Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
Image of Lena Tan 2016BA(Smith) MSc(Lond) PhD(Mass, Amherst)

Dr Tan is senior lecturer in International Relations and her research interests include identity, IR theory, constructivism, postcolonialism, the construction and constitution of the Global South in IR/ir, twentieth century decolonization, and Indonesian security and foreign policy.

Her research emphasizes and foregrounds general questions such as this: how would we understand, explain and describe international relations if we account for the co-constitutive relations between North and South in the construction of the material and social structures of the international system? This involves re-examining some of the key concepts and theories of International Relations as well as the evolution of the international system through taking the South and the non-hegemonic core seriously, and incorporating the insights from such research for a fuller and richer understanding of world politics.

She is the author of Metropolitan Identities and Twentieth Century Decolonization (NY: Palgrave Macmillan 2015), which challenges the focus on the role of positive norms in these processes, and casts a different light on one of the most important transformations for international politics of the last century.

She is happy to hear from postgraduate students with interests in the above areas, US foreign policy or more generally, international relations.


  • POLS 218 Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South
  • POLS 325 International Relations: Theories and Concepts
  • POLS 541 International Relatons and the Global South

Contact details

Room 4N9, 4th floor, Arts (Burns) Building
Tel +64 3 479 8661
Research day – Friday


Tan, L. (2015). Metropolitan identities and twentieth-century decolonization. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 213p.

Tan, L. (2022). Being 'Muslim, modern and democratic": Indonesian foreign policy under Yudhoyono and the coloniality of the international order. New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 24(1), 1-22.

Tan, L. (2020). Whose democracy? Governing Indonesia in a globalized world. In I. Rossi (Ed.), Challenges of globalization and prospects for an inter-civilizational world order. (pp. 655-671). Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-44058-9_35

Tan, L. (2017). Postcolonialism and international relations. In Oxford bibliographies: Political science. Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0214

Tan, L. (2015). Rethinking the role of ideas and norms in twentieth century decolonization: Constructing metropolitan British identities and responding to Indian nationalism (1929-1935). International Relations, 29(2), 177-197. doi: 10.1177/0047117814526607

Back to top