Christianity in Southeast Asia: Comparative Growth, Politics and Networks in Urban Centres

Project Brief:
This project seeks to understand the growth of Christianity in Southeast Asia and its consequences. It will focus on five countries, namely, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Two key cities in each of these countries (with the exception of Singapore) will be sites of investigation. They are Manila and Cebu (Philippines); Jakarta and Surabaya (Indonesia); Kuala Lumpur and Penang (Malaysia); and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam). The paring of capital cities with major urban centres will provide a more balanced understanding of Christianity and its diversity within national sub-regions.

The project is a collaboration between ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and National University of Singapore. It will develop a Southeast Asian understanding of Protestant and Pentecostal megachurches in the region and offer a comparative perspective across these city centres. These five countries were chosen because they convey the spectrum of societies in Southeast Asia from Muslim-majority societies, Christian-majority societies, capitalist societies, post-socialist societies, and multicultural societies. More broadly, it will investigate the impact of Christian growth on multicultural and multireligious societies as well as the religion’s role in shaping politics and public debates.

Project Duration: 2017 – 2020


    • Lead Principal Investigator: Dr Terence Chong, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
    • Co-Principal Investigator: Assoc Prof Daniel PS Goh, National University of Singapore