Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Cluster



China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a highly ambitious infrastructure and connectivity project that aims to link China to Europe through Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Launched in 2013, the BRI involves the extensive construction of roads, railway lines, port facilities, and telecommunications infrastructure, among other major development projects. Impressive goals notwithstanding, the BRI faces significant criticism. Some pertain to charges of “debt-trap diplomacy,” others relate to claims of serious environmental damage and social upheaval in local communities. The scope, scale, and debates surrounding the BRI invites attempts to conceptualise and understand its consequences. We examine the BRI in the context of other colossal, high-modern development projects to advance scholarship while speaking to policy and business concerns.

The BRI Cluster also has links with the Max Weber Foundation Research Group on Borders, Mobility and New Infrastructures, which was established in FASS in June 2017.


Steering Committee:



 Research Keywords



Chong Ja Ian

International Politics, Security, East Asia, China’s Foreign Policy, US-China Relations, Contentious Politics, Sovereignty, State-building, Institutions

Political Science

Jack Meng-Tat Chia

Buddhism, Chinese Popular Religions, Overseas Chinese History, South China Sea, Maritime Silk Road 


Kwee Hui Kian

Southeast Asian History, Monsoon Asia, Colonialism and Imperialism, Capitalism, Chinese Ethnicity, Migration, Religion, Transnationalism and Entrepreneurial Networks

Chinese Studies

Maunaguru Sidharthan

Violence, Migration, Politics, Religion, Conscience and Temporalities

South Asian Studies and Sociology


James D Sidaway

Political Geography, Postcolonialism, Urban Geography



Cluster Members:

  Name Research Keywords


Hanisah Abdullah Sani Empire and State-Building, Development, Modernization, Nationalism, Religion and Politics, Law and Society

Malay Studies

Ong Jiayun Elvin

Democratization, Authoritarianism, Opposition Alliances, Censorship, Southeast Asia

Political Science

Contact us:

Belt and Road Initiative Cluster

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Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 6
5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Dean's Office, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences National University of Singapore

  • Add: The Shaw Foundation Building, Block AS7, Level 5
  • 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
  • Level 5 (Undergraduate) & Level 6 (Graduate)
  • Fax: +65 6777 0751
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