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Donald Emmerson

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Emeritus

At Stanford, in addition to his work for SEAF and his affiliations with CDDRL and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Donald Emmerson has taught courses on Southeast Asia in the International Relations and International Policy Studies Programs, in the Department of Political Science, and for the Bing Overseas Studies Program. He is also active as an analyst of current policy issues involving Asia. In 2010 the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodow Wilson International Center for Scholars awarded him a two-year Research Associateship given to “top scholars from across the United States” who “have successfully bridged the gap between the academy and policy.”

Emmerson’s policy concerns run from specific issues such as sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea to broad questions involving China-Southeast Asia relations, the American “rebalance” toward Asia, and the future of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Still more abstract are his interests in the contrasting epistemologies of political science and area study regarding Southeast Asia and in the paradigmatic implications of uncertainty in world affairs. His keynote speech to the 2011 Australian Political Studies Association’s convention, for example, dealt with “Crisis, Uncertainty, and Democracy: Black Swans, Fat Tails, and the Futures of Political Science.”

Emmerson’s recent publications include: “Facts, Minds, and Formats: Scholarship and Political Change in Indonesia” in Indonesian Studies: The State of the Field (2013); “Is Indonesia Rising? It Depends” in Indonesia Rising (2012); “Southeast Asia: Minding the Gap between Democracy and Governance,” Journal of Democracy (April 2012); “The Problem and Promise of Focality in World Affairs,” Strategic Review (August 2011); An American Place at an Asian Table? Regionalism and Its Reasons (2011); Asian Regionalism and US Policy: The Case for Creative Adaptation (2010); “The Useful Diversity of ‘Islamism’” and “Islamism: Pros, Cons, and Contexts” in Islamism: Conflicting Perspectives on Political Islam (2009); and “Crisis and Consensus: America and ASEAN in a New Global Context” in Refreshing U.S.-Thai Relations (2009). His analyses of current events since 2009 have been carried by Asia Times Online and the East Asia Forum among other outlets.

Earlier writings include Hard Choices: Security, Democracy, and Regionalism in Southeast Asia (edited, 2008); “ASEAN’s ‘Black Swans,’” Journal of Democracy (July 2008); “Southeast Asia in Political Science: Terms of Enlistment,” in Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis (2008); “Challenging ASEAN: A ‘Topological’ View,” Contemporary Southeast Asia (December 2007); “From State to Society? Democracy and Regionalism in Southeast Asia,” in The Inclusive Regionalist (2007); “One Nation under God? History, Faith, and Identity in Indonesia,” in Religion and Religiosity in the Philippines and Indonesia: Essays on State, Society, and Public Creeds (2006); “Shocks of Recognition: Leifer, Realism, and Regionalism in Southeast Asia,” in Order and Security in Southeast Asia: Essays in Memory of Michael Leifer (2006); and “Garuda and Eagle: Do Birds of A (Democratic) Feather Fly Together?” Indonesian Quarterly (2006). Other publications, authored or edited, span some 20 books and monographs and more than 200 articles, chapters, and shorter pieces.
Academic Appointments: 
Administrative Appointments: 
Affiliated Faculty, Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (2007 - Present)
Affiliated Scholar, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies (2005 - Present)
Director, Southeast Asia Forum (1999 - Present)
Research & Scholarship
"The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century", Stanford University
"The Deer and the Dragon: Southeast Asia and China in the 21st Century"

Explores the interactions between Southeast Asian states and the People's Republic of China, including over the South China Sea.



Courses Taught: 
Academic Year: 
Independent Study Courses: 
Graduate Directed Reading
EASTASN 300 (Win)
KISHORE'S WORLD JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY Emmerson, D. K. 2013; 24 (3): 166-174
ASEAN's "black swans" JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY Emmerson, D. K. 2008; 19 (3): 70-84
Kenneth Ray Hoover PS-POLITICAL SCIENCE & POLITICS Harbeson, J. W., Emmerson, D. K. 2008; 41 (2): 408-408
What do the blind-sided see? Reapproaching regionalism in Southeast Asia PACIFIC REVIEW Emmerson, D. K. 2005; 18 (1): 1-21
One Nation Under God? History, Faith, and Identity in Indonesia Religion and Religiosity in the Philippines and Indonesia: Essays on State, Society, and Public Creeds Emmerson , D. K. Brooking Institution Press/SAIS, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. 2005
Security, Community, and Democracy in Southeast Asia: Analyzing ASEAN Japanese Journal of Political Science Emmerson , D. K. 2005; 6 (2): 165-85
What is Indonesia? Indonesia: The Great Transition Emmerson, D. K. Rowman & Littlefield. 2005
Clashing Inspirations: Presumptive Universals and the Cult of Local Knowledge Asia Pacific: Local Knowledge versus Western Theory Emmerson , D. K. 2004
Indonesia's Approaching Elections: A Year of Voting Dangerously? Journal of Democracy Emmerson , D. K. 2004; 15 (1)
United States Policy for the Changing Realities of East Asia: Toward a New Consensus, A Emmerson , D. K. Shorenstein APARC. 1996
Region and Recalcitrance: Rethinking Democracy Through Southeast Asia Emmerson , D. K. Shorenstein APARC. 1995