Royce Novak

Advisor: Alfred W. McCoy



My research focuses on the prison island in the context of colonialism and the Cold War. Although I examine the prison island as a global phenomenon, my research is focused on Southeast Asia – particularly in Indonesia and Vietnam. I seek to understand the prison island not only as a site of repression, but as one of resistance, as well. I am minoring in East Asian History. Other research interests include legal history, particularly the history of punishment and policing, social/political movements, travel and movement, and the physical environment.


  • Southeast Asian History

MA Title

  • “Charting the Penal Archipelago: Prison Islands in Global Context with a case study of the Andamans (1790-1947) and Buru Islands (1969-79)”

Working Dissertation Title

  • “Archipelago of Extinction: Prison Islands in the Making and Unmaking of Empire”