His research interests centre on the history of modern Southeast Asia and the region's global connections. His first book was a study of the end of empire in Malaya, in its social as well as political aspects. He has written, with the late Christopher Bayly, a two-volume account of the Second World War and its aftermath in South and Southeast Asia. His most recent work has focussed on how the history of localities and local political events are shaped by a global consciousness and transnational networks.
At the Centre of History and Economics he has co-convened, with Sunil Amrith, research projects on 'Sites of Asian Interaction: Networks, Ideas, Archives’; 'The Transnational History of Health in Southeast Asia, 1914-2014’, and was a partner in the EU-FP7 project, ‘SEATIDE: Southeast Asia: Trajectories of Inclusion, Dynamics of Exclusion’.
Tim Harper is also a Syndic of Cambridge University Press, a member of the Executive Committee of Modern Asian Studies and co-editor of the book series, ‘Asian Connections’ (Cambridge University Press). He has held visiting research positions at the University of Malaya, the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, Singapore, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Tufts University, Harvard University, and as Visiting Professor in Asian Studies, Centre Asie, Sciences Po, Paris.
Forgotten Wars: the end of Britain's Asian empire (Allen Lane/Harvard University Press as Forgotten wars: freedom and revolution in Southeast Asia, 2007) (with Christopher Bayly)
Forgotten Armies: The Fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (Allen Lane: London, 2004/Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass. 2005) (with Christopher Bayly)
The End of Empire and the Making of Malaya (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999)
Histories of Health in Southeast Asia: Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century (University of Indiana Press, Bloomington, 2014), ed. with Sunil S. Amrith
Sites of Asian interaction: Ideas, Networks and Mobility (Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2014), ed. with Sunil S. Amrith
'Singapore, 1915, and the birth of the Asian underground', Modern Asian Studies, 47 (2013)
'The Malay World, besides empire and nation', Indonesia and the Malay World 42, 120 (2013), pp. 273-90
'The tools of transition: Education and development in modern Southeast Asian history', in Michael Woolcock, et al eds., History and Development Policy: A necessary dialogue (Manchester University Press, 2011), pp. 193-211.
'The British "Malayans"', in Robert Bickers, ed., Settlers and expatriates: Britons over the seas (Oxford History of the British Empire companion series: Oxford, 2010), pp. 233-268.
‘A long view on the Great Asian War’, in David Koh Wee Hock, ed., Legacies of World War II in South and East Asia (ISEAS: Singapore, 2007)
‘Empire, Diaspora and the Languages of Globalism, 1850-1914’, in A.G. Hopkins, ed., Globalization in World History ( London, 2002), pp. 141-166
‘Lim Chin Siong and “the Singapore Story”’, in Jomo K.S. and Tan Jing Quee, eds., Comet in Our Sky: Lim Chin Siong in History (Forum: Kuala Lumpur, 2001), pp. 1-56
‘The State and Information in Modern Southeast Asian History’, in Yao Souchou, ed., House of Glass: Culture, Modernity and the State in Southeast Asia (ISEAS: Singapore, 2001), pp. 213-240
Globalism and the Pursuit of Authenticity: the Making of a Diasporic Public Sphere in Singapore’, Sojourn, 12, 2 (1997), pp. 261-92
‘“Asian values” and Southeast Asian histories,’ Historical Journal, 40, 2 (1997), pp. 507-17
‘The Politics of the Forest in Colonial Malaya’, Modern Asian Studies, 31, 1 (1997), pp. 1-29
‘New Malays, New Malaysians: Nationalism, Society and History’, Southeast Asian Affairs 1996 (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies: Singapore, 1996), pp. 238-55
Centre for History and Economics,
Cambridge CB3 0AG, UK
Tel. +44 (0)1223 331197