malaysia.

Research Seminar Series (02/2020)

“The Institutional Structure and Complexity of International Branch Campuses in Malaysia: A qualitative study”

Speaker: Mr Tirong Yang

Date:      Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Time:      10.00am

Venue:   The seminar series will be conducted via Zoom (zoom link will be forwarded to the registrants). To register, please click here.

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and Prof Helen Nesadurai (Academic matters)


Speakers' Profile

Tirong Yang was a visiting PhD student at SASS, Monash Malaysia. He received his PhD from the South China Normal University (SCNU) where he serves as the director assistant in the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in SCNU. His research centers around comparative higher education, and education research on Southeast Asia. He spent a year (2018-2019) doing visiting study at the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Yang is currently involved in research projects on the topics of policies of language education policy, internationalization of higher education.

International branch campuses (IBCs) has been the critical actors in realizing the target of making Malaysia an educational hub. While certain types of IBCs from Australia, UK and China have been growing in Malaysia, the collective research on their development requires further effort. This research aims to form a different understanding of IBCs by focusing on their institutional structure and complexity. With a framework of regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive institutions, the researcher conducted a qualitative analysis on the development of IBCs with data collecting from field observation, interview and official websites. The conclusion centers on the structure and complexity of institutions of IBCs in Malaysia.

Research Seminar Series (01/2020)

What we talk about when we talk about the Paris Agreement: Analogies in Global Environmental Politics

Speaker: Dr. Nicholas Chan

Date:      Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Time:       12.00pm

Venue:    Meeting room 2-6-41 (Building 2, Level 6, Room No. 41)

Contact person: Ms Eswary Sivalingam (Logistics) and A/Prof Yeoh Seng Guan 
(Academic matters).

Speakers' Profile

Dr Nicholas Chan is Lecturer in Global Studies at Monash University Malaysia and holds degrees in International Relations from the University of Oxford and Aberystwyth University. He specialises in global environmental politics, especially multilateral negotiations on climate change and ocean biodiversity. His most recent publication is Large Ocean States: Sovereignty, Small Islands and Marine Protected Areas in Global Ocean Governance, published in December 2018 in Global Governance.


Five years after the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted, it has rapidly become the focal point for how global climate action is organised. But how has this diplomatic success affected other dimensions of global environmental politics beyond climate change? This paper explores how the Paris Agreement has been used as an analogy, and how diverse actors have interpreted the 'lessons' of the Paris Agreement for the governance of other environmental issue areas, from biodiversity to plastic pollution, chemicals and ocean sustainability: What does the Paris Agreement mean in non-climate contexts? This paper builds on and contributes to the long tradition of reasoning-by-analogy in both International Relations generally and global environmental politics specifically. It explores the social life and the meanings attached to the 'Paris Agreement', and the implications this has for institutional design and global cooperation on issue areas beyond climate change.