Emeritus Professor James Cotton

School of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 2 6268 8879


Building 29 Room 102


James Cotton graduated with first class honours and was a University medal winner at Flinders University. He was a 1975-76 Procter Fellow at Princeton University, and studied at the Beijing Language Institute (1980). He has held academic positions in Western Australia, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Singapore, the Australian National University, and Tasmania (head of Politics School, 1993-1997); he is a former head of the School of Politics, University of NSW, ADFA. In 2001 he was Centennial Professor in International Relations and in the Asia Research Centre, London School of Economics, and in 2004 and 2007 he was Visiting Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong. He was a member of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington DC, as Australian Scholar, Session 2, 2009. In 2013 he was Harold White Fellow, National Library of Australia.

BA (Flinders), MA (Durham), MScEcon PhD (London School of Economics), FRAS, FAIIA

Research Interests / Projects
  • Australian foreign and security policy
  • Proliferation in North Korea and its regional consequences
  • Early Australian international relations
  • Asian regional organizations and security

He is currently working on several projects including on the documentary record of Australian foreign relations, 1920-1936 (in collaboration with Historical Documents, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), on the history of the international relations discipline in Australia; and on current regional relations.

Professional Activities

Between 1997 and 2003 James Cotton was a foundation member of the Foreign Minister?s Advisory Council convened by the Foreign Minister of Australia. He is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and also of the Australian Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP); he is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society (London) and of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. Having previously served as Editor, he is on the Editorial Board of The Australian Journal of International Affairs


Cotton J, 2013, The Australian School of International Relations

Cotton J, 2012, Australia and the United Nations

Cotton J, 2010, International relations for Australia : Michael Lindsay, Martin Wight, and the first department at the Australian National University, Working Paper 2010/2, Australian National University: Department of International Relations, Canberra, http://ips.cap.anu.edu.au/ir/pubs/work_papers/10-2.pdf

2007, Trading on Alliance Security: Australia in World Affairs 2001-2005, Cotton J, (ed.), Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Cotton J, 2006, East Timor, Australia and Regional Order, paperback, Routledge, London & New York

Cotton J; Ungorer C; Harris S, 2006, The Road to a Nuclear North Korea: Regional Reactions, Global Impacts, Australian Interests, Strategic Insights 32, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra

Cotton J, 2004, East Timor, Australia and Regional Order: intervention and its aftermath in SE Asia, Routledge Curzon, London and NY, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203420997

2002, The National Interest in a Global Era: Australia in World Affairs 1996-2000, Cotton J, (ed.), Oxford University Press, Australia

Cotton J, 2002, Crossing Borders in the Asia Pacific, Original, Nova Science Publications, New York, USA

1999, East Timor and Australia: AIIA contributions to the policy debate, Cotton J, (ed.), Canberra ADSC/AIIA, Canberra

Cotton J; Neary I, 1989, The Korean War in History, Manchester University Press

Cotton J, 1989, Asian Frontier Nationalism Owen Lattimore and the American Policy Debate

Book Chapters

Cotton J, 2018, '‘Relations with Indonesia in the Whitlam Era: the Centrality of the East Timor issue’', in Ministers for Foreign Affairs 1972-83, edn. Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Canberra, pp. 115 - 143

Cotton J, 2016, 'Diplomacy in the 1990s: Issues for the Washington embassy.', in Lowe, D ; Bridge, C ; Lee D (ed.), Australia goes to Washington : 75 years of Australian representation in the United States, ANU EPress, Canberra, pp. 209 - 232

Cotton J, 2015, 'Ideology and the legitimation crisis in North Korea', in Communism and Reform in East Asia, pp. 86 - 101, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9781315697833

Cotton J, 2014, 'Barwick, Hasluck and the Management of Foreign Policy towards Northeast Asia: the Limits of Australian "Realism"', in Tyler (ed.), Ministers for Foreign Affairs 1960-72, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Canberra, pp. 151 - 180

Cotton J, 2009, '‘Australia and Asian Institutional Networks: Bilateral Preferences, Multi-lateral Gains’', in Thomas N (ed.), Governance and Regionalism in Asia, Routledge, London, pp. 146 - 171, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203883853

Cotton J, 2009, 'Australia and the Asian Strategic Context: Balancing Relations with the Major Powers', in Sisodia NS; Krishnappa V (ed.), Global Power Shifts and Strategic Transition in Asia, edn. Original, Academic Foundation, New Delhi, pp. 151 - 179

Cotton J, 2007, 'The Crisis in East Timor: Understanding the Past, Imagining the Future', in The Crisis of the Timor-Leste State in Comparative Perspective, edn. Original, Charles Darwin University Press, Darwin, pp. 13 - 22

Cotton J, 2007, 'After the Flood: Foreign Policy and the Management of Intelligence', in Cotton J; Ravenhill J (ed.), Trading on Alliance Security: Australia in World Affairs 2001-2005, edn. First, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 329 - 351

Cotton J; Ravenhill J, 2007, 'Trading on Alliance Security: Foreign Policy in the post-11 September era', in Cotton J; Ravenhill J (ed.), Trading on Alliance Security: Australia in World Affairs 2001-2005, edn. First, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 3 - 19

Cotton J, 2006, 'The Domestic Sources of Regional Order in Michael Leifer`s Analysis of Southeast Asia', in Liow JC; Emmers R (ed.), Order and Security in Southeast Asia, Routledge Curzon, London & New York, pp. 212 - 227, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203014813

Cotton J, 2006, 'ASEAN and Regional Institutions in the Asia-Pacific: Ambitions Versus Performance', in Globalization and Regionalization: Views from the Pacific Rim, edn. Original, UTS and Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico, pp. 73 - 111

Cotton J, 2006, 'Regionalization, Marketization and Political Change in the Pacific Rim', in East Timor/timor Leste: national, Regional and International Sources of Political Legitimacy, edn. First, UTS and Universidad de Guadalaljara, Mexico, pp. 147 - 177

Cotton J, 2003, 'The Rhetoric of Australia`s Regional Policy', in Asia-Pacific Security: Policy Challenges, ISEAS Publishers, Singapore, pp. 29 - 46

Cotton J, 2002, 'North Korea and the Axis of Evil', in Williams M; Suh C-S (ed.), The Inter-Korean relationship in the post September 11 environment, edn. Original, Korea-Australasia Research Centre (KAREC), Sydney, Australia, pp. 42 - 56

Cotton J, 2001, 'Sun Zi: Diplomacy and war', in The Strategists, edn. Original, Australian Defence Studies Centre, Canberra, pp. 15 - 26

Cotton J, 2000, 'The Asian crisis and the perils of enterprise association: explaining the different outcomes in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea', in Politics and Markets in the Wake of the Asian Crisis, edn. Original, Routledge Press, London & New York, pp. 151 - 168

Cotton J, 1998, 'The Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone experiment: North Korea in pursuit of new international linkages', in North Korean foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, pp. 212 - 233

Edited Books

Cotton J, (ed.), 2019, Australia and the World 1920-1930. Documents on Australian Foreign Policy, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney

Journal articles

Cotton J, 2020, ''We are nearer the East than the other states': Frederic Jones of Queensland, the first official from Australia in Shanghai', Queensland Review, vol. 27, pp. 39 - 59, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/qre.2020.3

Cotton J, 2020, 'The Elusive Reginald Benjamin Levien: Victoria's commercial agent in Asia, fraudster, recidivist', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 106, pp. 7 - 28

Cotton J, 2020, '‘We are nearer the East than the other states’: Frederic Jones of Queensland, the first official from Australia in Shanghai', Queensland Review, vol. 27, pp. 7 - 28, https://doi-org.wwwproxy1.library.unsw.edu.au/10.1017/qre.2020.3

Cotton J, 2018, 'Sir Alfred Zimmern lectures Australia, 1938: a utopian on Munich?', Cambridge Review of International Affairs, vol. 31, pp. 494 - 515, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2018.1549020

Cotton J, 2018, 'On the Chatham House project: interwar actors, networks, knowledge', International Politics, vol. 55, pp. 820 - 835, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41311-017-0100-6

Cotton J, 2018, 'A century of Wilsonianism: a review essay', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 53, pp. 398 - 407, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10361146.2018.1477916

Cotton J, 2018, 'E.T. Sheaf, Australian ‘trade commissioner in the east’, 1922–25', History Australia, vol. 15, pp. 271 - 288, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14490854.2018.1439250

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