Asmus Rungby

Asmus Rungby's picture
Postdoctoral Fellow

Asmus Rungby is a Southeast Asianist and Anthropologist focused on issues of Governance, Political Economy and Democracy in Southeast Asia broadly and Malaysian Borneo specifically. His work combines deep ethnographic commitments to urban communities and theoretical analysis grounded in critical theory, political economy and indigenous intellectual traditions. His work covers a variety of issues of politics, environment, and conceptual issues surrounding the interfacing of communities and modes of governance, including tourism, energy management, art advocacy, animal protection, digital citizenship and democracy.  

He holds a PhD degree in anthropology from the University of Copenhagen. His PhD thesis, entitled ‘Parliament of Cats – Democracy, Organizational Work and Mutual Felinity in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia’ was an in depth ethnographic examination of the efforts of local youth organizations in the Malaysian city of Kuching and how they organize youthful artists and activists. It does so by exploring the implications and conceptualizations embedded in the local idiomatic metaphor of cats. It thus draws on local thought to develop an innovative analytic of felinity and mutual sociability with which to understand the politics and political economy that frames the organizational and activist efforts of the Kuchingite organizers. This leads the thesis to an in depth critical analysis of the Eurocentric histories and conceptions that have produced dominant Euro-American conceptions of democracy. 

His current work is as the grant holder of the project ‘Squaring the Circle of Southeast Asia’s Green Transition’ generously funded by The Carlsberg Foundation, as part of their internationalization funding scheme for exceptional research talent among Danish early career scholars. Through this project, Dr Asmus Rungby’s work extends his research concerns of community engagement, organizational work and modes of governance into the urgent issues of climate change and the global transition to green energy. The project centers the political, international and human dimensions of the grand infrastructure changes pursued as part of the Southeast Asian transition into a reliable and decarbonized energy system. The project balances concerns for the varied interests of local, communities, regional national governments, NGO’s and private sector companies to chart the interweaving societal complexities of executing a transition of this unprecedented scale and rapidity.   

Council on Southeast Asia Studies
Acad Year (Current): 
Council on Southeast Asia Studies