Professor Helen E S Nesadurai



Professor of International Political Economy

Telephone No: +603 5514 6132
Fax No: +603 5514 6365
Room No: 2-6-39


PhD (Politics and International Studies), University of Warwick, UK
MSc (Development Economics), University of Oxford, UK
MSc (Biochemistry), University Malaya, Malaysia
BSc (First Class Honours, Biochemistry), University Malaya, Malaysia
Graduate Certificate of Higher Education (GCHE), Monash University


Originally trained as a biochemist, I switched fields to pursue my interest in world politics, spending fifteen years in policy research with the Malaysian think-tank, the Institute of Strategic and International Studies before moving to academia, initially to the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and then to Monash University Malaysia in 2006. 

My research is primarily located in the discipline of International Political Economy but I draw on other disciplines for insights into the changing contours of multi-level governance in Southeast Asia. While maintaining my original interest in inter-governmental regional institutions in the Asia-Pacific, my research now explores transnational private governance and how these compare and relate to state and regional inter-governmental forms of authority in addressing a range of environmental and social justice issues in Southeast Asia.

I am Chief Editor (with Mark Beeson and Jeffrey Wilson) of Contemporary Politics as well as editorial board member of The Pacific Review, International Studies Quarterly, Contemporary Southeast Asia and Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs. I am also an associate of Warwick University's Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, serve on two Master's level Boards of Studies at University Malaya, and am member of the Advisory Committee of the Belgium-based UNU-Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), a research and training institute of the United Nations University. I have also consulted for the ASEAN Secretariat and the Asian Development Bank.

Research Interests

  • Private regulation and multi-stakeholder regimes as new forms of authority in Southeast Asia: The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
  •  Exploring norm contestation and resistance through the case of palm oil sustainability
  • The Politics of Multi-level Governance: Environmental Governance in Southeast Asia across National, Regional and Transnational Spaces
  • Regional Governance and Institutions in the Asia-Pacific: ASEAN, ASEAN Plus Three, APEC 

Academic Book 

  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2003) Globalisation, Domestic Politics and Regionalism: The ASEAN Free Trade Area (London and New York: Routledge). 

Edited Academic Books

  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. and Djiwandono, J. Soedradjad (eds) (2009) Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies).
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (ed.) (2006) Globalisation and Economic Security in East Asia: Governance and Institutions (London and New York: Routledge).

Edited Journal Special Issue 

  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2004) (Guest Editor) ‘Special Issue on Globalisation and Economic Security in East Asia: Governance and Institutions’, The Pacific Review, 17 (4). 

Book Chapters 

  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2017) ‘Contesting Private Sustainability Norms in Primary Commodity Production: Norm Hybridisation in the Palm Oil Sector’, in Alan Bloomfield and Shirley V. Scott (eds), Norm Antipreneurs and the Politics of Resistance to Global Normative Change (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 159-176.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2015) ‘Enhancing the Institutional Framework for AEC Implementation’ in Ooi Kee Beng (ed.), The Third ASEAN Reader (Singapore: ISEAS), pp. 231-236.  [Note: This is a reprint of a 2013 book chapter in the edited volume titled The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress published by ISEAS].
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2014) ‘The Political Economy of Southeast Asia’s Foreign Economic Policies and Relations’ in Rosemary Foot, Saadia Pekkanen and John Ravenhill (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the International Relations of Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press,  pp. 217-240).
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2014) ‘Civil Society and Land Conflicts in Southeast Asia: Navigating between National, Regional and Transnational Governance’, in Lozenzo Fioramonti (ed.), Civil Society and World Regions: How Citizens are Reshaping World Regions in Times of Crisis, (Lanham, USA: Lexington Books, pp. 107-121).
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2013) ‘Enhancing the Institutional Framework for AEC Implementation: Designing Institutions that are Effective and Politically Feasible’ in Sanchita Basu Das, Jayant Menon, Rodolfo Severino and Omkar Lal Srestha (eds), The ASEAN Economic Community: A Work in Progress (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 411-41).
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2012) ‘The ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) as Authentic Social Forum: Regional Civil Society Networking for an Alternative Regionalism’, in Mark Beeson and Richard Stubbs (eds), Routledge Handbook of Asian Regionalism (London: Routledge), pp. 166-76.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2012) ‘Trade Policy in Southeast Asia: Politics, Domestic Interests and the Forging of New Accommodations in the Regional and Global Economy’ in Richard Robison (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Politics (London: Routledge), pp.315-29. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2011) ‘The Varying Fortunes of ASEAN Economic Integration: What Does the ASEAN Experience Reveal?’, in Shiro Armstrong (ed.) The Politics and the Economics of Integration in Asia and the Pacific, (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 155-89. 
  • Lee, Hock Guan and Nesadurai, Helen E S. (2010) ‘Political Transition in Malaysia: the Future of Malaysia’s Hybrid Political Regime’, in Mely Caballero-Anthony (ed.) Political Change, Democratic Transition and Security in Southeast Asia,( London and New York: Routledge), pp. 97-123. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2010) ‘ASEAN and Regional Governance after the Cold War: From Regional Order to Regional Community?’ in Shaun Breslin and Richard Higgott (eds), The International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, (London: Sage Publications). [Note: This is a reprint of a 2009 article published in the journal, The Pacific Review]. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2009) ‘Finance Ministers and Central Bankers in East Asian Financial Cooperation’, in Ngaire Woods and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (eds), Networks of Influence? Developing Countries in a Networked Global Order, Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 63-94. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. and Djiwandono, J. Soedradjad (2009) ‘Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Striving for Competitiveness, Ensuring Social Protection’ in Nesadurai, Helen E.S. and Djiwandono, J. Soedradjad (eds) Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies) , pp. 3-18. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2008) ‘Economic Nationalism and the Limits of Globalization’ in Terence Chong (ed.), Globalization and its Counter-Forces in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Press), pp. 134-68. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2008) ‘Bandung and the Political Economy of North-South Relations’, in See-Seng Tan and Amitav Acharya (eds), Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, in press), pp. 68-101. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2008) ‘Southeast Asia’s New Institutional Architecture for Cooperation in Economics and Finance’, in Vinod K. Aggarwal and Min-Gyo Koo (eds), Asia’s New Institutional Architecture: Evolving Structures for Managing Trade, Finance and Security Relations (Berlin & Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag), pp. 151-80. 
  • Khong, Yuen Foong and Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2007) ‘Hanging Together, Institutional Design and Cooperation in Southeast Asia: The Cases of AFTA and the ARF, in Amitav Acharya and Alistair Iain Johnstone (eds), Crafting Cooperation: Regional International Institutions in Global Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press), pp. 32-82. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2007) ‘Political Transition, the Malay-UMNO Compact, and the New Governance Agenda’, in Hadi Soesastro (ed.), Political Transition and Economic Development in East Asia, a research project of the East Asian Development Network (Jakarta: CSIS Publishing), pp. 163-201. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2006) ‘Malaysia and the United States: Rejecting Dominance, Embracing Engagement’, in Mark Beeson (ed.), Bush and Asia, (London and New York, Routledge), pp. 179-95. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2006) ‘Conceptualising Economic Security in an Era of Globalisation: What does the East Asian Experience Reveal?’, in Helen E.S. Nesadurai (ed.), Globalisation and Economic Security in East Asia: Governance and Institutions, (London and New York, Routledge), pp. 3-22. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2006) ‘The Indo-Chinese Enlargement of ASEAN: Enhancing or Undermining Regional Economic Integration?’, in Douglas Webber and Bertrand Fort (eds), Regional Integration in Europe and East Asia: Convergence or Divergence?, (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 199-217.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2005) ‘Asia and the Asia-Pacific’ in Mary Farrell, Bjorn Hettne and Luk Van Langenhove (eds) Global Politics of Regionalism, (Cambridge: Pluto Press), pp. 155-70. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2004) ‘Asia-Pacific Approaches to Regional Governance: The Globalisation-Domestic Politics Nexus’ in Kanishka Jayasuriya (ed.), Asian Regional Governance: Crisis and Change, (London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon), pp. 147-72. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2004) ‘Cooperation and Institutional Transformation in ASEAN: Lessons from the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) Project’, in Ramesh Thakur and Edward Newman (eds), Broadening Asia’s Security Discourse and Agenda, (Tokyo, New York and Paris: United Nations University Press), pp. 279-305. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  and Stone, Diane (2000) ‘Southeast Asian Research Institutes and Regional Cooperation’, in Diane Stone (ed.), Banking on Knowledge, (London: Routledge), pp. 183-202. 
  • Lim, Imran and Nesadurai, Helen E.S (1997) ‘Managing the Malaysian Industrial Economy: The Policy and Reform Process for Industrialisation’, in Seiichi Masuyama, Donna Vandenbrink, and Chia Siow Yue (eds), Industrial Policies in East Asia, (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies), pp. 185-215.  

Journal Articles 

  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2017), ‘ASEAN Environmental Cooperation, Transnational Private Governance and the Haze: Overcoming the “Territorial Trap” of State-Based Governance?’ TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, 5 (1): 121-145.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2013) ‘Food Security, the Palm Oil-Land Conflict Nexus and Sustainability: A Governance Role for a Private Multi-Stakeholder Regime like the RSPO?’, The Pacific Review, 26 (5): 505-529. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2013) ‘ASEAN/East Asia and Global Economic Governance: Reasserting the State as Market Actor’, Studia Diplomatica: The Brussels Journal of International Relations, LXVI (1): 51-70. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2013) ‘Malaysia’s Conflict with the Philippines and Indonesia over Labour Migration: Economic Security, Interdependence and Conflict Trajectories’, The Pacific Review, 26 (1): 89-113. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2009) ‘Economic Surveillance as a New Mode of Regional Governance: Contested Knowledge and the Politics of Risk Management in East Asia’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 63 (3): 361-75.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2009) ‘ASEAN and Regional Governance after the Cold War: From Regional Order to Regional Community?’ The Pacific Review, 22 (1): 91-118.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2008) ‘The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’, New Political Economy, 13 (2): 225-239.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2004) ‘Introduction: Economic Security, Globalisation and Governance, The Pacific Review, 17 (4): 459-84.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2003) ‘Attempting Developmental Regionalism in AFTA: The Domestic Sources of Regional Governance’, Third World Quarterly, 24 (2): 235-53.   
  • Higgott, Richard A. and Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2002) ‘Rethinking the Southeast Asian Development Model: Bringing Ethical and Governance Questions In’, ASEAN Economic Bulletin, 19 (1): 27-39. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2000) ‘In Defence of National Economic Autonomy? Malaysia’s Response to the Financial Crisis’, The Pacific Review, 13 (1): 73-113.   
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. and Stone, Diane (2000) ‘Southeast Asian Think Tanks in Regional and Global Networking’, Panaroma, (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Occasional Papers), Vol. 1/2000: 19-35. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (1996) ‘APEC -- A United States Tool for Regional Domination?’ The Pacific Review, 9(1): 31-57.  

Other Published Outputs (Selected)

  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2015) ‘Political Economy and Regional Integration: What can the Southeast Asian/ASEAN Experience Tell Us?’, in Proceedings of the NUS Workshop on Regional Architecture and Framework for Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region, Department of Japanese Studies and Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore, March 2015. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2012) ‘Association of Southeast Asian Nations’, in Mark Juergensmeyer and Helmut K. Anheier (eds), Encyclopaedia of Global Studies, (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications), pp. 94-97. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2011) ‘An Uncertain Path to Global Economic Leadership’, East Asian Forum Quarterly, Vol. 3 (No. 3) (September 2011), pp. 23-24.  
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2010) ‘Labor and Grassroots Civic Interests in Regional Institutions’, ADB Working Paper Series on Regional Economic Integration, No. 63, November 2010 (Manila: Asian Development Bank). 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2009) ‘Is Depoliticized Functional Cooperation the Key to Advancing Cooperation in East Asia? Lessons from East Asian Financial Cooperation’ in See-Seng Tan (ed.), Collaboration under Anarchy: Functional Regionalism and the Security of Southeast Asia, RSIS Monograph No. 15: Report of the Study Group for the Sentosa Roundtable on Asian Security 2009, (Singapore: Rajaratnam School of International Studies), pp. 11-25. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2006) ‘APEC and East Asia: The Challenge of Remaining Relevant’, in Lorraine Elliot (ed.) APEC and the Search for Relevance: 2007 and Beyond, (Canberra: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University), pp. 16-25.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2002) ‘Is there an Asian Pacific Model of Regional Agreements?’ Working Paper, W-2002/3, United Nations University/Comparative Regional Integration Studies, Bruges, Belgium. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2002) ‘Globalisation and Economic Regionalism: A Survey and Critique of the Literature’, CSGR Working Paper No. 108/02, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick, UK, November 2002. 

Conference Papers and Invited Presentations (selected)

  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2017) ‘Strategic Economic Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: New Modes of Transnational Governance, Transnational Actors and State Cognitive Frames’, paper presented at the Workshop on Strategic Diplomacy in Southeast Asia, ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of  Singapore, Singapore, 2-3 February 2017.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E. S. (2016) ‘State Transformation and the Politics of Primary Commodity Governance: Ecological Security, National Development and Business Risk’, paper presented at the Seventh Oceanic Conference on International Studies (OCIS 2016), University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 4-6 July 2016.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2016) ‘The Southeast Asian Developmental State in a Changing Governance Environment: Negotiating Regional Cooperation Initiatives and Transnational Private Governance’, paper presented at the 2016 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association [Panel TD20: (Still) Governing the Market? Wade and State Developmentalism 25 Years On], Atlanta, USA, 16-19 March 2016.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2015) ‘New Forms of Authority in the Global Political Economy: Implications for State Developmentalism”’, paper presented at the “2015 Beijing Forum: Special Panel on Postwar International Order at 70: Evolution  of its Relationship with Major Countries”, organized by Peking University, Beijing, China 6-9 November 2015.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2015) ‘Private Regulation and the Governance of Sustainable Palm Oil: How does a Power Perspective Contribute to a Global Political Economy?’, paper presented to the 2015 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), 18-24 February, New Orleans, United States of America.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2014) ‘Contestation and Rivalry over Private Norms: The Case of Palm Oil Sustainability’, paper presented at the Pre-ISA 2014 Workshop on ‘Norm “Anti-preneurs”: Enhancing Scholarly Understanding of Resistance to Global Normative and Legal Change’, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), Toronto, 25 March 2014.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2013) ‘Imagining the ASEAN Community’, Keynote Address to the Workshop on ASEAN,  The Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, University of Sydney, 11 October 2013.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2013), ‘The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and Contested Sustainability Certification: Hypocrisy or “Multiple Legitimacy Disorder?’, paper presented to the 2013 Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Conference, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, 30 September – 2 October 2013.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2013) ‘Civil Society in Regional and Transnational Governance: From the World Food Crisis to Land Conflicts in Southeast Asia’, paper presented at the International Conference on Building Regions from Below: Civil Society and Supranational Governance in Times of Crisis, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation at the University of Pretoria, 21-22 May 2013, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2012) ‘ASEAN Plus Three/East Asian Perspectives on Global Governance: Insights from Reponses to the Global/European Crises, Rebalancing and Sovereign Wealth Funds’, paper presented to the Asia-Europe Workshop on Global Economic Governance In Asia: Through The Looking Glass Of The European Sovereign Debt Crisis, organized by the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy and the Centre for Asia and Globalization, National University of Singapore, held in Singapore, 19-20 November 2012.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2012) ‘External Responses to European ‘Leadership’ on Climate Change and Bio-fuels: Implications for the [Global] Governance of Sustainable Palm Oil’, paper presented to the International Conference on Regional Leadership and Norms: EU and Asia-Pacific Trajectories’, organized by the University of Western Australia, held in Perth, 2-3 August 2012.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2011) ‘East Asia and Globalization: The Political Economy of Strategic Engagement’, paper presented at the Workshop on South and East Asian Integration, organized by the Crawford School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, Canberra, 17 August 2011.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2010) ‘Labour Migration in Southeast Asia: Exploring the Nexus between Economics, Security and Interstate Conflict’, paper presented at the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative Project Conference, Department of International Relations, Australian National University, Canberra, 1-4 November 2010.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E S (2009) ‘Explaining the Varying Fortunes of ASEAN Economic Integration: What Does the Historical Experience Reveal?’, Thirty-third Pacific Trade and Development (PAFTAD) Conference, Taipei, Taiwan, 6-8 October 2009.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2007) ‘International Civil Society and Regional Governance: Holding Governments to Account for Good Governance’, paper presented to the Workshop on New Modes of Governance in the Asia-Pacific: Transparency and Accountability, organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Australia, 3-4 December 2007.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2007) ‘Legitimising the ASEAN Community: Economic Integration and the Limits of Performance Legitimacy’, paper presented at the Conference on Pathways to Legitimacy: The Future of Global and Regional Governance, organised by the Centre for the Study of Globalization and Regionalization, University of Warwick, 17-19 September 2007
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S. (2005) ‘Regional Economic Surveillance and Financial Governance in East Asia: Knowledge, Interests and Policy Dialogue’, paper presented to the Conference on Regionalization and the Taming of Globalization, University of Warwick, UK, 26-28 October 2005.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2004) ‘Exploring Regionalism in Southeast Asia: Reproducing the Neoliberal Hegemony or Embedding the Regional Market?’, paper presented to the Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference, The Hague, Netherlands, 9-11 September 2004.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2004) ‘Regional Economic Governance in Southeast Asia: Normalising Business Actors, Sidelining Civil Society Groups?’ paper written for the 2004 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), Montreal, Canada, 17-20 March 2004.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2002) ‘Globalisation and Economic Regionalism in ASEAN: A Combined Economic Realist-Domestic Politics Interpretation’, paper presented at the 2002 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), New Orleans, USA, 24-27 March, 2002.
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  (2002) ‘The Political Economy of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA): An Attempt at Developmental Regionalism’, paper presented to the Symposium on Running on Empty? Politics, Markets and Southeast Asian Regionalism, Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 17-18 January, 2002. 
  • Nesadurai, Helen E.S.  and Stone, Diane (1999) ‘Networks, Second Track Diplomacy and Regional Cooperation: The Experience of Southeast Asian Think Tanks’, paper presented to the Inaugural Conference on Bridging Knowledge and Policy, Global Development Network, Bonn, Germany, 5-8 December, 1999.