Portrait of Sophie Lemiere

Sophie Lemiere, Ph.D.

  • Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow on Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2018-19
616 Serra StreetEncina Hall E301Stanford, CA 94305-6055


Sophie Lemiere is a Political Anthropologist at the Ash Center for Democracy in the Democracy in Hard Places program. She has been awarded the Stanford-NUS 2018-2019 Lee King Chiang Fellow and will be at Stanford in the fall then Singapore in the spring.

Her research looks at the nexus between religion, politics and criminality in a comparative perspective, focussing upon the deep structure of political systems. She received her PhD from Sciences-Po, France, her thesis was the first study on the political role of gangs through umbrella NGOs in Malaysia. Her Masters research on the apostasy controversies and Islamic civil society was awarded the second prize for International Young Scholar from the ISIM, Leiden in 2007. She has held research positions at RSIS-NTU in 2011 then at ARI in 2012 and has been visiting fellow at the University of Sydney, Cornell, UC Berkeley and Columbia. Sophie believes it is essential for academics to disseminate their research to a wide audience, and primarily in the countries they study. With this idea in mind, she has oriented her efforts towards the publication of original scholarship addressing both a general and academic audience within and outside of Malaysia. With this in mind, Sophie Lemière is the editor of a series “Malaysian Politics and People”. The first volume Misplaced Democracy was released in 2014, the second volume Illusions of democracy was published in 2017 and will be re-published in 2018 by Amsterdam University Press; the third volume is expected for 2019. Her monograph “Gangsters and Masters: Complicit Militancy and Authoritarian Politics” will be published also 2019. Sophie currently works on a political biography of Mahathir campaign “The Last Game: Malaysian Politics in the Eye of Mahathir”.

She has made considerable efforts to give visibility to Malaysian Studies by publishing in both international academic and non-academic outlets, Sophie has a blog on Mediapart and regularly contributes to publications such as New Mandala, The Conversation, Le Monde, Libération.

Sophie has also started to develop several documentary projects with French production companies, including a series on the Arts and Politics. Her first film 9/43 featured the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar and was selected among the 25 best movies of the French short-film festival ‘Infracourt’ in 2016.