School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Thomas Barker

Research Affiliate, Faculty of Arts



I am head of the School of Media Languages and Cultures and Associate Professor of Film and Television. I joined UNM in August 2012 and have supported the school across a variety of administrative roles including Exams Officer and Director of Teaching and Learning.

Prior to joining UNM I was a Research Assistant at the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore where I taught the Sociology of Popular Culture. I graduated with a PhD in Sociology from the National University of Singapore in 2011. Prior to joining NUS I was a Researcher at the Centre for the Study for Social and Southeast Asian Studies (PSSAT) at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta Indonesia. I have held Visiting Scholar positions at Universitas Indonesia (2015), University of California Los Angeles (2016), and National Cheng Chi University (2018).

Expertise Summary

I work on topics related to South East Asia, with an emphasis on Indonesia and Malaysia, in the fields of communication, media, creative industries, cities, and cultural studies. I am primarily concerned with the conditions of cultural production including how the Indonesian film industry has reformed following the end of the New Order in 1998 and the current state of the creative industries in Malaysia and its relationship to China.

I have written for Asian Cinema, Plaridel, The Conversation, Cinema Poetica, The Diplomat, The Malay Mail, and The Jakarta Post.

Teaching Summary

At UNM I teach:

MLAC1154 Culture & Society

MLAC2013 Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

MLAC3021 Documentary Film and Documentary Practice

MLAC3020 Southeast Asian Cinema

I have taught introductory modules on sociology, and advanced modules on sexuality, research methodologies including ethnography and non-intrusive research methods, and popular culture.

Research Summary

Current research includes:

Indonesian Transnational Cinema

Silat Films in Indonesia

Censorship of the Screen Industries in Malaysia

History of Semenyih and Broga

Indonesian cinematic history (1950-1966)

I co-supervise the following PhD dissertations:

Petra Gimbad, 'Subaltern History of Kuala Lumpur' (with Assoc Prof Sumit Mandal)

I have co-supervised to graduation the following PhD theses:

Erman Maharam, 'Themes of Nusantara in Malaysian and Indonesian Films' (with Assoc Prof Gaik Cheng Khoo).

I am keen to supervise research students interested in working on the following areas and topics:

Media and popular culture in Southeast Asia

Production cultures

Creative industries in Malaysia and/or Indonesia

Cinema, Film and Documentary

Audiences, especially in Indonesia.

Transnational media in Southeast Asia

Selected Publications

Past Research

'A Cultural Economy of the Contemporary Indonesian Film Industry', PhD thesis at the National University of Singapore (2011).

'Survey Report: 21 Cinema Audience' (2009). Research on cinema goers in 15 major cinemas in Jakarta.

Future Research

Malaysian Media and Chinese Soft Power

Transnational Cinema Connections in Indonesia

Middle Class Muslims and Cinematic Representation

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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