Regional Social & Cultural Studies

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The RSCS programme studies and examines the history, sociology and anthropology of national and transnational processes within Southeast Asia. RSCS is concerned with ethnographic practices and theory-building in contemporary histories, nation-building, civil society and religion, cultural globalisation and identity-making, contemporary politics, and democratisation and multiculturalism in Southeast Asia.

The programme publishes the internationally-refereed SOJOURN thrice a year. The journal covers topics on urbanisation, migration, ethnicity, religion, popular culture, nation-building, civil society, family and gender.

For more information on RSCS researchers, please click here.


  1. Religion in Southeast Asia

The projects under this theme examine the impact of religious growth and revival on multicultural and multi-religious societies and their role in shaping politics and public debates. They analyze, among others, the role of religious elites, religious movements, religious education, and new modes of religious transmission.

For more information, please contact the Coordinators, Dr Norshahril Saat and Dr Terence Chong

  1. China and Southeast Asia in the 21st Century

This project seeks to monitor and understand the extent to which Chinese political and cultural influence is impacting Southeast Asia, overseas Chinese and new Chinese migrants. It also investigates new forms of governance and organization of Chinese-owned industries and investments in Southeast Asia.

For more information, please contact the Coordinator Professor Leo Suryadinata

  1. Media, Technology and Society

This programme studies the different ways in which social media influences the state, politics, and everyday life in Southeast Asia. It focuses on the digital revolution that has extended access to information to many across the region, and the potential of the revolution in mobilising collective actions and behaviours.

For more information, please contact the Coordinator, Ms Lee Sue-Ann

Past Events

Selected Seminar series

Selected Workshops

Past Publications of RSCS Researchers

Selected Books

Selected TRENDS

Religion in Southeast Asia  Mohd Faizal Musa, Naquib Al-Attas’ Islamization of Knowledge: Its Impact on Malay Religious Life, Literature, Language and Culture (2021)

A’an Suryana and Nur Syafiqah Mohd Taufek, The Serious Social Impact of Non-violent Extremism in Indonesia (2021)

A’an Suryana, Challenges in Tackling Extremism in the Indonesian Civil Service (2020)

Quinton Temby, Terrorism in Indonesia after “Islamic State” (2020)

Syafiq Hasyim and Norshahril Saat, Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs under Joko Widodo (2020)

Leo Suryadinata, Pancasila and the Challenge of Political Islam: Past and Present (2018)

Norshahril Saat, The Traditionalist Response to Wahhabi-Salafism in Batam by Norshahril Saat (2017)

Norshahril Saat, Johor Remains the Bastion of Kaum Tua by Norshahril Saat (2017)    
China and Southeast Asia in the 21st Century  Danielle Labbé, Urban Transition in Hanoi: Huge Challenges Ahead (2021)

Enze Han, Non-State Chinese Actors and Their Impact on Relations between China and Mainland Southeast Asia (2021)

Siwage Dharma Negara and Leo Suryadinata, Indonesia and China’s Belt and Road Initiatives: Perspectives, Issues and Prospects (2018)

Leo Suryadinata, The Growing “Strategic Partnership” between Indonesia and China Faces Difficult Challenges (2017)

Vannarith Chheang, The Political Economy of Chinese Investment in Cambodia (2017)  
Media, Technology and Society  Pauline Pooi Yin Leong, Digital Mediatization and the Sharpening of Malaysian Political Contests (2021)

Dien Nguyen An Luong, The Growing Salience of Online Vietnamese Nationalism (2021)

Ross Tapsell, Deepening the Understanding of Social Media’s Impact in Southeast Asia (2020)  

Some of these titles are available in PDF and hard copies. For a more comprehensive list, please check our bookshop.

Concluded Projects

  • Demographic Change in Southeast Asia
  • Singapore’s Islamic Studies Graduates
  • State Responses to Extremism in Post-Authoritarianism Southeast Asia
  • Christianity in Southeast Asia: Comparative Growth, Politics and Networks in Urban Centres

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