New Mandala was established in June 2006 by Professor Andrew Walker and Dr Nicholas Farrelly. Hosted by the Australian National University’s (ANU) Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, it provides anecdote, analysis and new perspectives on mainland Southeast Asia. Since its inception the site has devoted its attention to the politics and societies of this region, and especially Thailand and Myanmar. Increasingly its focus stretches to Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. New Mandala‘s country editors are Thorn Pitidol (Thailand), Dr Greg Lopez (Malaysia and Singapore), Geoffrey Cain (Vietnam and Cambodia) and Dr Simon Creak (Laos).

In collaboration with the Thailand-Laos-Cambodia Group of the Association of Asian Studies we also run a successful book review series.

In addition to the material posted by Andrew and Nicholas, and the country editors, New Mandala hosts regular guest contributions from a network of regional experts who add their own voices to the website’s mix. The site is also strengthened by the dozens of comments it receives each day. New Mandala is proud of its ongoing contributions to scholarly and popular debates, and of its pioneering role in the digitisation of Southeast Asian studies.

Beyond their online work, the founders of New Mandala, Andrew and Nicholas, have been collaborating since 2001. They are both specialists on mainland Southeast Asia in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU. They have extensive field experience in Thailand and in neighbouring countries. Andrew and Nicholas speak and read Thai, and also have wide exposure to other regional languages.

In their own research Andrew and Nicholas are preoccupied by local processes of state formation.

Andrew’s current work focuses on village-level political life and economic transformation in a lowland area of northern Thailand. His other research interests include environmental politics, regional trade and village ritual. Andrew previously taught on the Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development program at the ANU. He is an international advisory committee member for the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies.

Nicholas has spent much of the past decade considering the implications of local politics for ceasefires in northern Myanmar. He maintains a strong interest in Thai affairs and has undertaken regular research in Thailand, India and China. In the past, Nicholas has taught the core courses for the Masters of Asia-Pacific Studies program and in January-February 2009 convened a month-long ANU field course titled “Southeast Asian Frontiers”. Much of his current research focuses on policing and military matters across the region. Until July 2013 he convened the ANU undergraduate teaching program in Peace, Conflict and War Studies. He currently holds an Australian Research Council fellowship and is pursuing research on contemporary Myanmar politics.

Andrew and Nicholas are regularly cited in the Australian and international media, and content from New Mandala has been translated into Thai and other languages. They have contributed opinion pieces to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times, and a number of other forums.

Andrew and Nicholas also spend some time reflecting on the development of academic blogging. They have written about this issue in the past (here and here) and continue to contribute to debates about the role of interactive online discussion in scholarly work.


If you have a complaint about material on New Mandala you should, in the first instance, write to Dr Nicholas Farrelly ( In most cases materials brought to the editor’s attention in this way can be quickly dealt with.