CHUA Lynette J.

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. (UC Berkeley), M.A (UC Berkeley), LL.B. (NUS), B.Sc. (Ohio)

  • Faculty Search Committee (2015 - present)
Email Address:;
Office Tel: (65) 6516-5416 
Office Fax: (65) 6779-0979 
Office Address

Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
Eu Tong Sen Building
469G Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259776
Research Interests

Law and society
Socio-legal studies
Law and social change
Law and social movements
Qualitative, empirical scholarship

Subjects Taught

Sociology of Law
Law and Social Movements
Understanding Law and Social Change
Constitutional and Administrative Law

Brief Biodata

Lynette is a law and society scholar with research interests in law and social change, and law and social movements. She is writing a book, Affective Rights: The Politics of Love in Myanmar, about how human rights are collectively mobilized and practiced on the ground, how they relate to larger social forces, and how relationships that people have with and through human rights perpetuate their practice and construct their meanings in Myanmar's nascent sexual orientation and gender identity minority rights movement, before and during the country's political transition. Her 2015 Law & Society Review article, "The Vernacular Mobilization of Human Rights in Myanmar's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Movement", based on an earlier phase of the research, was awarded the 2016 Article Prize by the Socio-legal Studies Association in the United Kingdom.

She is also starting a new research project that examines a pressing concern in many Asian societies these days, caring for the elderly. She is particularly interested in how the elderly, their families, as well as their communities and state governments, deal with grievances and conflicts that arise over who should care for the elderly, and the conditions under which they resort to legal institutions of the state or to other solutions. She is beginning to examine these questions in Singapore and Vietnam with plans to expand the study comparatively to China and elsewhere.

Lynette has also conducted ethnographic study on Singapore's gay and lesbian movement to analyze the emergence, development, and strategies and tactics of the movement, and explore the complex role of law and meanings of rights. Her book, Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State, received the 2015 Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association, and the 2015 Book Accolade for Ground-breaking Matter from the International Convention of Asian Scholars, and was selected as a finalist by the Socio-legal Studies Association for the 2015 Hart Socio-legal Prize for Early Career Academics and the European Southeast Asian Studies Association for the 2015 Book Prize. Her 2012 Law & Society Review article, "Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements in Authoritarian States: The Case of Gay Collective Action in Singapore", was recognized by the Law & Society Association in the United States with an honorable mention for its 2013 Article Prize.

In addition, Lynette is working in collaboration with various scholars to develop NUS Law into a center for law and society research on Southeast Asian societies. She co-organized a workshop on Southeast Asian-based socio-legal research on 10-12 December 2012, bringing together leading law and society scholars and regional researchers to examine the intellectual possibilities and challenges, articulate potential research themes and directions, and define a research agenda. On 15-16 December 2014, she co-organized a second conference entitled, Researching State and Personhood: Law and Society in Southeast Asia, to follow up on one of the themes identified in 2012. Some of the papers from the 2014 conference appeared in a 2015 special issue in the Asian Journal of Law & Society. She is currently chairing the organizing committee for the inaugural Asian Law & Society Association meeting that will be held on 22-23 September 2016 at NUS Law, and a pre-meeting Young Scholars' Workshop on 21 September 2016.

Lynette is a member of the editorial board of Law & Social Inquiry and American Political Science Review (from September 2016) and is an active member of the Law & Society Association where she has served on various committees. At NUS, she holds a Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant, Humanities and Social Sciences Seed Fund Award, and a Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowship (August-December 2016). In 2013 and 2014, she was awarded the Teaching Incentive Fund for her teaching performance by the NUS University Scholars Programme, where she has a joint appointment. Lynette was also a Fulbright Scholar and held grants from the Social Science Research Council and the National Science Foundation in the United States.

Representative Publications

1. Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State (2014). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

2. "Negotiating Social Norms and Relations in the Micromobilization of Human Rights: The Case of Burmese Lesbian Activism" (forthcoming in Law & Social Inquiry).

3. "Judicial Review of Executive Power in the Singapore Context, 1965-2012" (2016) Journal of Law & Courts 4(1): 43-64. (with Stacia L. Haynie)

4. "The Vernacular Mobilization of Human Rights in Myanmar's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Movement" (2015) Law & Society Review, Vol. 49(2): 299-332.

5. "Pragmatic Resistance, Law, and Social Movements in Authoritarian States: The Case of Gay Collective Action in Singapore" (2012) Law & Society Review, Vol.46(4): 713-748.

Publication List