Maria Ortuoste Faculty Profile

Maria  Ortuoste

Professor and Chair

Department of Political Science

Dr. Ortuoste is an expert on Southeast Asia and Indo/Asia-Pacific security, Philippine and U.S. foreign policy, international law and maritime security, military alliances and security multilateralism. She has more than twenty years of research experience in academic and policy settings. Dr. Ortuoste teaches courses on international relations and comparative politics such as Comparative Politics of Asian Governments, International Law, International Security in the 21st Century, the UN in World Community, among others. She is also the advisor to the university's Model UN Club.  

Dr. Ortuoste is currently working on three projects -- a book manuscript on Maritime Security Identities, Interests and Strategies of Southeast Asian States; a journal article on the role of documentary films in memory and narratives of the state, and populism and democracy in the Philippines.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Ortuoste served eight years in the Philippine Foreign Service Institute’s Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS). As a senior research analyst and, later, head of the Center, Dr. Ortuoste directed their research program which covered all aspects of Philippine foreign policy. She also regularly participated in interagency policy meetings on various topics such as the South China Sea, ASEAN, ASEAN Regional Forum, UN peacekeeping, and also represented the Center in track-two and track one-and-a-half forums which included CSCAP and ASEAN-ISIS. She earned her doctorate from Arizona State University was also a fellow at the “Advanced International Programme in Conflict Resolution” in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research of Uppsala University, Sweden (1998), the “Security Studies Executive Course” in the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii (1999), and the Women in International Security Summer Symposium in Georgetown University (2006). Dr. Ortuoste is originally from the Philippines and received her M.A. International Studies and B.A. Journalism degrees from the University of the Philippines.


Research Interests:

  • Asia/Indo-Pacific Security
  • Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  • ASEAN Regional Forum
  • South China Sea
  • Alliances, strategic partnerships and security multilateralism
  • United Nations: nuclear non-proliferation; peacekeeping
  • Conflict and peace research
  • International law
  • Post-colonial state-building

Current Research:

“The State and Maritime Security in Southeast Asia – Identities, Interests and Strategies in the face of the Everyday and Strategic Challenges.” Book project.  

Abstract:  The book examines the evolution of the maritime identities interests and strategies of selected Southeast Asian countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. To analyze security concerns, the book proposes a framework based on post-colonial state-building which sees national security concerns not only as a reaction to external events, but as part and parcel of these countries’ attempts to solidify the control and infrastructure of their states.  The security issues discussed are: territorial disputes; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; maritime piracy; terrorism; smuggling; and developing alliances and strategic partnerships.


“Genocidal Nightmares and Dreams of the State.” To be submitted as a journal article or a monograph.

Abstract:  States, like other communities, are based on narratives of heroism or victimization, of manifest destiny or revolution.  In turn, these narratives are based on processes of remembering and forgetting which are especially significant in cases of collective trauma.  What happens when bottom-up narratives that are intent on remembering encounter top-down narratives that are intent on forgetting?  This paper studies post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia and Indonesia after the 1965/66 mass killings, focusing on the regime after Suharto, through films by local and international filmmakers such as Rithy Panh, Thet Sambath, Lexy Junior Rambadeta and Joshua Oppenheimer.  These films’ role in memory-making are explored using a framework that juxtaposes sites of production, image and audiencing against social, technological and compositional modalities.  This paper, thus, seeks to unearth the microfoundations of narratives and the reasons why our approaches to understanding the state will always be incomplete and contingent.

  • PhD, Arizona State University, 2008
Spring Semester 2024
Course #SecCourse TitleDaysFromToLocationCampus
POSC 10106Amer Political InstitutionsARRWEB-ASYNCHOnline Campus
POSC 35501United NationsMW1:00PM2:15PMAE-0238Hayward Campus
POSC 36101IR of Indo-PacificMW10:30AM11:45AMSC-N215Hayward Campus
POSC 49901CapstoneMW2:30PM3:45PMAE-0238Hayward Campus

Forthcoming Publications:

"The Pandemic and Other Ills: The Philippines in 2020." 2020 Asia Pacific Anuario from el Centro de Estudios de Asia y África de El Colegio de México.  March 2021.

"Philippines and Indonesia:  Contemporary National Interests and Strategies in the South China Sea," co-authored with Zenel Garcia.  In The South China Sea: Contemporary Security Dynamics, edited by Howard M. Hensel. Routledge, 2022.


Published Works:

“Air Power in Southeast Asia,” co-authored with Zenel Garcia. In Air Power in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, edited by Howard M. Hensel and Amit Gupta. Routledge, 2020.

“Timor-Leste and ASEAN: From Enmity to Amity, Exclusion to Semi-Inclusion.” In The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Timor-Leste edited by Andrew McWilliam of Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. Routledge. 2019.

“Practical Cooperation, Preventive Diplomacy, Human Security and the Future of the ASEAN Regional Forum.” CSCAP Regional Security Outlook 2019 + ARF – The Next 25 Years, pp. 63-65. 2018.  Available at:

“The ASEAN Regional Forum as a Strategic Waypoint: A Long View of the Forum’s 25-Year Journey,” Asia Policy, vol. 13, no. 4 (October 2018) 53-59. 

‘Strategic and “Everyday” Maritime Security Challenges in Southeast Asia.’ In Maritime Challenges, Opportunities, and Policies in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, edited by Howard M. Hensel and Amit Gupta. Routledge, 2018.

“Partners in Peril in the South China Sea: Strategy and Partnership between the Philippines and Japan.” APPS Policy Forum 13 May 2016. Published by the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society which is housed in the Crawford School of Public Policy of Australian National University.  Available at

“Social Media, Public Discourse and Governance.” Asian Politics and Policy, vol. 7, no. 3 (October 2015): 497-502.

“Can ASEAN help PH’s claim to seas?” Rappler, June 23, 2015.  Available at (as of August 7, 2015).

“Democratization, Regional Integration and Human Rights:  The Case of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.” Co-authored with Dr. Yongwook Ryu.  The Pacific Review, vol. 27, no. 3 (May 2014): 357-382.

“The Philippines in South China Sea:  Out of Time, Out of Options?” In Southeast Asian Affairs edited by Daljit Singh.  Singapore:  Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, July 2013.

“Searching for Human Rights in Southeast Asia: Sites of Information as Sites of Contention.” Asian Politics and Policy, vol. 4, no. 4 (October 2012): 593-598.

“Youth, Life and Politics: Examining the Everyday in Comparative Politics.” PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 45, no. 2 (April 2012): 285-290.

“Philippines.” In Regional Outlook 2012-13 edited by Michael Montesano and Lee Poh Onn, pp. 76-81.  Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2012.

“Timor-Leste and ASEAN: Shaping region and state in Southeast Asia.”  Asian Journal of Political Science, vol. 19, no 1 (April 2011): 1-24.


Regular expert guest on local TV channels such as Kron-4 and KTVU-2, 2018.

Interviews with:

Volunteer as ‘Senior Policy Adviser for the UN Security Council for the Inter-generational Model United Nations sponsored by the United Nations Association-USA. January 2018.

Moderator, “Philippines under Duterte,” World Affairs Council SF. November 1, 2017 later broadcast on KQED.

Presenter, “Philippine Foreign Policy Under Duterte,” for the conference Watching the Philippines, Reporting Duterte. The Pulitzer World Room, Columbia University, October 17-18, 2017.  Sponsored by: Columbia Journalism School, New York Southeast Asia Network, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Columbia Center for Justice, Asian American Writers Workshop, and the University of Sydney Southeast Asia Centre.

Presenter, “Martial Law in Duterte’s Philippines.”  Hosted by the Filipino and Philippine Studies Working Group of UC Berkeley.  554 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley, September 15, 2017.

Guest on Project Censored on the topic of Philippine Politics. Broadcast on June 27, 2017 in KPFA. (

Speaker for “Making Waves: Contested Waters in the South China Sea.” Asia Society, San Francisco, October 4, 2016.  Organized by RAND Corporation and UC Berkeley Institute for East Asian Studies. Co-sponsored by The Asia Foundation, Stanford University, Shorenstein APARC.

Speaker, “Philippine Politics and Rodrigo Duterte/” Post-election discussion. Hosted by the Filipino and Philippine Studies Working Group, University of California, Berkeley.  September 19, 2016.

Discussant, Spratlys: Isla ng Kalayaan.  Sponsored by the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, April 23, 2015.

Faculty Support Grants - 2009, 2018

Chair, Department of Political Science:  2020-current

University A2E2 Committee: 2020-21

CLASS Curriculum Committee:  2018-current

Faculty-in-Residence for Faculty Learning Communities: 2018-19; 2016-17

Affordable Learning Solutions participant

Faculty committee member of the International Studies and Asian Studies programs, 2011-present

Academic Senate, 2012-2014

Research Committee, 2012-2014

Honorary Degree Committee, 2010-2012

Associate editor for Asian Politics and Policy, 2012-2020

Senior book review editor for Asian Politics and Policy, 2014-2018

Section Chair, Research on Teaching and Learning, Midwest Political Science Association, 2019 annual conference

Associate Editor and Book Review Editor for Asian Politics and Policy

Reviewer for Oxford University Press, CQ Presss Routledge, Cambria Press, International Studies Perspective, PS: Political Science and Politics

Mentor for graduate students and new PhD graduates in the following associations:  American Political Science Association, Women of Color in Political Science, Women’s Caucus in International Studies, Midwest Political Science Association, International Studies Association – western chapter