Reacting flow fields are often subject to unsteadiness due to flow, reaction, diffusion, and acoustics. Further, flames can also exhibit inherent unsteadiness caused by various intrinsic instabilities. Interaction between various unsteady processes across multiple scales often makes combustion dynamics complex. Characterizing such complex dynamics is essential to ensure the safe and reliable operation of high efficiency combustion systems. Tools from nonlinear dynamics and complex systems theory provide new perspectives to analyze and interpret the data from real systems. They could also provide new ways of monitoring and controlling combustion systems. We discuss recent advances in studying unsteady combustion dynamics using the tools from dynamical systems theory and complex systems theory. We cover a range of problems involving unsteady combustion such as thermoacoustic instability, flame blowout, fire propagation, reaction chemistry and flow flame interaction. © 2020 The Combustion Institute.