MA (Oxon), MPhil (Cantab), MPhil (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Political science

Evelyn Goh is an internationally-leading scholar of International Relations (IR) theory and practice. She has advanced knowledge about the history, politics, economics, security and international relations of East Asia, and has leveraged her regional expertise to challenge and change theories and directions in the broader IR and Security Studies disciplines. A scholar who combines multi-disciplinary empirical research with innovative theorizing, her work has contributed to the Social Sciences by: 

·   Re-shaping some of the most important theories and concepts in Political Science – security, international order, hegemony, hierarchy, power, and influence – using multi-disciplinary research on contemporary and historical Asia. 

·   Bridging theory and empirical research on the strategy, security, history, and international relations of the most dynamic world region, Asia; and in turn enriching the broader fields of IR, historical sociology, international security, and strategic policy practice.

·   Championing multiple means of research-based engagement, education, and co-creation with national and international policy communities in a crowded and vital field.

·   Enhancing the profile, networks, contributions of ECRs, women and ethnic minority scholars in these fields – nationally and internationally. 

·   Supporting the internationalisation of Australian social sciences, especially with regard to the Asian region but also in the US and Europe.

Goh’s research has made three distinct contributions:

First, treating Asia as subject rather than object of study. In the western-dominated fields of International Relations and Security Studies, Goh has been at the forefront of creating theories and concepts to describe and explain Asian motivations, choices, and dynamics on their own terms, rather than imposing pre-existing assumptions or theories based largely on western empirics. Goh is best known for her original work on Southeast Asian states’ “hedging” strategies towards great powers, which overturned the conventional wisdom that states should only have the dichotomous choices of either ‘balancing’ against or ‘bandwagoning’ with rising powers.

Second, Goh’s research has shown the importance of scholarship led by empirical observations. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, her work on environmental governance and resource development in the trans-boundary Mekong river basin was part of the important drive within Asian academia to expand Security Studies to include ‘non-traditional’ security (NTS) problems that are of paramount concern in the region. Her current research – supported by ARC Discovery Project and DFAT grants – advances a new framework for investigating the economic-security nexus in Chinese infrastructure investment in Southeast Asia, linking national ideas of development and domestic political coalitions to explain foreign investment outcomes.

Third, Goh’s innovative conceptualisation of East Asian cases has helped strengthen the disciplines of IR and Security Studies more broadly. Her 2013 book, The Struggle for Order, advanced ‘international society’ theorizing in IR. Goh used original research on East Asia to develop the new concept of “order transition” to replace the prevalent IR idea of “power transition”, a new framework for how to analyse transitions of order, and a new model of hierarchical international relations. Her 2020 book Rethinking Sino-Japanese Alienation contributes to a ‘global’ IR discipline that accounts for different parts of the world and shared periods in world history.

Shedden Professor of Strategic Policy Studies, The Australian National University

Fellow of the British Academy

Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs

1. Evelyn Goh (2019) ‘Contesting Hegemonic Order: China in East Asia’, Security Studies 28:3, pp. 614-644

2. Rosemary Foot and Evelyn Goh (2019) ‘The International Relations of East Asia: A New Research Prospectus', International Studies Review 21:3, pp. 398-423

3. Evelyn Goh (2020) 'The Asia-Pacific's "Age of Uncertainty": Great Power Competition, Globalisation, and the Economic-Security Nexus,' RSIS Working Paper No. 330

4. Barry Buzan and Evelyn Goh (2020) Re-thinking Sino-Japanese Alienation: History Problems and Historical Opportunities, Oxford: Oxford University Press

5. Jochen Prantl and Evelyn Goh (2022) ‘Rethinking Strategy and Statecraft for the 21st Century: A Case for Strategic Diplomacy,’ International Affairs 98:2, pp. 443-469