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Faculty & Research

Deputy Director and Head of Research of the Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS), Head of Centre for Multilateralism Studies
Associate Professor
Dr. Tan See Seng


  • B.A., (1st Class Hons) Manitoba
  • M.A., Manitoba
  • Ph.D., Arizona State

Research Interests

  • Critical social thought
  • International relations theory
  • Multilateralism and regionalism
  • Conflict management
  • Politics and security of Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific

Professional Activities

  • Visiting Research Associate, International Institute for Strategic Studies (Asia), 2008
  • Member, Singapore committee of Council for Security Cooperation in Asia-Pacific (CSCAP), 2000-present
  • Member, European Association for South East Asian Studies (EuroSEAS), 2010-present
  • Research Fellow, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, 1996-1997
  • Article reviewer ( Cambridge Review of International Affairs , Contemporary Southeast Asia , International Studies Quarterly, International Theory )

Selected Publications

1. Books

  • Regionalism in Asia , Routledge, 2009. (Editor and Contributor)
    • Vol. I: International Relations Theory and ASEAN
    • Vol. II: ASEAN and Regional Security of Southeast Asia
    • Vol. III: Regional Order and Architecture in Asia
    • Vol. IV: Non-official Diplomacy and Activism in Asia
  • Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order . National University of Singapore Press, 2008. (Co-Editor with Amitav Acharya)
  • The Role of Knowledge Communities in Constructing Asia-Pacific Security: How Thought and Talk Make War and Peace . Edwin Mellen, 2007. (Author)
  • Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation: National Interests and Regional Order . M.E. Sharpe, 2004. (Co-Editor with Amitav Acharya)
  • After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia , World Scientific, 2003. (Co-Editor with Kumar Ramakrishna, and Contributor)

2. Monographs

  • The East Asia Summit and the Regional Security Architecture . No. 3-2010 (202), Maryland Series in Contemporary Asian Studies. College Park, MD: University of Maryland, 2011. (Co-Author with Ralf Emmers and Joseph Chinyong Liow)
  • From Boots to Brogues: The Rise of Defence Diplomacy in Southeast Asia , RSIS, forthcoming. (Co-Editor with Bhubhindar Singh)
  • Collaboration under Anarchy: Functional Regionalism and the Security of East Asia . No. 15, RSIS, 2009. (Editor)
  • Do Institutions Matter? Regional Institutions and Regionalism in East Asia . No. 13, RSIS, 2008. (Editor)
  • People’s ASEAN and Governments’ ASEAN . No. 11, RSIS, 2007. (Co-Editor with Hiro Katsumata)
  • A New Agenda for the ASEAN Regional Forum . No. 4, RSIS, 2002. (Lead Author et al)

3. Journal Articles (from most recent)

  • ‘America the Indispensable: Singapore’s View of the United States’ Engagement in the Asia-Pacific’. Asian Affairs: An American Review. Accepted for publication
  • ‘Providers Not Protectors: Institutionalizing Responsible Sovereignty in Southeast Asia’. Asian Security, Vol. 7, No. 1, November 2011, forthcoming
  • ‘The ASEAN Regional Forum and Preventive Diplomacy: Built to Fail?’ Asian Security, Vol. 7, No. 1, March 2011, pp. 44–60. (With Ralf Emmers)
  • ‘Is Asia-Pacific Regionalism Outgrowing ASEAN?’ RUSI Journal, Vol. 156, No. 1, 2011, pp. 60–64
  • ‘Teaching International Relations in Singapore 1956–2008: From Supporting Development to Global City Aspirations?’ International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2009, pp. 19–54. (With Alan Chong)
  • ‘Governing Singapore’s Security Sector: Problem, Prospect and Paradox’. Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2008, pp. 241–263. (With Alvin Chew)
  • ‘Whither Societas Civilis in the Asia-Pacific after 11 September: Ideological Absolutism and Ethics in an Age of Terror’. Australian Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 61, No. 2, 2007, pp. 232–246
  • ‘Betwixt Balance and Community: America, ASEAN, and the Security of Southeast Asia’. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2006, pp. 37–59. (With Amitav Acharya)
  • ‘Rescuing Constructivism from the Constructivists: A Critical Reading of Constructivist Interventions in Southeast Asian Security’. The Pacific Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2006, pp. 239–260
  • ‘NGOs in Conflict Management in Southeast Asia’. International Peacekeeping, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2005, pp. 41–55
  • ‘Nonofficial Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: Civil Society or ‘Civil Service’?’ Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2005, pp. 370–387
  • ‘Untying Leifer’s Discourse on Order and Power’. The Pacific Review, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2005, pp. 71–93
  • ‘Interstate and Intrastate Dynamics in Southeast Asia’s War on Terror’. The SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2004, pp. 91–105. (With Kumar Ramakrishna)
  • ‘Review of Local Cultures and the ‘New Asia’: The State, Culture, and Capitalism in Southeast Asia. Ed. C.J.W.-L. Wee, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies’. Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 62, No. 2, 2003
  • ‘Multilateralism Matters in the Asia Pacific: Presenting a New Agenda for the ASEAN Regional Forum’. Pointer: Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2002, pp. 44–61. (With Ralf Emmers and Mely Caballero-Anthony)
  • ‘The Keystone of World Order’. The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2001, pp. 95–103. (With Chong Guan Kwa)

4. Book Chapters

  • ‘Southeast Asia: Theory and Praxis in International Relations’. In International Relations Scholarship Around the World. Eds. Arlene B. Tickner and Olé Wæver. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2009
  • ‘The Perils and Prospects of Dragon Riding: Reassurance and ‘Costly Signals’ in China-ASEAN Relations’. In Rising China: Power and Reassurance. Ed. Ron Huisken. Canberra: Australian National University E-Press, 2009
  • ‘ASEAN: The Road Not Taken’. In The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia. Ed. Muthiah Alagappa. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008
  • ‘Disjointed Perspectives: Interpreting Complexity in Southeast Asian Perceptions on America’. In From Superpower to Besieged Global Power. Eds. Edward Kolodziej and Roger Kanet. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2008. (With Joseph Chinyong Liow)
  • ‘Introduction: The Normative Relevance of the Bandung Conference for Contemporary Asian and International Order’. In Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order. Eds. See Seng Tan and Amitav Acharya. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2008. (With Amitav Acharya)
  • ‘Whither Sovereignty in Southeast Asia Today?’ In Re-envisioning Sovereignty: The End of Westphalia? Eds. Trudy Jacobsen, Charles Sampford and Ramesh Thakur. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008
  • ‘Deconstructing the Discourse on Epistemic Agency: A Singaporean Tale of Two ‘Essentialisms’’. In Critical Security in the Asia-Pacific. Eds. Anthony Burke and Matt McDonald. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007
  • ‘Lévinas and the Question of Civilizational Amity after September 11’. In Disrupting Violence: Religion and Conflict in South and Southeast Asia. Eds. Linell E. Cady and Sheldon W. Simon. London and New York: Routledge, 2006
  • ‘Untying Leifer’s Discourse on Order and Power’. In Order and Security in Southeast Asia: Essays in Memory of Michael Leifer. Eds. Joseph C.Y. Liow and Ralf Emmers. London: Routledge, 2006
  • ‘Introduction’. In Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation: National Interests and Regional Order. Eds. See Seng Tan and Amitav Acharya. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2004. (With Amitav Acharya)
  • ‘Enemy of Their Making? US Security Discourse on the September 11 Terror Problematique’. In After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia. Eds. Kumar Ramakrishna and See Seng Tan. Singapore: World Scientific, 2003
  • ‘Introduction: Is Southeast Asia a ‘Terrorist Haven’?’ In After Bali: The Threat of Terrorism in Southeast Asia. Eds. Kumar Ramakrishna and See Seng Tan. Singapore: World Scientific, 2003. (With Kumar Ramakrishna)
  • ‘The Keystone of World Order’. In What Does the World Want from America? International Perspectives on US Foreign Policy . Ed. Alexander T.J. Lennon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. (With Kwa Chong Guan)
  • ‘Rescuing Realism from the Realists: A Theoretical Note on East Asian Security’. In The Many Faces of Asian Security. Ed. Sheldon W. Simon. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001. (With Ralph A. Cossa)



Management | Faculty & Research | Corporate & Support



Dr. Tan See Seng

Office: S4 B4c - 57
Phone: 6790 4277

Teaching/Research Programme

IR 6001 The Study of International Relations

IR 6003 Critical Security Studies
S6007 (Discourse and Textual Analysis component)

Instructor for various government-run command-and-staff courses (SAFTI, SPC, Home Team, SCDF, etc)



Deputy Director, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) (2011-present)

Head, Centre for Multilateralism Studies (2012-present)

Head of Research, IDSS (2009-2011)

Deputy Head of Graduate Studies (2005-07)

Coordinator for Executive Education (2007-09)

Coordinator for Multilateralism and Regionalism Programme (2002-09; 2011-2012)

Convenor of The Sentosa Roundtable for Asian Security (2006-2009)

Media expertise

Regional cooperation and institutionalism in Asia-Pacific, East Asia and Southeast Asia; US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific; Singapore foreign and security policy; Southeast Asian international relations