Ian Baird

Title: Professor of Geography


Ph.D., Geography, The University of British Columbia, 2008
M.A., Geography, The University of Victoria, 2003

Research Areas

My main geographical area of interest is mainland Southeast Asia, especially Laos, Thailand and northeastern Cambodia. My research interests include:

- Political Ecology (mainly rural)
- Human-Environment Relations
- Insurgencies and political opposition in mainland Southeast Asia
- Development Studies
- Postcolonial Studies
- Social Movements (in mainland Southeast Asia)
- Social Theory - Social and Spatial (Re)organization
- Hydropower Dams in the Mekong Region and Inland Fisheries
- Large-scale Land Concessions/Acquisitions
- Identities and Identification
- Indigeneity in Asia
- Boundaries and Borders
- Hmong Studies
- Lao Studies
- Thai Studies
- Upland peoples in mainland Southeast Asia, especially the Brao and the Hmong
- 19th and 20th Century History in Mainland Southeast Asia

Current Research

I am presently engaged in conducting research on the following:

- the political ecology of large hydropower dam development in the Mekong River Basin, with an emphasis on inland fisheries
- large-scale land concessions/acquisitions and land tenure more generally
- Indigenous Peoples in Asia (particularly Southeast Asia)
- the experiences of ethnic minorities between 1975-1989 in northeastern Cambodia
- political and military issues related to Laos after 1975
- the Hmong and the Communist Party of Thailand
- the histories of various peoples, ethnic groups and social and political movements in Laos and northeastern Cambodia (particularly the Brao, Hmong and the Lao Na Champassak family)

Courses Taught

Fall 2020

Geography 358: Human Geography of Southeast Asia
Geography/Env. St. 337: Nature, Power and Society

Spring 2021

Not teaching


I am presently the director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) at UW-Madison

Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Center for Culture, History and Environment
Asian American Studies Program

Recent Publications

For a full selection of my publications, see: https://wisc.academia.edu/IanBaird

Rise of the Brao: Ethnic Minorities in Northeastern Cambodia during Vietnamese Occupation (2020)


Awards and Honors

Awarded a Vilas Associates Award from UW-Madison for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years.

Awarded a "Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity (REI) Fellowship" at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison, for the 2014-2015 academic year. This fellowship supported my research on Indigenous Peoples movements in Southeast Asia.

Graduate Students and Postdocs

Current PhD students:   Akarath Soukhaphon (Geography),  Zhe Yu Lee (Geography, co-advised with Morgan Robertson), Kevin Inks (Geography)  Current Master's students:   Bao Xiong (Southeast Asian Studies)   Past PhD Students: David Chambers (Geography, completed 2020), Peter Swift (Geography, completed 2019), Will Shattuck (Geography, completed 2019), W. Nathan Green (Geography, completed 2019), Puttaporn (Jip) Areeprachakun (Geography, completed 2020), Pao Vue (Geography, completed 2018) Past Master's students:  Zhe Yu Lee (Geography, co-advised with Morgan Robertson, completed 2019), Kevin Inks (Geography, completed 2020) Shengqi Zhang (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2016), Michael Dunford (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2016), Aurore Phenow (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2015), W. Nathan Green (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2014), Nicholas Zeller (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2014), Will Shattuck (Geography, completed 2013), Peter Swift (Geography, completed 2013), Noi Sinouthasy (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2013), David Chambers (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2013), Inthava Borihane (Southeast Asian Studies, completed 2013)

Other Activities

Main faculty for the UW-Madison part of the Hmong Studies Consortium (in collaboration with University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Chiang Mai Universities and other universities) https://hmongstudies.wisc.edu/


Contact Information

Office Hours:

By appointment only.

Mailing Address:

Department of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room 455, Science Hall
550 North Park Street
Madison, Wisconsin
USA 53706

Phone: (608) 265-0012

Fax: 6082653991

Email: ibaird@wisc.edu

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