Distinguishing Mainland from Maritime Southeast Asia: How Much Does It Matter?


Via Zoom Webinar

Register at https://bit.ly/3gPVXlt


  • Richard Javad Heydarian,
  • Ann Marie Murphy,
  • Thitinan Pongsudhirak

This event is part of Shorenstein APARC’s fall webinar series "Shifting Geopolitics and U.S.-Asia Relations"

REGISTRATION LINK: https://bit.ly/3gPVXlt

Chair/discussant:  Donald K. Emmerson, director, Southeast Asia Program, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

Topic:  Analysts of Southeast Asia, struggling to find commonalities that its eleven diverse countries share, have long distinguished the region’s mainland from its maritime portions. Aspects of the contrast include the mainland’s greater proximity to China. A controversial hypothesis follows: that subcontinental Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and possibly Thailand (but arguably not Vietnam) are more likely to become peninsular parts of a sphere of influence overseen by China than are the region’s more insular or archipelagic countries—Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste. In support of the mainland versus maritime distinction, historical, cultural, and socioeconomic differences can also be cited. But how much do they really matter? Does the mainland-maritime contrast, for example, enhance or impede the ability of Southeast Asian countries to retain national independence and fashion a common front in defense of the autonomy of their region?  Or is location irrelevant?  And if other factors matter more, which ones, how, and why? The webinar will offer and explore answers to these and related questions.

Richard Heydarian is an Asia-based academic and columnist, who most recently was a Visiting Fellow at National Chengchi University, and formerly an Assistant Professor in political science at De La Salle University. As a columnist, he has written for the world’s leading publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and is a regular contributor to Aljazeera English, Nikkei Asian Review, South China Morning Post, and the Straits Times. He is the author of, among other books, The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt against Elite Democracy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and The Indo-Pacific: Trump, China, and the New Struggle for Global Mastery (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). As a policy adviser, he has advised Philippine presidential candidates, presidential cabinet members, senators, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and is also a television host in GMA Network in the Philippines.

Ann Marie Murphy 090120
Ann Marie Murphy is Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and 2019-2010 ASEAN Research Program Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Murphy's research interests include international relations and comparative politics in Southeast Asia, U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and governance of non-traditional security issues.  She is co-author (with Amy Freedman) of Non-Traditional Security Issues in Southeast Asia: the Transnational Dimension, (2018) and co-editor (with Bridget Welsh) of Legacies of Engagement in Southeast Asia (2008). Dr. Murphy’s articles have appeared in journals such as Asian Security, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Orbis, Asia Policy, World Politics Review and PS: Political Science & Politics.  Dr. Murphy is a founding partner of the New York Southeast Asia Network and is currently completing a book on the impact of democracy on Indonesian foreign policy with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak 090120
Thitinan Pongsudhirak is the Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies and Professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. He has authored articles, books, book chapters and over 1,000 op-eds in media outlets. His sought-after views have appeared on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, among others. Thitinan has provided briefings to diplomatic missions, investors, and business conferences on Thai domestic politics and regional geopolitics. In 2015, he was awarded an op-ed prize from the Society of Publishers in Asia. Subsequently, he was appointed ASEAN@50 Fellow by New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade; and Australia-ASEAN Fellow by Sydney’s Lowy Institute.  He completed his M.A. at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, having lectured internationally and held visiting positions at renowned universities, including Stanford University, while serving on several editorial boards of academic journals.