2019 Asian Studies Visiting Fellow: Dr. Rebecca Strating


Get to Know Our 2019 Asian Studies Visiting Fellows -
Dr. Rebecca "Bec" Strating

Residency: July through September

BiographyDr. Rebecca Strating

Bec is a Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Her current research interests include maritime disputes in the Indo-Pacific and Australian foreign policy. Bec received her PhD in politics from Monash University, Victoria, in 2013. In her academic career, she has published two monographs and numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. Her latest book, The Post-Colonial Security Dilemma, was published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in 2019. In 2018, her article on the Timor Sea maritime dispute was awarded the prestigious Boyer Prize by the Australian Institute of International Affairs for best article published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs in 2017. Bec contributes regularly to public debates about politics and foreign policy in media and policy forums, and has testified in Australian federal parliament as an expert witness. She tweets at @becstrating.

Research Topic: Defending the rules-based maritime order

Over recent years, the Indo-Pacific region has become increasingly unsettled. In particular, maritime disputes have become highly visible microcosms of broader contests between great powers. The policy dilemma for the U.S. and its allies is how they can best defend the UNCLOS-led maritime 'rules-based order' and, in so doing, support a 'free and open Indo-Pacific.' There are two aims of this project. The first is to understand the interests and roles of the U.S. in defending law of the sea. This project examines the evolution of the U.S.' South China Sea policy over the last five years and the different perspectives of policy-makers and experts on how the U.S. can best support the maritime rules-based order. The second aim is to understand how smaller powers have pursued their national maritime interests in Washington D.C. The diplomatic dimension of maritime-order building is often overlooked: how do smaller powers try to convince the U.S. to retain its stake in maintaining maritime order in the Indo-Pacific? The findings of this research will be important and timely given the significance of maritime disputes to the contested security order, and the uncertainty about the U.S.' intentions and engagements in the Indo-Pacific.