Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Ralf Emmers

Key information

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy Co-Chair Department of Politics and International Studies Senior Lecturer in International Politics of East Asia SOAS Middle East Institute Member
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Wednesdays 10:00am - 12:00pm (noon)


Ralf Emmers is Senior Lecturer in International Politics of East Asia and Co-Chair of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD).

His research interests cover security studies, international institutions in the Indo-Pacific, and the security and international politics of Southeast Asia. He was previously Dean of the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and President’s Chair in International Relations, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Ralf completed his MSc and PhD in the International Relations Department of the London School of Economics (LSE). His authored books include Cooperative Security and the Balance of Power in ASEAN and the ARF (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), Geopolitics and Maritime Territorial Disputes in East Asia (Routledge, 2010), Resource Management and Contested Territories in East Asia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Security Strategies of Middle Powers in the Asia Pacific co-written with Sarah Teo (Melbourne University Press, 2018). He is also the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on Peaceful Change in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Ralf has contributed numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and chapters in edited volumes. His research has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sasakawa Foundation, and the European Union. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Griffith University and Warwick University.

Research interests

Ralf’s research focuses on regionalism and multilateralism in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). His work investigates the functions and relevance of ASEAN in Asia’s institutional security landscape.

This issue has direct implications for the future of Southeast Asian regionalism, the relevance of the ASEAN cooperative model to the wider region, and finally, for the further institutionalization of great power relations within these multilateral structures. His second cluster of research focuses on the geopolitics of maritime territorial disputes in East Asia with a particular interest in the East and South China Sea.

The quest for territoriality and natural resources as well as power competition all impact on the disputes and broader regional relations. Ralf’s work in this area have covered the rise of China and its implications for conflict management, the role of international institutions as well as the failure of joint development initiatives.


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