This paper reviews several prominent journals to identify key trends and issues in Southeast Asian geography. The review identifies the locus of articles' geographical scholarship, the balance between issue-based versus other types of articles, and the trends in the subject matter of the issue-based publications. The paper considers the meaning of an ‘issue-based’ approach to geography in local and non-local geographical scholarship on and in Southeast Asia. Geography as taught and practiced in Southeast Asia has followed a largely idiographic tradition based on description of landscapes, regions, settlement patterns, and so on. At an applied level, geography in some Southeast Asian countries has tended toward regional planning rather than engaging more centrally with the social sciences. Geography as a critical social science has only a loose purchase in the inherently geographical debates around development, environment, globalisation, and regionalisation in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, geographers from outside the region have engaged in more critical study, and geographical teaching and research on Southeast Asia in Australasia, North America, and Europe tends to take an issue-based approach and to be situated broadly within the realm of ‘development geography’. The paper also concludes with the question of how the discipline can better serve an issue-based agenda without being dominated by western critical social science.