Academic Staff

Dr Mark R. Frost

Position in departmentUndergraduate Director/Progress Officer
Staff positionSenior Lecturer
Telephone01206 872307
Office hoursSummer Term: Wed 11.30 to 1.30 Spring Term: On leave

After completing his doctorate in the U.K., Mark lived for seven years in Singapore where he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute and then Content Designer, Senior Scriptwriter and Senior Historical Consultant for the 2006 award-winning revamp of the National Museum of Singapore's History Gallery. After running his own exhibition and multimedia design company, he returned to full-time academia in 2009, taking a job as Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He joined the Department of History at the University of Essex in 2011.

In addition to his scholarly activities, he maintains a keen interest in the way history is presented in diverse public contexts and he continues to be involved in various literary, documentary television and exhibition projects.


MPhil, PhD (Cantab.)

Current research

WARMAP - the War memoryscapes in Asia Partnership

Memories of Asia’s 20th century wars of imperialism and liberation continue to shape national identities in the region. However, the way regional and global economic integration are impacting on the production of contemporary war memories remains poorly understood. This interdisciplinary research network explores Asia's conflict heritage in a globalized world, focusing on the powerful transnational flows which are challenging, subverting and transforming official discourses of war remembrance. What does the border-crossing movement of tourists, remebrance practices, capital and information, and the rise of non-state heritage players, mean for post-conflict reconciliation in a region still clearly haunted by its past? Funded by the Leverhulme Foundation, and based at the University of Essex, WARMAP brings together scholars from the universities of Konstanz, Wageningen, Kyushu, Deakin, the National University of Singapore and Academia Sinica, as well as heritage practitioners from Europe, Australia and Asia.

Research interests
  • The British Empire in Asia
  • Print, politics and religion in the Indian Ocean world
  • War and memory in Asia
  • Public history

Teaching responsibilities

Undergraduate Modules
HR233  The Scramble for China, 1780-1911
HR385  The British Empire in the Indian Ocean world, 1750-1930
HR637  Bringing down the Empire: Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh

Masters Modules
HR 921 The Public History Workshop

I currently supervise doctoral students researching the following topics:

World War II and decolonization in colonial Malaya

War and remembrance in Asia: the case of FEPOWS (Far East Prisoners of War)

The British presence in the Persian Gulf (l1600-1750)



Singapore: A Biography (Hong Kong University Press, 2009; paperback edition with Editions Didier Millet, 2012) [CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2010 and winner of the Asia-Pacific Publishers Association Gold Medal, 2010]

Journal articles  

'Humanitarianism and the overseas aid 'craze' in Britain's colonial Straits Settlements, 1870-1920', Past and Present (forthcoming)

'Pandora's post box: empire and information in India, 1854-1914', English Historical Review  (forthcoming November 2016)

'Amitav Ghosh and the art of thick description: history in the Ibis trilogy', American Historical Review (forthcoming December 2016)

With Daniel Schumacher, 'Introduction to the forum: Wartime globalization in Asia, 1937-1945, conflicted connections and convergences', Modern Asian Studies (forthcoming 2018)

'Beyond the limits of nation and geography: Rabindranath Tagore and the cosmopolitan moment, 1916-1920', Special issue of Cultural Dynamics (2012) 24, 2-3: 143-158; reprinted in S. Gabriel and F. Rosa (eds), Cosmopolitan Asia: Littoral epistemologies of the global south (New York: Routledge, 2015)

"Emporium in imperio: Nanyang networks and the Straits Chinese in Singapore, 1819-1914," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (2005) 36, 1: 29-66

"Asia's maritime networks and the colonial public sphere, 1840-1920", Special issue of New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies (December, 2004) 6, 2: 63-94

"Wider Opportunities": Religious revival, nationalist awakening and the global dimension', Modern Asian Studies, 36, 4 (2002): 937-67

Book chapters and working papers

"That great ocean of idealism: the Tagore circle and the idea of Asia, 1900-1920," in Ashraf Jamal & Shanty Moorthy (eds.) Indian Ocean Studies: cultural, social and political perspectives  (New York: Routledge, 2009) 

"In search of cosmopolitan discourse: a historical journey across the Indian Ocean from Singapore to South Africa, 1870-1920," in Pamila Gupta, Isabel Hofmeyr, Michael Pearson (eds.), Eyes across the water: Navigating the Indian Ocean, (Uitgewers: UNISA Press, 2010)

"The making of the Singapore History Gallery: Some personal reflections," in The Past in the Present: Histories in the Making (Singapore: National Heritage Board, 2009)

'Cosmopolitan fragments from a divided isle: Ceylonese nationalism in late colonial Sri Lanka,' Ethnicities, Diasporas and Grounded Cosmopolitanisms in Asia , ARI Monograph Series, 2004 

'Transcultural diaspora: The Straits Chinese in Singapore, 1819-1918', ARI Working Paper 10 (2003)

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