1991 …2020

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Personal profile


Helen E.S. Nesadurai is Professor of International Political Economy at Monash University Malaysia in the School of Arts and Social Sciences. Originally trained in biochemistry, she holds an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. She spent fifteen years in policy research with the Malaysian think-tank, the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, before moving to academia, first to what is now the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and then to Monash University Malaysia in 2006. Her research is located at the intersection of International Relations (IR) and International Political Economy (IPE), spanning the study of both regional and transnational governance architectures and mechanisms. 

Professor Nesadurai served two terms for a total of eight years on 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. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Better Governance and Policy research priority area of Monash University and as senior scholar of the Graduate Research and Development Network on Asian Security (GRADNAS) at the Australian National University. She is a member of the editorial boards of various academic journals and publishers, and has served as Chief Editor (with Jeffrey Wilson) of the journal Contemporary Politics. She has consulted for the ASEAN Secretariat and the Asian Development Bank.

Research interests

Helen Nesadurai’s research interests cover two broad themes: the first on regional integration, governance, and institutional architectures in Southeast Asia/ASEAN and the Asia Pacific and the second researching transnational governance as a new mode of authority in world politics. Her work on regional integration and governance broke new ground through her theorisation of developmental regionalism as an outcome of domestic political and political economy dynamics mediating the external forces driving both globalisation and regionalism. Her more recent work moves beyond state-based institutions to explore non-state  modes of governance and authority operating in transnational spaces in world politics. Using cases of primary commodity governance and private sustainable palm oil standards, she examined how transnational modes of governance drive normative change and catalyse developmental interventions by private actors taking on public roles. A Monash-Warwick Alliance grant saw her leading, with Professor Shaun Breslin of Warwick University, a team of scholars from both Monash and Warwick universities to explore the varied architecture, drivers and progressive potential of transnational governance initiated by non-state actors across five sectors of importance to the political economy of Southeast Asia. This work was published in a special issue titled Who Governs and How? Non-state Actors and Transnational Governance in Southeast Asia in Journal of Contemporary Asia (2018, co-edited with Shaun Breslin) and reissued as an edited book in 2020. 



Monash teaching commitment

Helen Nesadurai’s teaching expertise covers International Political Economy, International Relations, Development and Global Governance. She teaches into the Global Studies major at Monash University Malaysia, serving as Coordinator of the major and as Unit Coordinator and Chief Examiner of the following Global Studies units:

  • International Relations (Level 3)
  • Transformation from Above: Globalisation and the State (Level 1)
  • Readings in Social, Political and Cultural Theory (Honours, Level 4)

Previously, she served as Unit Coordinator and Chief Examiner for:  

  • Governing the Global Economy: Stability, Efficiency, Justice (Level 3)
  • Politics of Development (Levels 2/3)
  • Contemporary Worlds 1 (Level 1)
  • Introduction to World Politics and History (Level 1)

She led the course review of the Bachelor of Communication undergraduate degree programme in 2011/2012 and the PhD graduate research programme (2015/2016), which led to their re-accreditation by the University and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). 

Supervision interests

Potential areas of supervision include the study of the politics and political economy of development, regionalism, and international and transnational governance. Areas of focus include Southeast Asia, East Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

University Service

Helen Nesadurai has served Monash University Malaysia in various positions:

  • Head of School, School of Arts and Social Sciences (2018-2020)
  • Deputy Head of School (Research), School of Arts and Social Sciences (2016-2017)
  • Deputy Head of School (Education), School of Arts and Social Sciences (2011-2013)

Education/Academic qualification

Higher Education, Graduate Certificate, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 14 Apr 2011

Politics and International Studies, PhD, University of Warwick

Award Date: 11 Jul 2002

Economics for Development, MSc, University of Oxford

Award Date: 17 Jul 1993

Biochemistry, MSc, Universiti Malaya (University of Malaya)

Award Date: 10 Aug 1985

Biochemistry, BSc Hons, Universiti Malaya (University of Malaya)

Award Date: 19 Jun 1982

External positions

Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University

2 Jan 200231 Jan 2005

Senior Analyst, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia

1 Sep 198430 Sep 1998

Research area keywords

  • Regional Institutions
  • International Relations
  • International Political Economy
  • Globalisation
  • Transnational governance
  • International Politics of Southeast Asia


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