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Dr Su Lin LewisBA(Comb. Hons), MA(Lond.), PhD(Cantab.)

Senior Lecturer in Modern Global History

Su Lin Lewis

Dr Su Lin LewisBA(Comb. Hons), MA(Lond.), PhD(Cantab.)

Senior Lecturer in Modern Global History

Member of

Research interests

Office: 1.2, 26/27 St. Michael's Park

Phone: +44 (0)117 928 7912


Twitter: @sulinlewis

Consultation hours: Mondays 2-3 and Wednesdays 11-12

I specialise in global and transnational history in the twentieth century, with a thematic focus on urban history, civil society, gender, cosmopolitanism, internationalism, decolonisation, and migration, from the late colonial era to the Cold War. My geographical focus is mainly Southeast Asia (especially Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), along with an ever-increasing interest in port-cities of the Indian Ocean and Pacific Rim. 

My first monograph, Cities in Motion: urban life and cosmopolitanism in Southeast Asia 1920-1940 (2016) won the Urban History Association Prize for Best Book (Non-North America, 2015-2016). It sought to move away from nation-based histories of Southeast Asia to explore the role of the city, and especially the modern woman, through intersecting themes of urban space, cross-cultural sociability, education, the press, and popular culture in late colonial Penang, Rangoon, and Bangkok.

I have recently led a collaborative research network, funded by the AHRC, on cultural internationalism and the transnational movements of activists (including trade unions and women's groups), literati, and artists in the 1950s across Asia and Africa. See  My contribution focuses on the transnational networks that emerged out of the Asian Socialist Conference. I am also interested in the role of African-Americans in Cold War Asia; I have just completed a paper on A. Philip Randolph's journey to early Cold War Burma and Japan.  My broader research interests involve the international dimensions behind the growth of civil society in Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


Before arriving at Bristol in September 2014, I was Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham from 2013-2014. I was a Mellon post-doctoral fellow in the Department of South and Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley between 2011 and 2013. In summer 2011, I participated in the month-long Sixth International Seminar on Decolonization hosted by the National History Center in Washington D.C. I was a Past and Present post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in London in 2010/11.

I have also worked on and managed community-driven development projects for the World Bank and International Organization for Migration in Indonesia, where I developed an interest in the history of local civil society organizations and grassroots social movements in Southeast Asia. 

Research Supervision

I would be interested in supervising students who wish to work on any topic relating to my research interests.  I also welcome proposals relating to global/transnational connections in Asia and the political, social, intellectual, and cultural history of Southeast Asia between 1880 and the present.  I am currently co-supervising, with Robert Bickers, PhD students working on: the history of Britishness and Asian communities in colonial Hong Kong; Macanese communities in Hong Kong; emergence of the suit in post-war Hong Kong; Chinese students in 1920s Paris, and post-war rehabilitation and humanitarianism in China. I am also the lead supervisor, with Robert Skinner, of a thesis examining Indonesian participation in Afro-Asian networks of solidarity.


I currently offer the following undergraduate units:

Modern Girls and New Women (second-year Lecture Response Unit)

Global Cities (third-year Lecture Response Unit)

Colonial Radicals (first-year Special Topic)

After Empire (second-year Special Field)

I also contribute lectures to the Introduction to the British Empire (first year lecture outline unit) and Rethinking History (second-year lecture outline unit) 


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • Urban Research Cluster
  • Centre for Black Humanities
  • Centre for Environmental Humanities

View research connections

Postal address:
13-15 Woodland Road
United Kingdom