I am Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). My research interests include ethnic politics in China, China's relations with Southeast Asia, and the politics of state formation in the borderland area between China, Myanmar and Thailand. I received a Ph.D in Political Science from the George Washington University in the United States in 2010. Afterwards, I undertook a postdoctoral research fellowship in the China and the World Program at Princeton University.
My research has been supported by the Leverhulme Research Fellowship, and British Council/Newton Fund. During 2015-2016, I was a member at the School of Social Science, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. In 2017, I was awarded an East Asia Institute Fellowship in Seoul, South Korea. Prior to Hong Kong, I was Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London, where I remain as a research associate. In 2021, I will be Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Fellow on Contemporary Southeast Asia at Stanford University and National University of Singapore.
Updates - July 2019
My latest book, Asymmetrical Neighbors: Borderland State Building between China and Southeast Asia, published by Oxford University Press in 2019, takes a comparative look at the state building process along China, Myanmar, and Thailand's common borderland area. It shows that the variations in state building among these neighboring countries are the result of an interactive process that occurs across national boundaries. Departing from existing approaches that look at such processes from the angle of singular, bounded territorial states, the book argues that a more fruitful method is to examine how state and nation building in one country can influence, and be influenced by, the same processes across borders. It argues that the success or failure of one country's state building is a process that extends beyond domestic factors such as war preparation, political institutions, and geographic and demographic variables. Rather, it shows that we should conceptualize state building as an interactive process heavily influenced by a "neighborhood effect." Furthermore, the book moves beyond the academic boundaries that divide arbitrarily China studies and Southeast Asian studies by providing an analysis that ties the state and nation building processes in China with those of Southeast Asia.
The book can be ordered here.