Dr. Chua will also take on the role of Director of the Tunku Abdul Rahman FundLouis Ashworth/VARSITY

St. Catharine’s College has announced the establishment of the first lectureship in Malay World studies.

The College has appointed Dr. Liana Chua as the Tunku Abdul Rahman University lecturer, based at the department of Social Anthropology. The position is being completely funded by the College.

Dr Chua will be formally admitted to the College as a Fellow in the next academic year, and will also take on the role of Director of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Fund- a fund which aims to promote the humanities and social sciences in Malaysia.

Master of St Catharine’s, Professor Sir Mark Welland, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Dr Liana Chua as the first Tunku Abdul Rahman University Lecturer and a St Catharine’s Fellow.”

“Our endowment of this important Lectureship demonstrates our long-term commitment to nurturing excellence in Malay World Studies. We are incredibly fortunate that the size of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Fund has grown to match our ambitions, thanks to wise investment.”

Dr Chua said, “I am honoured to have the support of St Catharine’s as the inaugural Tunku Abdul Rahman University Lecturer. I look forward to fostering expansive, inclusive interdisciplinary conversations in Malay World Studies, and to collaborating with students and colleagues across the Malay World.”

‘Malay World’ studies includes the study of the history, culture, politics and literature of contemporary Malaysia, as well as Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei, with “substantial and deep historical connections” to Thailand, Timor, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.

St Catharine’s Director of Studies in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Professor Hans van de Ven, stated: “I look forward to welcoming Dr Chua to the Fellowship at St Catharine’s and have absolutely no doubt that her considerable expertise and enthusiasm will help to develop Malay World Studies at the College, across the wider University and beyond. She will be well placed to encourage our students and provide much-needed continuity in this exciting field of research.”


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Dr Chua is a social anthropologist who has carried out research with rural Bidayuh communities in Sarawak, East Malaysia, since 2003. She is currently exploring the global nexus of orangutan conservation through her research, studying the effects of international conservation interventions upon Borneo and Sumatra on national and socio-cultural levels.

Currently a Reader in Anthropology at Brunel University London, Dr Chua has a BA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of Oxford, and an MPhil and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Chua was a Junior Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College from 2007-2011.

The head of the Department of Social Anthropology, Professor James Laidlaw, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Liana Chua back to the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge. Her regional expertise fills an important gap in our global coverage, and her interests in the anthropology of religion, in human-animal relations, the anthropology of science, and the environment complement existing strengths in the Department extremely well.

“It is a pleasure to welcome back such a creative and energetic colleague.”