Students Staff

Academic Staff

Dr Mark R. Frost

Position in departmentHead of Department
Staff positionSenior Lecturer
Telephone01206 872307
Academic support hoursBy appointment

My mother is from south India and my father from east London, and I grew up in Australia. That cultural mix got me interested in my dual heritage which inevitably led to my interest in History. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my continued scholarly interest has been in the Asian-European encounter and in the colonial past. I also had exceptional History teachers. Up until my last year of school, I was set on studying English Literature at university. But my History teacher, the highly-respected Charles Malyon, persuaded me otherwise.

After I completed my doctorate in the U.K., I lived for seven years in Singapore where I 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 my own exhibition and multimedia design company, I returned to full-time academia in 2009, taking a job as Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. I joined the Department of History at the University of Essex in 2011. I still retain a keen interest in the way history is presented in diverse public contexts and I am involved in various literary, documentary television and exhibition projects. Recently, I wrote the documentary film I Remember the Fall of Singapore (2017, dir. Michel Cayla). 


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 have so far supervised to completion doctoral students researching:

World War II and decolonization in colonial Malaya

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

Currently, I am superivising doctoral students researching:

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



Singapore: A Biography (with Yu-Mei Balasingamchow). Hong Kong Univ. Press, 2009; paperback edition with Editions Didier Millet, 2012.
*CHOICE ‘Outstanding Academic Title’, 2010
*Winner of the Asia Pacific Publishers Association Gold Medal, 2010


'Humanitarianism and the overseas aid craze in Britain's colonial Straits Settlements, 1870-1920', Past and Present, 236, 1 (August 2017), 169-205

'Amitav Ghosh and the art of thick description: History in the Ibis Trilogy', American Historical Review, 121, 5 (December 2016), 1537-44.

‘Pandora's post box: Empire and information in India, 1854-1914', English Historical Review, 131, 552 (October 2016), 1043-73.

‘Beyond the limits of nation and geography: Tagore and the cosmopolitan moment’, 1916-1920’, ‘Lived Cosmopolitanisms’ special issue of Cultural Dynamics, 24, 2-3 (November, 2012): 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, 36 (February, 2005): 29-36.

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

‘“Wider Opportunities”: Religious revival, nationalist awakening and the global dimension in Colombo, 1870-1920’, Modern Asian Studies, 36, 4 (October 2002): 936-67.

‘Wartime globalization in Asia, 1937-1945: conflicted connections and convergences' (journal forum of three articles with introduction, edited/co-authored with Daniel Schumacher) Modern Asian Studies (forthcoming November 2017)


‘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, (Pretoria: UNISA, 2010), pp. 75-95

‘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), pp. 251-79

‘The making of the Singapore History Gallery: some personal reflections’, in Cheryl-Ann Low (ed.), The Past in the Present: Histories in the making (Singapore: National Museum of Singapore, 2009), pp. 61-77

‘Cosmopolitan fragments from a divided isle: “Ceylonese nationalism” in late colonial Sri Lanka’, in Joel. S. Kahn (ed.) Ethnicities, Diasporas and ‘Grounded’ Cosmopolitanisms in Asia, ARI Monograph Series, 2004, pp. 59-69

‘An Oceanic Enlightenment: Transnational publics in a colonial public sphere’, in Sunil Amrith and Isabel Hofemeyr (eds), The Cambridge History of the Indian Ocean World, v.2. Cambridge Univ. Press. forthcoming

‘Singapore Songlines revisited: The world class complex and the multiple deaths of context’, in Simone Shu-Yeng Chung and Michael Douglass (eds), Hard State, Soft City: The urban imaginative field in Singapore. National Univ. of Singapore Press, forthcoming


‘That great ocean of idealism: Calcutta, the Tagore circle and the idea of Asia, 1900-1920, Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Working Paper No 3 (June 2011)

‘Transcultural Diaspora: The Straits Chinese in Singapore 1819-1918’, ARI Working Paper No.10, August 2003

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