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Dr. David Richard Saunders
Lecturer David Richard Saunders


BA HKU; MLitt The University of St Andrews; PhD HKU


Email Address Homepage

Office: 10.44


Current Research Project | Publications | Course


Dr David R. Saunders is a historian of imperialism in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in decolonisation, anti-colonialism, and the experiences of dispossessed minorities and sub-national groups. His recent PhD dissertation explored Sabah's understudied role in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.




Current Research Project


David is currently working on a book manuscript that aims to reconceptualise decolonisation and state formation in Malaysia. Alongside this, his latest research project explores the concept of anti-colonial mimicry to show how anti-colonial initiatives were frequently constructed to replicate the past successes of major independence struggles, like Indonesia's in 1945-49.








David R. Saunders, '"State of Intoxication:" Governing Alcohol and Disease in the Forests of British North Borneo,' eTropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20.1 (2021), pp. 202–25.


David R. Saunders, 'The Friction of Distance in Borneo: Migration, Economic Change and Geographic Space in Sabah,' World History Connected, 17.3 (2020).


David R. Saunders, 'Dimming the Seas around Borneo: Contesting Island Sovereignty and Lighthouse Administration amidst the End of Empire, 1946–1948,' TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, 7.2 (2019), pp. 181–207.




Teaching Course


  • HIST2187 Critical Approaches to the End of Empire in Southeast Asia
  • HIST2192 Introduction to Modern Southeast Asian History