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Interdisciplinary Studies Program  



Surain Subramaniam, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of International & Asian Studies

143 Karpen Hall 
828. 232. 2409 (office) 
828. 215. 8817 (cell)


Surain Subramaniam earned his interdisciplinary BA in International Studies & Political Economy from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and his MA and PhD in International Studies from the University of South Carolina. He has taught at UNC Asheville since 2001. Subramaniam teaches interdisciplinary courses in International Studies and Asian Studies. He has also taught courses in the Humanities, Honors, and Master of Liberal Arts programs, as well as in the Integrative Liberal Arts curriculum.  His research interests are in the areas of democratization in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia and Singapore; challenges to liberal democratic governance from rising non-Western societies; and the effects of globalization on Asia. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award in the Social Sciences in 2005, and the University Distinguished Service Award in 2012.


  • Ph.D. International Studies, University of South Carolina
  • M.A. International Studies, University of South Carolina
  • B.A. Political Economy & International Studies, Muhlenberg College

Courses Taught

  • Asia in the 21st Century
  • Globalization: An Interdisciplinary Study
  • Southeast Asia in the New Global Era
  • Senior Thesis in International Studies
  • Undergraduate Research in International Studies
  • The Individual in the Contemporary World
  • Cultivating Citizenship

Recent Publications and Research Notes

"Assessing Political Dynamics in Contemporary Malaysia: Implications for Democratic Change," ASIANetwork Exchange, Volume 19, Number 1 (November 2011)  - Full text (PDF)

Book Review, Student Activism in MalaysiaBerita (newsletter of the Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei Studies Group, Association for Asian Studies), Autumn (October) 2012, pages 12-15.  - Full Text (PDF)

Report on MSB-Sponsored Panel (Limits of the Developmental State) at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Toronto 2012.  Berita (newsletter of the Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei Studies Group, Association for Asian Studies), Autumn (October) 2012, pages 20-26.  - Full Text (PDF)

"When does 'politics' get in the way of development?: the developmental state, good governance, and liberal democratic change in Malaysia and Singapore," in Law and Development of Middle-Income Countries: Avoiding the Middle-Income Trap, edited by Randall Peerenboom and Tom Ginsburg (Cambridge University Press, 2014). - Learn More 

Contact Information

Dr. Agya Boakye-Boaten
320 D Owen Hall
One University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804
Office: 828.350.4564