Michael Connors


Michael joined the Department of International Studies at XJTLU in August 2018.

He has previously worked at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, La Trobe University, Leeds University, Thammasat University, Chulalongkorn University and City University of Hong Kong.

His research covers the politics of Thailand, nationalism, ideology, cultural policy, intellectual history and the international politics of the Asia Pacific with a focus on Thailand, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia.

He welcomes research supervision in any of the above or related areas.

Current research projects include:

* liberalisms in Southeast Asia (co-chair with Mark Thompson from City University for a workshop on localizing liberalism in Southeast Asia)

* translation project on Thai conservatism with Ukrist Pathmanand (Chulalongkorn University) An edited selection of translations with interpretative introduction.

* surveying Area Studies in China

  • Qualifications

    • Ph.D. (Political Science) University of Melbourne
    • BA Honours (1st class): University of Melbourne
    • Graduate Diploma of Education, University of Melbourne
    • BA Degree (History), La Trobe University, Melbourne
  • Experience

    • 2018 - Head of Research and PGR in the Department of International Relations, XJTLU
    • 2013-2018; Head of School of Politics, International Relations and History, University of Nottingham (2013-2016). One year leave and returned from July 2017-2018
    • 2016-2017 Visiting Fellow, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University
    • 2010. Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong
    • 2002-2012 ( absent 2010) La Trobe University: a variety of admin positions, including Faculty Chair, Graduate School, Acting Head of School, Convenor of Master in International Development
    • 2000-2001. Lecturer, University of Leeds
  • Research interests

    • Thailand, International Relations of the Asia Pacific, political ideologies, liberalism, intellectual history, development
  • Articles

    • Connors M. K. (2019) ‘Thailand’s Public Secret: Military Wealth and the State’, Journal of Contemporary Asia. Online first. https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2019.1635632
    • Connors MK (2019 ) ‘Liberalism Against the People: Learning to Live with Coups d’etat’, Journal of Political Ideologies. 24, 1, pp.11-31
    • Connors M. K. (2018) ‘Cultural Policy as General Will and Social Order Protectionism: Thailand's Conservative Double Movement’ International Journal of Cultural Policy, 24, 3, pp. 315-330
    • Connors M. K. (2017) ‘Introduction: Ideological aspects of development, empire and inter/nation: select cases from Southeast Asia’ Asian Review, 30, 2, pp. 1-6.
    • Connors MK (2016) ‘Political Ideology and Liberalisms in Southeast Asia: Review Article’ Asian Review, 29, 2: pp. 81-94
    • Connors M.K. (2012) ‘When the walls come crumbling down: Democracy and Monarchy in Thailand’ Journal of Contemporary Asia, 41, 4, 657-673.
    • Connors M. K (2011) ‘Thailand’s Emergency State: Transformation and Struggle’ Southeast Asian Affairs, Annual Publication, 287-305
    • Connors M.K. and Streckfuss D. (2011) ‘Michael K. Connors in conversation with David Streckfuss, author of Truth on Trial in Thailand', Critical Asian Studies, 43:1, 139 – 149
    • Connors M.K. (2009) ‘Liberalism, authoritarianism and the politics of decisionism in Thailand’ The Pacific Review, 22, 3, 355-373.
    • Connors M (2008) ‘Article of Faith: the Failure of Royal Liberalism in Thailand’ Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38, 1, 143-165.
    • Connors M and Hewison K. (2008) ‘Introduction: ‘Thailand and the Good coup’ Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38, 1, 1-10.
    • Connors M (2008) ‘Four Elections and a Coup’ Australian Journal of International Affairs, 62:4, 478-496
    • Connors, M. (2006) 'War on Error and the Southern Fire: How Terrorism Experts Get it Wrong', Critical Asian Studies, 38, 151-175.
    • Connors, M. (2005) 'Ministering Culture', Critical Asian Studies, 37, 4, 523-551.
    • Connors, M. (2005) 'Thailand: The Facts and F(r)ictions of Ruling', Southeast Asian Affairs, 365-284.
    • Connors, M. (2003) 'Goodbye to the security state: Ideological Change in Thailand', Journal of Contemporary Asia, 33, 4, 431-448
    • Connors, M. (1999) 'Political Reform and the State in Thailand', Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29, 2, 202-226.
    • Connors, M. (1997) 'Prefacing Research on the Global', Melbourne Journal of Politics, Vol.24, 44-48.
    • Connors, M. (1996) 'The Eclipse of Consociationalism in South Africa's Democratic Transition', Democratization, Vol.3, No.4, London, pp.420-435
    • Connors, M. (1996) 'No Getting Past the Post: International Relations and Heterotopia', Melbourne Journal of Politics, 23, pp.44-71.
    • Connors, (1995) 'Missing Gender and the Fetishism of Sex: Responses to the Sexuality Debates', Thamyris - An International Feminist Journal of Inquiry, Vol.2, No.2, Autumn, Amsterdam, 207-230.
  • Books, monographs, compilations and manuals

    • Connors M.K and Ukrist Pathmanand ed. (forthcoming) Thai Politics in Translation: The supra-constitution, monarchy and democracy (NIAS PRESS)
    • Connors, M.K. (2018) (co-authored with R. Davison and J. Dosch) The New Global Politics of Asia Pacific: Conflict and Cooperation in the Asian Century, Routledge, London (Revised: 3rd edition)
    • Editor Special Issue Connors M.K. (2017) ‘Ideological aspects of development, empire and inter/nation: select cases from Southeast Asia, Asian Review (Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University), Special issue 30, 2. 155 pgs.
    • Editor Special Issue: Connors, M.K. and K. Hewison (2008) ‘Thailand: ‘the good coup’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38, 1. Special Issue.
    • Connors, M.K. (2007): Democracy and National Identity in Thailand, (revised edition) Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies). Original publication 2003 with Routledge
  • Chapters, cases, readings and supplements

    • Connors, M. K. (2020) “Thai Democracy, what does your face look like?” in Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Thailand, edited by Pavin Chachavalpongpun , pp. 55-70 (London: Routledge).
    • Connors M.K. (2019) “Anticorruption Politics in Thailand: From Regime Institutionalization to Sovereignty Wars”, in The Political Logic(s) of Anti-Corruption Efforts in Asia, edited by Cheng Chen and Meredith Weiss. New York (SUNY Press). pp. 139-168
    • Connors M. K. (2014) ‘Southeast Asia's New Body?’ . In: Sunait Chutintaranond, Ukrist Pathmanand and Vinissa Ujjin (eds). Catching Up: Southeast Asian New Body - States, Markets and Public Spheres Bangkok: Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University.
    • Connors M.K (2011) ‘Political Reform and the State in Thailand’ in Allen Hicken (ed.) Politics of Modern Southeast Asia: Routledge Major Works, London: Routledge. Republished
    • Connors M.K. (2012) ‘Notes Towards an Understanding of Thai liberalism’ in (ed.) Michael Montesano and Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Bangkok, May 2010: Perspectives on a Divided Thailand Singapore: ISEAS.
    • Connors M.K. (2011) ‘Ambivalent about rights: Thai Democracy’ in Tom Davis and Brian Galligan, (ed) Human Rights in Asia, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
    • Connors M.K. (2010) ‘Liberalism, Authoritarianism and the Politics of Decisionism in Thailand’ in William Case (ed.) Contemporary Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Structures, Institutions and Agency, London Routledge.
    • Connors, M.K. (2009) ‘Another Country: Reflections on Politics and Culture in the South of Thailand’, in John Funston (ed.) Divided Over Thaksin Singapore: ISEAS.
    • Connors, M.K. (2009) ‘The War on Error and the Southern Fire: How Terrorism Experts Get it Wrong’, in Joseph Liow (ed.), Islam in Southeast Asia: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies: Routledge Major Works, London: Routledge. (Republished)
    • Connors, M.K. (2008) ‘Democracy from below: Nidhi Eoseewong in Thailand’ in Gloria Davies, J. V. D'Cruz and Nathan Hollier (ed. Political Actors and Ideas in Contemporary Asia, Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Press.
    • Connors, M. K. (2007) ‘The War on Error and the Southern Fire: How Terrorism Experts Get it Wrong’, in Duncan McCargo (ed.) Rethinking Thailand’s Southern Violence, Singapore: Singapore University Press. (republished)
    • Connors, M.K. (2006) ‘Acting Up: the politics of direct action’ in Graham Willett (ed.) Thinking Down Under: Australian Politics, Society and Culture in Transition, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag (Scientific Publishing House).
    • Connors, M. (2006) 'Thailand and the United States: beyond hegemony?', in Mark Beeson (ed.) Bush and Asia: The US's Evolving Relationships with East Asia, London: Routledge
    • Connors, M. (2006) 'Thaksin’s Thailand - to have and to hold', in Cavan Hogue (ed.) Thailand's Economic Recovery. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
    • Connors, M. (2006) 'Democracy and the Mainstreaming of Localism in Thailand', in Joakim Öjendal and Francis Loh (ed.) Southeast Asian Responses to Globalization: Restructuring Governance and Deepening Democracy, Copenhagen: NIAS Press.
    • Connors, M. (2003) ‘The reforming state: development culture and democracy in Thailand’, in Ji Ungphakorn (ed.) Radicalising Thailand, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, pp.319-343
    • Connors, M. (2002) 'Framing the People’s Constitution', in Duncan McCargo (ed.) Political Reform in Thailand, Institute Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
    • Connors, M. (2001) 'Thailand', in Patrick Heenan and Monique Lamontagne (ed.) The Southeast Asia Handbook, London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.
    • Connors M. K. (2000) 'When the Dogs Howl: Democratization in Thailand', in P. Darby (ed.) At the Edge of International Relations: Postcolonialism, Gender and Dependency, London and New York: Continuum.
    • Book Reviews 1998 Political Change in Thailand; Democracy and Participation, by Kevin Hewison, Australian Journal of Political Science, November 33, 4. 1999 Imagining Democracy: Reading the Events of May in Thailand, by William Callahan, Australian Journal of Political Science, 34, 1. 1999 Thammarat, (Good Governance) by Thirayut Bunmee, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29, 4. 1999 Cooperation and Community in Rural Thailand, by S. Shigetomi, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29, 4. 1999 The Thai Working Class in an Era of Economic Crisis, by Ji Giles Ungpakorn, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29, 4. 1999 Samneuk Phonlamuang (Civic Consciousness), by Yuttani Worunpitita and Suphita Raengjit (ed.), Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29, 4. 2001 Building Social Capital in Thailand, by Danny Unger, Asian Studies Review, 25, 2. 2001 The Security Environment in the Asia Pacific, by Hung-Mao Tien and Tun-jen Cheng (eds), and Engaging Russia in Asia Pacific, by Wattanabe Koji (ed), Europe-Asia Studies, 53, 2. 2001 Rent-Seeking and Economic Development, Theory and Evidence in Asia, by Mushtaq H. Khan and Jomo K.S. Rents (ed.), Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 39, 2. 2002, Democracy, Development and Decentralization in Provincial Thailand, by Daniel Arghiros, Democratization 9, 2. 2002 Pridi by Pridi: Selected Writings on Life, translated by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, Politics, and Economy in KPI Yearbook, (KPI/Asia Foundation). 2002 Money and Power in Provincial Thailand, by Ruth McVey (ed.) in Democratization 9, 2. 2002 State Capacity in East Asia: Japan, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, by Kjeld Erik Brodsgaard and Susan Young (ed.) in Japan Forum 14, 1. 2002 Pollwatching, Elections and Civil Society in Southeast Asia, by William Callahan, Democratization 9, 4. 2004 National Identity and its Defenders, by Craig Reynolds (ed.), Journal of Contemporary Asia, 34, 2. 2004 Understanding Third World Politics, by B.C. Smith, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 34, 2. 2004 Jonathan Rigg, Southeast Asia: The Human Landscape of Modernization and Development, 2nd ed. in Australian Journal of Political Science, 39, 1. 2004 The State and NGOs: Perspectives in Asia by Shinichi Shigetomi, Australian Journal of Political Science, 39, 1. 2006, Asian States: Beyond the Developmental Perspective, by Richard Boyd and Tak-Wing Ngo, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 36, 1. 2006 Making democracy: Leadership, class, gender, and political participation in Thailand, by James Ockey, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 37, 1. 2006 Local and Global: Social Transformations in Southeast Asia: Essays in honour of Professor Syed Hussein Alatas, by Riaz Hassan (ed.), Journal of Contemporary Asia, 36, 4. 2007 Neoliberalism and conflict in Asia after 9/11 by Garry Rodan and Kevin Hewison (ed.), Journal of Contemporary Asia, 37, 4. 2015 Energy, governance and security in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma): a critical approach to environmental politics in the South, by Adam Simpson, International Affairs, 91, 3. 2016 Political Development of Modern Thailand, by Federico Ferrara, Journal of Contemporary Asia, 46, 1.
  • Conference presentations

    • Seminars, Conferences, Addresses, Working Papers, Research Report (2017) ‘Sovereignty Wars: Patterns of Constituent Power’, paper presented at “Southeast Asian Studies in Asia 2017 Conference, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, December 16-17. (2017) ‘Writing together’, joint presentation with Ukrist Pathamand to New ASEAN Connectivity Workshop’ a Workshop organized by the Institute of Asian Studies (Chulalongkorn University) and the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies (Nottingham), October 31. (2017) ‘Rethinking the 1997 constitution: twenty years on’, Keynote Address at Conference on Social, Economic and Political Change in Isaan. Mahasarakham University, 14 September. (2017) ‘Anti-corruption politics: an interpretation of the Thai case in three parts’, paper presented to ‘Workshop on Anti-Corruption in Asia’ break-out workshop from APSA, September 3. (presented via Skype). (2017) ‘Populism for Liberal Democracy: the logics of appropriating Thaksin.’ 2017 International Convention of Asian Scholars, Chiang Mai, 13 July. (2017) ‘Liberalism Against the People: why liberals can support coups d’etat’, special presentation for the Emerging States Project, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, 27 April. (2016) ‘Liberalisms Against the People’ 2016 Annual Conference on Southeast Asian Studies in Taiwan, held at National Chengchi University, Tapei, 22-23 September. (2015) ‘Thinking about Liberalism in Southeast Asia’, Co-opening Address to ‘The Liberalism Conference: Trends, Challenges and Future Prospects’ IDEAS and the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, Kuala Lumpur, 19 September. (2012) ‘Rethinking Liberalism: Case Notes from the Thai Crisis’, Australian Association of Political Studies, University of Tasmania, 4 October. (2009) ‘Human Rights in Thailand’ invited paper to Workshop on Human Rights in Asia, University of Melbourne, October 2-3. (2008) ‘State ambivalence, decisionism and competing regime framers’ invited paper presented to Workshop on ‘Contemporary Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Structures, Institutions, and Agency’ City University, Hong Kong, May 9 -10, 2008. (2007) ‘Cultural Surveillance and the Market Economy - moral politics and the state in Thailand’ paper presented at International Convention of Asia Scholars, 5, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 2-5. (2006) ‘The Ministry of Culture in the South: paradoxes of cultural pluralism’ invited presentation to National Thai Studies Update, September 29, Australian National University. (2006) 'Reading Rohan: the politics of intelligence and terrorism', invited address to British Academy funded seminar on The Social Impact of the War on Terror, July 13. (2006) 'Give Democracy a Break: Thailand’s Political Crisis', invited address to the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Melbourne. May 10. (2004) 'Thailand under US hegemony? Power, Regionalism and the Peripheral Politics of Place', invited paper presented to symposium on ‘Bush and Asia: America’s Evolving Relations in East Asia’, held at the University of Queensland, Friday, November 26. (2004) 'Ministering Culture: the renewal of Thainess and the politics of hegemony', paper presented at Revisiting Globalization and Communication in the 2000s, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand, August 5-6. (2004) 'Thaksin – to have and to hold: Thai Politics in 2003-2004', invited address to the Thai Update Conference 2004, organized by the National Thai Studies Centre in Association with Macquarie University, Department of Foreign Affairs, Macquarie University, April 20-21. Connors, M. (2003) 'The Reforming State: Security, Development and Culture in Democratic Times', Working Paper Number 42, Southeast Asian Research Centre, City University, Hong Kong, September. http://www.cityu.edu.hk/searc/WP42_03_Connors.pdf (2003) 'Civil Society and Global State Building', ASEASUK annual conference, 19-20th October, University of Leeds. (2002) 'The forces of the land movement: the politics of civic engagement and reformed nationalism', paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Thai Studies, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, 9-12 January. (2001) 'Ideological Aspects of Democratisation: Mainstreaming Localism', paper presented to the Third Euro-Seas Conference, School of Oriental and African Studies, 5th-8th September. Appears as: 'Ideological Aspects of Democratization: the Mainstreaming of Localism', Working Paper Number 12, Southeast Asian Research Centre, City University, Hong Kong, October. http://www.cityu.edu.hk/searc/WP12_01_Connors.pdf (2001) 'Towards an Accountable Democracy Project', address to Local Governance and Accountability Workshop, Bele Pakuan Hotel, Bandung, 31 March, 2001, sponsored by UNPAR University and the British Council. (2001) 'Political Discourse and Democratization: Ideology and Power in Civics Education', paper presented to Institute of Civil Society Studies, UNPAR University, Bandung, 7th April. (2001) 'Globalising Democracy: What kind and why now?', talk presented to the Support Democracy in Indonesia Project, Bandung, 26th March, 2001. (2001) 'Making Democracy Work? The Politics of Democracy Promotion in Southeast Asia', Southeast Asia Seminar Series, City University, Hong Kong, 24th May. (1994) ‘Resisting Amalgamation Mania: Case Studies of Failed Amalgamation Campaigns in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s’. Research Report prepared for Professor Gerry Griffin, funded by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, pp. 45.
  • Grants

    • 2018 with Dr Wasana Wongsurat as Co-Director, Panel Grant for Inter-Asian Connections VI – Hanoi, December 4 – 7, 2018 organized and funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) InterAsia Program, the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS) at the University of Hong Kong, Yale University, the University of Göttingen Global and Transregional Studies Platform, Duke University Global Asia Initiative, and Seoul National University’s Asia Center (SNUAC). Panel funded: Divine/Transcendent Rulers of Imagined Communities: The Rise and Fall of Royal Nationhood in Asia 2017 Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University and the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, Nottingham University joint-grant ($4000) for workshop on political ideologies in Southeast Asia. 2016-2017 Visiting Fellowship Honorarium (Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University) $22,000. 2016 IAPS Small Gant 5000 ringgit for work on Malaysian think tanks. 2013-2015 (Seed grants secured from various university sources for the establishment of Institute of Asia Pacific Studies (Malaysia) £20,000. 2013 Teaching Development Grant for tri-campus web-based module. University of Nottingham, UK. £10,000 2011 La Trobe Research Infrastructure Block Grant to co-ordinate Program Research Assistant $17, 000. 2010 Australian Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute of Human Security, La Trobe University , $7000, to fund field work and research assistance on human security in Thailand for 2011. 2008 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia-Thailand Institute, $22, 000 (with supporting funds from La Trobe University of $4000) – to facilitate photographic exhibition and film on Thai south. 2007 Department of Foreign Affairs and Exchange, Australia-Thailand Institute, $24, 000 (with supporting funds from La Trobe University of $2000) – to facilitate exchange visit of Thai Muslims to Australia in 2007. 2006-2008 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant $85, 000: Chief Investigator. Resulted in 5 publications including 3 ISI journal articles. 2002-2005 – various La Trobe University competitive research grants for conference and research. 2003 Australian Academy of the Humanities Fieldwork Fellowship $3700. 2002 – co-author with Professor Duncan McCargo of successful bid for Department for International Development funded link between the University of Leeds and the Prince of Songkla University, Thailand. 2001 British Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Small Grant for project on ‘Rediscovering Liberalism in Thailand’ £ 2800.
  • Professional service activities

    • Refereeing Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Melbourne Journal of Politics, Globalizations Pacific Review, Sojourn, Critical Asian Studies, Asian Studies Review, Global Society, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, Government and Opposition, Sojourn, Cambridge University Press, Routledge and NIAS Press. Editorial Boards Journal of Contemporary Asia (2011 -ongoing), Asian Review (2016 – ongoing). External Assessor, consultant 2017-2019: Senior Advisor to Thailand Research Fund project (based at Institute of Asian Studies) on Regimes in Southeast Asia. Monash University: invited to be on Audit Panel, 2016 (declined as I was not available). City University of Hong Kong: Appointed External Academic Advisor for the Master of Asian and International Studies at (3 years) 2011-2013. Consulted on report of Thai Studies in Australia by the Lowy Institute. Reader for an IRUA university draft research quality statement, 2007. Legal Briefs (approached on three occasions – declined). Conference and Workshop Co-organizer or organizer (recent). 2017 ‘ASEAN Connectivity Workshop’, University of Nottingham (October 31) 2017 ‘Political Ideologies in Southeast Asia’, Chulalongkorn University 2015 ‘The Liberalism Conference: Trends, Challenges and Future Prospects’ held at Connexion@Nexus, 19th September 2015, with IDEAS, Malaysia. Public Engagement (Ongoing) Media: Bloomsberg, Asia Channel, ABC, Radio National, BFM Radio, BBC and various newspapers on my research area of Thai politics. (2015-2016) University of Nottingham co-ordinator of the United Nations Association of Malaysia annual speech and essay writing competition. (2015) Co-organizer in my capacity as Director of IAPS with the think-tank IDEAS ‘The Liberalism Conference: Trends, Challenges and Future Prospects’ held at Connexion@Nexus, 19th September 2015. (2013-2015) Co-ordinator, as Director of the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, with British High Commission (Malaysia) of the Big Debates series from 2013-2015. (2010) guest lecturer at Open University, Melbourne. 2008: Co-organizer of film event “Citizen Juling” at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image and a photographic exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne funded by DFAT.
  • Courses taught

    • INS301 Semester of International Experience - providing a modular element on Area Studies in this module
    • INS406 War and Peace in East Asia 2020- ongoing
    • INS401 Contemporary Debates and Research Methods in IR (interim 2020)
    • INS106 East and Southeast Asia 2018 - ongoing
    • INS103 World History 2018-2019
  • Awards and honours

    • Visiting Fellow, Institute of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University July 2016-June 2017
    • Dwight Examination Prize, Department of Politics, University of Melbourne, 1994
  • Telephone

    +86 (0)512 0438
  • Email

  • Address

    Department of International Relations
    Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District
    Suzhou Industrial Park
    Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District
    Suzhou Industrial Park