Academic Profile : Faculty

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Duncan McCargo
Professor, School of Social Sciences
President's Chair in Global Affairs
External Links
Duncan McCargo is President's Chair in Global Affairs at NTU, where he also holds a courtesy appointment as Professor of English.

He works mainly on the comparative politics of Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, on which he has published widely. Duncan has lived and worked in six countries other than his native Britain. He has three degrees from the University of London: after a BA in English (First Class Honours, Royal Holloway), he gained an MA in Southeast Asian studies and a PhD in Politics, both at SOAS.

Duncan joined NTU from the University of Copenhagen, where he served as Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science from 2019 to 2023. Duncan previously held professorial appointments at the University of Leeds and Columbia University. At Leeds, he twice headed the School of Politics and International Studies, and co-supervised 30 PhD students to successful completion. At Columbia, he co-founded the New York Southeast Asia Network.

Duncan has held residential fellowships at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center; and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has also held a four year ESRC fellowship, and two fellowships from the Leverhulme Trust.

His dozen books include the best-selling The Thaksinization of Thailand (co-authored, NIAS Press 2005), and the award-winning Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (Cornell 2008); and more recently Fighting for Virtue: Politics and Justice in Thailand (Cornell 2019) and Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party (co-authored, NIAS Press 2020). Duncan has also written on politics and the media in Asia more broadly, as well as a standard introductory textbook, Contemporary Japan (3rd edition 2013).

Duncan podcasts on the New Books Network, where he founded the Nordic Asia Podcast and is a host on the Southeast Asian Studies and Literature channels. His other interests include photography and nineteenth century literature, and he is a patron of the Bronte Birthplace. In April 2024 he gave a keynote lecture at NTU about his collection of Thai stamps.
Comparative politics of Southeast Asia, especially Thailand; politics and the media; insurgencies and low-intensity conflicts; political protests; justice and politics; electoral politics
  • Generation Thailand: How Generational Contestation Frames Thai Politics
George Smith Prize for top BA student in English, University of London, 1986.

Inaugural Bernard Schwartz Book Prize from Asia Society, 2009, for Tearing Apart the Land.

Honorary Doctorate in Thai Studies from Mahasarakham University, 2010.

President's Chair, NTU, 2024
Fellowships & Other Recognition
Visitor, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 2015-16.

President (elected), European Association for Southeast Asian Studies, 2013-17.

Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, 2011-14

Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), 2010-present.

Resident at Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, 2010

Visiting Senior Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, NUS, 2006-07.

Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, Cambodia, 2004-05

Chair, Association of Southeast Asian Studies of the UK (ASEASUK), 2002-04.

ESRC Research Fellow, 1994-1999
Courses Taught
HA2003 Politics and Government of Southeast Asia
HA4068 Politics in Thailand