• Associate Professor, History

Research Statement

I'm interested in trade and economic developments in insular Southeast Asia, focusing on the period from the 1400s through the turn of the 19th century. My recent work has concentrated on the city of Malacca, but the multinational nature of Southeast Asian trade means that in addition to Malays I write about many different Southeast Asian peoples as well as Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British.


  • "Opium in the In-Between: Understanding Opium in 19th-century Singapore and the Malay States." University of Utah Asia Center Colloquium. Presentation, Presented, 11/2023.
  • "Water and Power in Angkor-Era Cambodia." Utah Museum of Natural History. Presentation, Presented, 04/2023.
  • "Coins, Superstition, and Cultural Connection in Majapahit Java." University of Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 02/24/2023.
  • Water: A Vital Part of Life in Angkor. Presentation, Presented, 02/13/2023.
  • "Ancient Angkor, Heart of an Empire: Political, Social, and Religious Life in Angkor-Era Cambodia." Utah Museum of Natural History. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/23/2022.
  • "Religious Representations at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom." Utah Museum of Natural History. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/22/2022.
  • "The Rise and Fall of Malacca." The "What is Asia?" podcast. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 08/15/2022.
  • "Melaka’s Hinterland,” a part of All the Lands Within the Seas: A History of Maritime Melaka. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/2021.
  • "The Philippines and the US: A Diplomatic History." Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, Salt Lake City, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 10/2020.
  • “Southeast Asia in Global History.” Teaching Roundtable, The American Historical Association Annual Conference . Conference Paper, Presented, 01/2020.
  • “Multiculturalism in Melaka.” Melaka in the Long 15th Century Conference, sponsored by Melaka in Fact and the Yayasan Khazanah, Malaysia . Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 08/2019.
  • “Liquid Market, Fragile State: Wealth and Disunity in 15th-century Malacca.” University of California, Berkeley, South and Southeast Asia Program. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/2019.
  • "Slavery as Patronage, Slavery as Punishment, Slavery as Debt in 15th Century Melaka." Panel: Conflictive Trade, Values, and Power Relations in the Straits of Melaka Region, c. 1400 – 1600, Association for Asian Studies 2019 Annual Conference . Conference Paper, Presented, 03/2019.
  • “Officer, Fisherman, Pirate, Crook: Legitimacy at Sea in the Straits of Malacca.” University of Utah Faculty Works in Progress Talks, Salt Lake City, Utah. Presentation, Presented, 12/07/2018.
  • "Slavery in Historical Southeast Asia." Comparative Slavery invited speaker. Presentation, Presented, 11/15/2018.
  • “The Ambon Massacre in World History.” University of Utah Practicing History Conference. Conference Paper, Presented, 03/22/2018.
  • “The Evolving View of America From Abroad.” The Annual Language Conference of the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade, Draper, Utah. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 03/04/2018.
  • "Death Squad as 'Legitimate' Crime Control? The Problems of PETRUS in Suharto's Indonesia." The Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS) and Political Science Speaker Series, “Society and Politics in the Asia-Pacific,” Northwestern University. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 11/08/2016.


  • Arabic, basic.
  • Chinese, basic.
    Read with proficiency.
  • English, fluent.
  • French, fluent.
  • Indonesian, fluent.
  • Portuguese, functional.
    Read with proficiency.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Asia
    Southeast Asia.
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Thailand


  • Lowey-Ball, ShawnaKim (2023). On the Perils of Parochialism: Reinterpreting the Magic Coins of Fifteenth-Century Java. Artibus Asiae. Vol. 83(2), 101-125. Published, 12/2023.
  • ShawnaKim Lowey-Ball (2020). Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China, by Yun Xia. [book review] . Asian Journal of Social Science. Vol. 48:3/4, 402-405. Published, 09/01/2020.
  • ShawnaKim Lowey-Ball (2020). We have done little to stop a second wave of COVID-19. Salt Lake Tribune. Published, 05/01/2020.
  • ShawnaKim Lowey-Ball (2020). History By Text and Thing. Perspectives on History. Vol. 58(3). Published, 02/26/2020.