FASS Staff Profile



Brief Introduction

Born and raised in New Jersey, USA, I attended (and yes, did graduate from) the University of Pennsylvania--Land of the Quakers--upon which I then ventured to the far, far away land of Indonesia--in other words, as far away from law school as I could--only to have my life irrevocably altered. After teaching English for a year in Yogya, I enrolled in a master's program at SOAS at the University of London, an experience which convinced me (for better or for worse) to pursue a PhD. in political science on Indonesia. I did this at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA) under the loving watch of the late, great Dan Lev. Having finished the program in a reasonable amount of time (5 years or so), I made my first foray into the Singapore scene as a post-doc at the then newly established Asia Research Institute, here at NUS--ah...the gold old days, for me and ARI, when the resources flowed and where I met my life partner, Portia. Portia and I then headed to Leiden, The Netherlands for another post-doc stint (post-docs are great!). A year and a half spent among the tall trees known as the Dutch. I crashed back down to earth as I returned to NUS, this time as an assistant professor in the political science department. Not because I don't like it here (I do like), but because of actually having responsibilities. Having to be somewhere frequently at an appointed time was a tough adjustment. But that's life and I love my wife. I also love reading fiction, exploring, traveling, playing softball, playing tennis, watching live music, hiking, watching copious amount of TV...if I had the time, especially now that I'm the proud papa of the most adorable twins imaginable, Sammy and Amihan.

Teaching Areas

PS 2245 Government and Politics of Southeast Asia
PS 3236 Ethnicity and Religion in Asia

PS 4205  Contemporary Southeast Asian Politics
PS 5213 Approaches to Comparative Politics

Current Research

Comparing the politics of rice policy in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Research Interests

politics of infrastructure development
legal reform
identity politics
ethnic conflict/violence
comparative politics

comparative political economy of rice

food security                                                                                                                                                                                    
and probably others (does "state-society" count?)





    Indonesia: Twenty Years of Democracy (Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, 2018, Elements Series; https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/indonesia/8E0D464AFC077007052B28FF16F7C287)

    [Reviewed in Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Issue 25, 2019, https://kyotoreview.org/book-review/review-indonesia-twenty-years-of-democracy; Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 55(1), 2019; Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (forthcoming)

    Chinese translation: 印尼模式:國家民主化二十年史(1998-2018) (Taiwan: Monsoon Belt Culture Co., 2019; https://www.taaze.tw/goods/11100874034.html)


    Indonesia's Changing Political Economy: Governing the Roads (Cambridge University Press, 2015; paperback 2018).

    [Reviewed in: Contemporary Southeast Asia, 37, 3, 2015; Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 32,2, 2015); Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (2016); Pacific Affairs (2016);  Indonesia (2016); Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2017); Sojourn (2017); Perspectives on Politics (2017); Southeast Asian Studies (2017)]

    Indonesian translation: Menaja Jalan: Ekonomi Politik Pembangunan Infrastruktur Indonesia (Insist Press, 2019; http://insistpress.com/katalog/menaja-jalan-ekonomi-politik-pembangunan-infrastruktur-indonesia/)


    From Rebellion to Riots: Collective Violence on Indonesian Borneo (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.)  

    [Reviewed in: Nationalism and Ethnic Politics (July 2008); Indonesia (October 2008); Australian Journal of International Affairs (December 2008); Borneo Research Bulletin (39, 2009); Crossroads (19,2, 2008); Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (165, 2&3, 2009); Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia (2, 2009); Pacific Affairs (82, 2009/10 Winter), South East Asia Research (18, 1, 2010); Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (42, June 2011).]

    Edited Book
    with David Henley, The Revival of Tradition in Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism (London: Routledge, 2007; 2012 softback).

    [Reviewed in: Sudostasien Aktuell, 5, 2007; Moussons, 11, 2007; Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, No.3, 2008; Anthropos, 103(2), 2008]

    Indonesian translation: Adat Dalam Politik Indonesia (KITLV-Jakarta dan Yayasan Obor, 2010)

    Journal Articles (Refereed)

    “Rice Imports and Electoral Proximity: The Philippines and Indonesia Compared,” Pacific Affairs, 91, 3 (2018): 445-70.

    "Then and Now: Campaigns to Achieve Rice Self-Sufficiency in Indonesia," Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde, 174 (2018): 188-215.

    “Stagnating Yields, Unyielding Profits: The Political Economy of Malaysia’s Rice Sector,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 49, 1 (2018): 105-28.

    "Indonesia’s New Governance Institutions: Accounting for their Varied Performance", Asian Survey 56, 4 (2016): 651-75.

    "Why the Philippines Chooses to Import Rice," Critical Asian Studies (48, 1, March 2016): 100-22.

    "The Demise of Indonesia's Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Agency: An Alternative Perspective," Contemporary Southeast Asia 37, 1 (2015): 109-33.

    "Driving Growth: Regulatory Reform and Expressways in Indonesia," Regulation and Governance, 4 (2010) :465-484.

    "How to Harness the Positive Potential of KKN: Explaining Variation in the Private Sector Provision of Public Goods in Indonesia," Journal of Development Studies, 46, 10 (2010): 1729-1748.

    "Dilemmas of Democratic Consolidation in Indonesia," The Pacific Review 22, 3 2009: 293-310.

    "Visual Representations of Ethnic Violence: An Indonesian Portrayal," Asian Ethnicity, 10, 2, 2009: 121-44.

    "Studies of Massive, Collective Violence in Post-Soeharto Indonesia", Critical Asian Studies, 41,2 2009: 329-49.

    With David Henley, “In the name of adat: regional perspectives on reform, tradition and democracy in Indonesia,” Modern Asian Studies, 42, 4, 2008: 815-52.

    “Politics as Usual on Trial: Regional Anti-Corruption Campaigns in Indonesia,” The Pacific Review, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2007, 75-99.

    “The Politics of Violence on an Indonesian Periphery,” South East Asia Research, Vol. 11, No. 1, March 2003, 59-89.

    [revised in Eva-Lotta Hedman (ed.), “Violence and Displacement in West Kalimantan,” Conflict, violence and displacement in Indonesia: Dynamics, Patterns, Experiences, Ithaca: Southeast Asian Publication, Cornell University, 2008, 61-86)].

    with Douglas Kammen, “Indonesia’s Unknown War and the Lineages of Violence in West Kalimantan,” Indonesia, No. 73, April 2002, 53-87.

    Chapters in Edited Volumes

    Survival of the Weakest? The Politics of Independent Regulatory Agencies in Indonesia,” in D. Jarvis and T. Carroll (eds), Asia after the Developmental State: Disemedding Autonomy (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 237-60.

    •with Erik Mobrand, “Rule Making and Rule Breaking: Electoral Corruption in Asia,” in Ting G. and I. Scott (eds), Routledge Handbook on Corruption in Asia (London: Routledge, 2016, 69-82).                                              

    • “The Political Study of Ethnicity in Southeast Asia,” in Erik Kuhonta, Toung Vu, and Daniel Slater (eds.), Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region and Qualitative Analysis,Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008, 199-227 [refereed].

    •with David Henley, “Introduction: Radical Conservatism--the Protean Politics of Adat,” in Jamie S. Davidson and David Henley (eds), The Revival of Tradition in Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism (London: Routledge, 2007), 1-49.

    •“Culture and Rights in Ethnic Violence,” in Jamie S. Davidson and David Henley (eds), The Revival of Tradition in Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism (London: Routledge, 2007), 224-46.

    •“Decentralization and Regional Violence in the Post-Suharto State,” in Maribeth Erb, Carole Faucher and Priyambudi Sulistiyanto (eds.), Regionalism in Post-Suharto Indonesia (London: RoutledgeCurzon 2005), 170-90.

    •“Menyelundupnya Reformasi Keluar dari Pelabuhan Pontianak (Reform Smuggled Out Pontianak’s Port Door),” in Jim Schiller (ed.), Jalan Terjal Reformasi Lokal: Dinamika Politik Indonesia (Yogyakarta: Universitas Gadjah Mada Program Paska Sarjana, Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Politik, 2003), 323-54.

    Book Reviews

    Catharsis: A Second Chance for Democracy in Malaysia, Ooi Kee Beng (ISEAS/SIRD, 2018) in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (2019)

    Economic Change in Modern Indonesia: Colonial and Post-Colonial Comparisons. Anne Booth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) in Journal of Southeast Asian Economies  (2016), 419-21.                                                                                                                                                       

    Explaining Collective Violence in Contemporary Indonesia: From Conflict to Cooperation.  Mohammad Zulfan Tadjoeddin (Bastingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014) in Asian Journal of Social Science 43, 3 (2015), 326-28.                                                                                                   

    • Imperial Alchemy: Nationalism and Political Identity in Southeast Asia. Anthony Reid (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010) in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (42, 3) (October 2011).

    • Collective Violence in Indonesia. Ashutosh Varshney (ed) (Boulder: Lynne Reinner, 2010) in Pacific Affairs (June 2011)

    •Indonesia’s War Over Aceh: Last stand on Mecca’s porch. Matthew N. Davies (London: Routledge, 2006), in Asian Journal of Political Science (December 2007).

    •The Indonesian Supreme Court: A Study of Institutional Collapse. Sebastiaan Pompe (Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2005), in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 37, 3 (October 2006, 563-64).

    •Roots of Violence in Indonesia: Contemporary Violence in Historical Perspectives. Freek Colombijn and J. Thomas Lindblad (eds.) (Leiden, KITLV Press 2002), in Pacific Affairs, 76, 4 (Winter 2004, 683-85).

    •Golddiggers, Farmers and Traders in the “Chinese Districts” of West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Mary Somers Heidhues (Ithaca: SEAP Publications, 2003), in Moussons, 9, 10 (2006, 377-79).

    Reviewer for Journal of Asian Studies (2x); Royal Netherlands Academy of Social Sciences (KNAW), Post-doctoral competition; Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (6x); Asian Journal of Political Science (2x); Australian National University, Ph.D examination; Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism; Indonesia (4x); National University of Singapore Press; History of Intellectual Culture; Journal of East Asian Studies (2x); Australian Journal of Asian Law; Critical Asian Studies (2x); International Studies Association's Compendium Project; East-West Center's Policy Studies; Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (3x); Democratization; South East Asia Research; Minority Rights Group's Annual Publication; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Asian Journal of Social Science (2x); Asian Survey (2x); Kyoto University Press; World Development (4x); Ethnopolitics; Journal of Peace Research; KITLV Press; Raffles Bulletin of Zoology; Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development; City & Society; ISEAS Press, Law and Policy; Pacific Affairs; Security Studies; World Politics; British Journal of Political Science; Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology; Contemporary Southeast Asia; Routledge; East Asian Science, Technology and Society​; Global Governance; International Relations of the Asia-Pacific; Asian Survey; University of Amsterdam Press; Comparative Political StudiesGeoforum, Asian Journal of Law and Society; International Studies Review; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); Anthem Press


    International Advisory Board Member, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde (Leiden) & Asian Studies (University of the Philippines)

    Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Editorial Board member

    Palgrave Macmillan's The Political Economy of East Asia Book Series

    Palgrave Macmillan's Contestation in Contemporary Southeast Asia (Book Series, co-founder)


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