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Tan Netina, Associate Professor (on research leave)

photo of Netina Tan

Netina Tan

Associate Professor (on research leave)

Department of Political Science

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Area(s) of Interest:


Netina Tan received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia and held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, 2011-12. She completed her B.A. and M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies at the at the National University of Singapore and M.A. in Political Science at the University of Regina.

Netina's research focuses on the sources of authoritarian resilience and the political representation of women and ethnic minorities in Asia, and globally. Her work has appeared in Electoral Studies, International Political Science Review, Politics and Gender, Pacific Affairs and other university presses. Her research has been funded by different internal and external competitive grants including Social Science and Humanities Research Council, International Development Research Centre; the American Council of Learned Societies and Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation. For more information, visit her personal website here.

Research Interests

Electoral Authoritarianism, Democratization, Elections and Party Politics, Representation of Women and Ethnic Minorities, Digital Media and Democracy, Governance, East and Southeast Asia

Supervisory Interests

Netina is happy to supervise students interested in democratization, authoritarianism, electoral and party politics, representation of women and ethnic minorities, digital democracy and governance from a comparative perspective.
Students requesting reference letter, see guideline here: Dr. Netina Tan Reference Letter Guidelines

Research Assistant Opportunities

Netina is currently working on three research projects focusing on Electoral Integrity in Asia, Digital Democracy and Ethnic Quotas. If you have country knowledge, language expertise or qualitative and quantitative research skills that can contribute to these projects, send your CV and a brief cover letter to

Honours and Awards

  • 2017 Shortlisted, William L. Holland Prize for the most outstanding journal article published in Pacific Affairs for 2016.
  • 2011 Winner, Vincent Lemieux Prize for Best Dissertation Submitted in a Canadian University in 2009-2010
  • 2011-12 Social Science and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Toronto
  • 2011 Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office Graduate Fellowship
  • 2007 Dissertation Fellowship, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taiwan
  • 2007 Visiting Research Associate, S. Rajaratnam School of Int Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Selected Funding

  • 2018-19: Institute of Globalization and Human Condition Seed Grant for "Digital Democracy" Research project (co-applicant with Drs. Tony Porter and Sara Bannerman) 
  • 2018-22: SSHRC Insight Grant, "Ethnic Quotas and Political Representation: A Global Study" (co-applicant with Dr. Karen Bird)
  • 2018-19: SSHRC Connection Grant,"Comparing Mechanisms for Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples" Conference (co-applicant with Dr. Karen Bird)
  • 2018-20: International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Research Capacity Building Grant, "Gender Equality and Decentralization in Myanmar"
  • 2017: McMaster Arts Research Board (ARB) Travel Grant, "Elected Women Politicians in Singapore: A Study of Socio-Demographic Profile"
  • 2017: McMaster ARB Travel Grant, "Electoral Malpractice in East and Southeast Asia"
  • 2016-18: SSHRC Insight Development Grant, "Electoral Integrity in East and Southeast Asia"
  • 2016: McMaster IQ2 Seed Fund, "Electoral Integrity and Digital Innovation in East and Southeast Asia"
  • 2015: McMaster International Initiatives Micro Fund, "Electoral Integrity and Digital Innovation in East Asia"
  • 2014: McMaster ARB Grant, "Social Media and Opposition Mobilization in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes"
  • 2013-4: Forward With Integrity Grant and Deans of Social Sciences, Humanities, Health Sciences and Business for Asia-Canada: Transnational Collaborative Research Conference, 4 Apr 2014, McMaster University
  • 2013: American Council of Learned Societies and Chiang Ching-kuo for International Scholarly Exchange and McMaster Provost Office and VP Research Office for Political Representation of Women in Asia Workshop, 3-5 Oct 2013, McMaster University

Events and Opportunities

2018: Comparing Mechanisms for Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples Conference, McMaster University, 5-8 Dec

This exciting three-day SSHRC funded conference will bring together Canadian and international political scientists to examine how ethnic quotas, reserved seats, and alternative approaches vary globally, with particular interest on their substantive impact. Visit Ethnic Quota website for more information.

2018: Digital Democracy: Transformation and Public Contestations Mini-Workshop, 15 Sep

This mini-workshop brings together researchers from McMaster and the surrounding area, to identify existing areas of overlapping interest and challenges in digital democracy. Visit website here for more information.

2018: Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) 

There is a new scholarship opportunity for students and researchers from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with short-term exchange opportunities for study or research in McMaster University's Political Science Department at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Visit SEED website or contact me at

2017: Electoral Malpractice in East and Southeast Asia Mini-Conference, APSA, San Francisco, 2 Sep

A one-day mini conference on the types and effects of electoral malpractice in East and Southeast Asia was held during American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco on 2 Sep 2017. This conference features an exciting line-up of international scholars including Larry Diamond (Stanford); Allen Hicken (Michigan); Carolien Van Ham (New South Wales); Jorgen Elklit (Aarhus); Meredith Weiss (SUNY Albany) and many others. For more information, visit website here.

2014: Asia-Canada: Transnational Collaborative Research Conference, 4 Apr

An exciting inter-disciplinary conference funded by Forward with Integrity brought together faculty and students at McMaster University to collaborate and deepen our understanding of Asia. For more information, visit Asian Research Working Group website or email:
2013: Asian Research Working Group (ARWG) 
Supported by the Forward With Integrity initiative, the Asian Research Working Group (ARWG) aims to build a community of scholars who work on Asia in McMaster. This working group will promote interdisciplinary dialogue, collaboration and explore the creation of an Asian Research Centre. To participate in the ARWG, please send your email address and put "subscribe to ARWG list" on the subject..

2013: Political Representation of Women in Asia Workshop, 3-5 Oct.

A 3-day workshop supported by American Council of Learned Societies and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange features a fantastic line up of scholars on electoral and gender politics. For more information, see website here.


Ph.D., Political Science, University of British Columbia

M.A., Political Science, University of Regina

M.A., Southeast Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

B.A., Political Science and Sociology, National University of Singapore


  • Poli Sci 3H03: Honours Issues in Comparative Politics (Authoritarianism) 
  • Poli Sci 3LC3: Southeast Asian Politics
  • Poli Sci 4KC3: Comparative Democratization
  • Poli Sci 740: Theories of Comparative Politics
  • Poli Sci 716: Comparative Authoritarianism

See my personal website here for course syllabus and teaching evaluation scores.


Edited Book 

  1. Forthcoming. Susan Francheschet, Mona Lena Krook and Netina Tan. "The Global Handbook of Women's Political Rights." Palgrave MacMillan.

Special Journal Issues

  1. 2016. Guest Editor. Special Section on "Gender Reforms, Quotas and Women's Political Representation in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore", Pacific Affairs (89:2): 84 pp.
  2. 2015. Guest Editor. Critical Perspectives on “Quotas and Non-Quota Strategies in East Asia.” Politics and Gender 11(01): 46 pp.

Journal Articles

  1. 2018. "Electoral Rules and Manufacturing Legislative Supermajority: Evidence from Singapore", Commonwealth and Comparative Politics (56:3):273-297, with Bernie Grofman.
  2. 2016. "Gender Reforms, Quotas and Women's Political Representation in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore", Pacific Affairs(89:2):309-323.
  3. 2016. "Why are Gender Reforms Adopted in Singapore? Party Pragmatism and Electoral Incentives", Pacific Affairs (89:2):369-393.  
  4. 2015. “Introduction: Quotas and Non-Quota Strategies in East Asia.” Politics & Gender 11 (01): 171–75.   
  5. 2015. “Party Quotas and Rising Women Politicians in Singapore.” Politics & Gender 11 (01): 196–207.
  6. 2014. "The General and Presidential Elections in Singapore 2011." Electoral Studies 35: 374-8.
  7. 2014. "Ethnic Quotas and Unintended Effects on Women's Political Representation in Singapore." International Political Science Review, 35 (1): 27-40.
  8. 2013. "Manipulating Electoral Laws in Singapore.” Electoral Studies, 32 (4):632-643.

Book Chapters

  1. 2018. “Elected Women Politicians in Singapore’s Parliament: An Analysis of Socio-Demographic Profile,” in Women of Asia: Globalization, Development, and Social Change, edited by Linda Lindsey and Mehrangiz Najafizadeh, 198-211, Routledge.
  2. 2016. “Pre-Electoral Manipulation, Gerrymandering and Its Effects on Singapore’s 2015 GE,” in Voting in Change: Politics of Singapore's 2015 General Election, edited by Terence Lee and Kevin Tan, 169-190. Singapore: Ethos Book.  
  3. 2015. "Institutionalized Hegemonic Party Rule in Singapore." In Party Institutionalization in Asia: Democracies, Autocracies and the Shadows of the Past, edited by Erik Kuhonta and Allen Hicken, 49-73. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  4. 2014. "Embracing Uncertainty and Democratization in Singapore." In Democracy in Eastern Asia, edited by Edmund Fung and Steven Drakeley, 181-202. New York: Routledge.
  5. 2014. "Singapore." In Party Politics in Southeast Asia: Organization, Money and Influence, edited by Wolfgang Sachsenroder. CreateSpace Publishing: 261-285.
  6. 2004. "Human Security in Southeast Asia: A Gender and Constructivist Perspective." In Asia in the New Millennium: APISA First Congress 2003, edited by Amitav Acharya and Lee Lai To, 595-627. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic.

Op-Eds, News Articles and Reports

  1. 2018. "How Cambodia's Prime Minister Rigged An Election." The Conversation, 14 Aug, with Cassandra Preece. Also featured on the National Post and McMaster’s Brighter World.
  2. 2018. "How Malaysian Voters Defied the Odds and Ousted Corruption." The Conversation, 15 May, with Cassandra Preece. Also featured on the National Post and McMaster’s Brighter World.
  3. 2018. "Anti-Fake News Remedies Worse than the Disease in Asia." Asia Global Online, 3 May. 
  4. 2018. "Malaysia’s Dire Democratic Crisis." The Conversation, 25 Mar, with Cassandra Preece. Also featured on the National Post and McMaster's Brighter World.
  5. 2018. "Why Did it Take So Long for Canada to Kill the Philippines Helicopter Sale?" The Conversation, 25 Feb, with Marvin Mercado.
  6. 2016. "Are Gender Quotas Helping Female Politicians in Asia?" East Asia Forum, 24 Jun.
  7. 2015. "PAP's Win Silences its Critics." East Asia Forum, 16 Sep.
  8. 2015. "Singapore’s 2015 Election: Can the People’s Action Party Strengthen Its Mandate to Rule?" Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, 8 Sep.
  9. 2012. "Democracy in Southeast Asia: A New Generation's Take." New Mandala: New Perspectives on Mainland Southeast Asia, Section on Singapore, 26 Mar.
  10. 2012. “Brain Drain, Immigration and Integration in Singapore,” co-author with Joseph Wong. Policy paper commissioned by CSIS and NSCS.
  11. 2011. "Singapore's Divisive Seventh Presidential Election." Asia Pacific Memo 101, 15 Sep.
  12. 2011. "Fear No More: Singapore's Defining 2011 General Election." Friedrich Naumann Stiftung Current Affairs & Analysis No.1, 7 May.
  13. 2011. "Turn of Tide: Singapore's Watershed Election 2011." Asia Pacific Memo 82, 22 Feb.
  14. 2011. "Singapore Revs Up for Elections." Berita, Spring 2011, pp 13-15.
  15. 2011. "Singapore Clamps Down on Social Media." Asia Pacific Memo 58, 22 Feb.
  16. 2009. "Lee Kuan Yew's Legacy on Leadership Succession." The Online Citizen, 16 Sep.
  17. 2009. "Nominated Ministers' Idea: Don't Take the Road to Less Accountability." Straits Times, 15 Jun.
  18. 2009. "Gender Quota Versus GRC scheme: Conflicting Signals." Straits Times, 6 Jun.
  19. 2008. "My Fieldwork Experience in Singapore and Taiwan."  CCSEAS Newsletter 8.1, pp. 4-5
  20. 2007. "ASEAN Response to Myanmar: Coordinated Engagement as a Way Forward." Straits Times, 8 Oct.
  21. 2007. "Grant Single-Mums Maternity Leave Freely." Straits Times, 2 Feb.
  22. 2007. "Nurture the Smart Kids as Well as the Not-So-Smart." Straits Times, 25 Jan.
  23. 2003. "Have Interns Help MPs Research Policy Issues." Straight Times, 18 Mar.
  24. 2003. "Women Warriors: Singapore Military Still Largely a Man's Turf." Straits Times, 24 Jan.
  25. 2000. "More on the F word." Straits Times, 27 May.

Book Reviews

  1. Review of Political Booms: Local Money and Power in Taiwan, East China,Thailand and the Philippines by Lynn White 84.1 (March 2011): 121-2.
  2. Review of Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies by Allen Hicken in Journal of East Asian Studies 10.1 (2010 Jan-Apr):155-168.
  3. Review of Democratization in Taiwan: Challenges in Transformation, ed. by Philip Paolini and James Meernik, Pacific Affairs 83.1 (Spring 2010) 160-2.
  4. Review of Maritime Security in Southeast Asia, ed. by Kwa Chong Guan and John K. Skogan, Pacific Affairs 82.1 (Spring 2009) 152-4.
  5. Review of Corruption and Good Governance in Asia, ed. by Nicholas Tarling, Journal of East Asian Studies 6.3 (2007):511-514.
  6. Review of The Curse of Independence by Shelby Tucker, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 4.1, (Spring 2006): 48-51.
  7. Review of Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma by Mary Callahan, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 3.1 (Spring 2005): 233-5.
  8. Review of Living Silence: Burma Under Military Rule by Christina Fink, SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, 1.2 (Autumn 2003): 35-7.