Call for Papers – Governing Complex Disasters in Southeast Asia


Call for Papers – Governing Complex Disasters in Southeast Asia


Many Southeast Asian countries are known for their exposure to multiple and related hazards given their location along the typhoon belt and ‘Ring of Fire’ in the Pacific. In 2020, Southeast Asian countries faced overlapping emergencies involving volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and typhoons. Since 2020, these environmental hazards have been unfolding alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, producing a wickedly complex series of interactions between the nations’ existing vulnerabilities, strict lockdown and quarantine measures, and a devastating medical and mental health crisis.

Studies by Alejandria & Smith (2019) and Elinoff & Vaughan (2021) emphasized the region's vulnerability to hazards that is exacerbated by inadequate governance structures. Galliard’s (2021), Remes & Horowitz’s (2021), Lizarralde (2021), and Kelman’s (2020) discourse on the “unnaturalness” of disasters requires a critical evaluation of policies and governance of all types of hazards. Major disasters like the 2020 Taal Volcano Eruption in the Philippines and the 2021 West Sulawesi Earthquake were compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The complexities brought by these overlapping events highlight the need for evidenced-based governance. 

In Southeast Asia, ineffective disaster governance disproportionately affects vulnerable communities and hinders sustainable development. There remains a significant literature gap on this topic that consequently impacts policymaking and implementation. Recognizing this gap, this special issue aims to further build the evidence base of, and push forward analytical thinking on, responses to complex disasters in Southeast Asia. This special issue will therefore draw from localized understandings of hazards and disasters. We aim to provide insight and frameworks for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners and assist in their pursuit of effective disaster governance in Southeast Asia, resilient systems, and sustainable development.

Drawing from case studies of communities, civil society organizations, and state actors, this special issue envisions an avenue for research in the Southeast Asian Region that explores how specific policies shape the management and experience of complex disasters from various levels of governance. This could be within the range of village-level ordinances up to the level of international policy frameworks (UN Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination, The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, The Paris Agreement, The UN Sustainable Development Goals, and so forth). The key questions that contributors will address are: 

  1. How are complex disaster experiences involving COVID-19 managed across the region?
  2. Which policies facilitate or complicate disaster risk reduction and management?
  3. What are the implications for researching and governing complex disasters?

Scope of the Special Issue

We welcome submissions on topics related to the governing of complex disasters in Southeast Asia and will consider empirical research and systematic reviews. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Systemic Vulnerability
  • Resilience-Building and Adaptive Capacities
  • Disaster Governance and Humanitarian Coordination
  • Risk Communication
  • Resource Management
  • Vulnerability and Risk
  • Technological Innovations

Guest Editors

Dr. Maria Carinnes Alejandria
Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei
[email protected]

Dr. Rob Grace
Brandeis University, United States of America
[email protected]

Dr. Pamela Gloria Cajilig
Curiosity Ph, Philippines
[email protected]

Dr. Will Smith
Deakin University, Australia
[email protected]

Key Deadlines

Opening date: 15 July 2023
Closing date: 15 February 2024
To be published: 2024

Submissions Information

Submissions can be made through ScholarOne Manuscripts
Please visit the author guidelines for the journal. Submitted manuscripts must not have been published previously, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else.

About the Journal

The Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal (SEAMJ) is an open access journal published by the Faculty of Arts and Society Sciences (FASS) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). The SEAMJ publishes a wide variety of topics related to the arts, social sciences, and humanities focusing on Southeast Asia. It aims to be the leading platform for the dissemination of original, theoretical and applied research related to Southeast Asia.


Alejandria, M.C & Smith, W. (Eds.). (2019). Disaster Archipelago: Locating Vulnerability and Resilience in the Philippines. Lexington Books.

Elinoff, E., & Vaughan, T. (Eds.). (2021). Disastrous Times: Beyond Environmental Crisis in Urbanizing Asia. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Gaillard, JC. (2021). The Invention of Disaster Power and Knowledge in Discourses on Hazard and Vulnerability. Routledge.

Kelman, I. (2020). Disaster by Choice: How our actions turn natural hazards into catastrophes. Oxford University Press.

Lizarralde, G. (2021). Unnatural Disasters: Why Most Responses to Risk and Climate Change Fail but Some Succeed. Columbia University Press.

Remes, J. A. C., & Horowitz, A. (Eds.). (2021). Critical Disaster Studies. University of Pennsylvania Press.