Southeast Asian Studies section


Research in Southeast Asia at the University of Passau is grounded in the social sciences and focuses on post-colonial social transformation processes.To this end, both research and teaching analyse the results of empirical field studies in relation to general ideas and approaches in the field of social sciences. The aim is to identify commonalities and differences among countries and sub-regions through theoretically-grounded comparative case studies.

Research topics

Of particular interest are the tensions and dynamics generated by the modernization process underway in Southeast Asia. Specific topics include the emergence of new institutions and stakeholder groups, competition over access to resources, and the interactions between local and global-scale processes that give rise to these phenomena. To ensure that close links are maintained between teaching and research activities, key areas of research correspond to specialist modules taught in the Master’s programs:

  • Conflict, catastrophe and nation building
  • Urban development
  • Development policy and process
  • Culture, religion and gender

Self-organized work groups for the generation of new knowledge are part of our epistemological culture. Academic staff members and doctoral and Master’s students are encouraged to undertake research in related topics, to facilitate a fruitful exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Most research projects are financed by third parties, including the German Research Foundation (DFG), Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and through doctoral research grants from organizations such as the Foundation of German Economics (SDW). More information can be found in the current Research Report 2013.

Ongoing Projects

What (digital) spaces do we live in?

The planned Cluster 'Cyber<>Spaces: Discourse, Co-Creation, and Institutions in the Age of Digitalization' will establish a unique forum for interdisciplinary basic research on one of the most pressing issues of our time: the societal implications of digitalization.


Governance, identities and future along categories of difference in the coal mining sector in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

FuturEN analyses constellations of power, constitutions of identity and conceptions about the future of coal mining in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, along the nexus of ethnicity, gender and class. The extraction of natural resources, and particularly of coal, forms a crucial source of export income for Indonesia.


IndORGANIC: Passau Researchers prepare real Green Transformation Indonesia

Turning Indonesia organic: Can the agriculture of the world’s largest island country be transformed into a bioeconomy? A research team at the University of Passau explores the potential of organic farming in Indonesia - the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF) supports the project with a budget of EUR 882.


The politics of history and memory in Vietnam

Researchers from the University of Passau are engaged in a joint three-year research project with Vietnam National University Hanoi to determine the extent to which the country's political reforms have had an impact on the Vietnamese historical narrative.


Completed Projects

BioDIVA - Towards a Gender-Equitable and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity

Agricultural sociologist Martina Padmanabhan coordinates transdisciplinary German and Indian researchers, who generate knowledge to sustain agrobiodiversity in South India. Gender equality plays a major role.


DLLM - Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts

The Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts makes images of over 12,000 texts from throughout Laos easily accessible for study. Collaborating institutions are the National Library of Laos, the University of Passau, and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz.


URBANSELF: Urban Self-Organisation and Public Life in Europe, India and China

The objective of URBANSELF is to bring together and integrate competences on urban processes in Europe, India and China with a specific focus on urban self-organisation and how this can contribute to the development and enhancement of public dialogue within and between the three participating areas.


Comparative Study of Broadcasting Media Organisation and Contents Regulation in Southeast Asia

The objective of the study was to provide policy guidelines for enhanced media-integration and coordination within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The survey was based on the analysis of organisational isomorphy resulting from institutional interactions between media stations within ASEAN and content analysis based on case studies in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia.


Tim Kaiser (2014)
Dynamic actors and shifting modernity in Vinh City Vietnam
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Prof. Dr. Sandra Kurfürst
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Mario Wilhelm (2012)
Approaching Disaster Vulnerability in a Megacity: Community Resilience to Flooding in two Kampungs in Jakarta
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Prof. Dr. Tilman Schiel
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Sandra Kurfürst (2011):
Redefining public space in Hanoi: Places, practices and meaning
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Prof. Dr. Tilman Schiel, PD Dr. Martin Großheim
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Sascha Helbardt (2011):
Deciphering Southern Thailand's violence: Organization and insurgent practices of BRN-Coordinate
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Hellmann-Rajanayagam

Stefanie Wehner (2011):
Transformation of rural space from an institutional perspective - Socio-economic development and land use change in Xishuangbanna Southwest China
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, PD Dr. Sylvia Herrmann
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Martin Hintz (2010):
Micro-Impact: Deconstruction the complex impact process of a simple microinsurance product in Indonesia
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, Prof. Dr. Tilman Schiel
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Ruth Tigges (2009):
Professionals and governance: Juggling actors in the reform of the Cambodian administration
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Prof. Dr. Tilman Schiel, Prof. Dr. Dieter Neubert
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Patcharin Nawichai (2008):
Ethnic Group Livelihood Strategies and State Integration: Moken and the Hill People in Negotiation with the State
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff
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Mohammad Ataur Rahmann (2007):
Capabilities and Social Networks: Poverty and Development Analysis in Selected Areas in Bangladesh
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff

Nguyen Quang Hung (2003):
Katholizismus in Vietnam von 1954-1975
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben
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Pham Quang Minh (2002):
Die Entwicklung der Argrarpolitik in Vietnam von der Landreform der 50er Jahre bis zur Reformpolitik der 80er Jahre in Theorie und Praxis
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben
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Pham Hong Tung (2002):
Die Politisierung der Massen in Vietnam, 1925-1939
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben
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I Ketut Ardhana (2000):
Nusa Tenggara (Südost-Indonesien) nach Einrichtung der Kolonialherrschaft, 1915-1950
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm

Eva-Maria Schwinghammer (1996)
Neue Wirtschaftskonzepte in Indonesien und Malaysia. Voraussetzungen und Auswirkungen im Vergleich
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Harald Hundius

Martin Großheim (1996):
Kontinuität und Wandel in nordvietnamesischen Dorfgemeinschaften vom Beginn der Kolonialzeit bis zum Ende der Vietnam-Kriege
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Harald Hundius, Prof. Dr. Lulei

Volker Schult (1990):
Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft der Insel Mindoro im 20. Jahrhundert. Anpassungen und Verzögerungen im Entwicklungsprozess einer philippinischen Insel
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Dahm, Prof. Dr. Steinbach