University of Nottingham Malaysia
School of
Media, Languages and Cultures

Image of Sandeep Ray

Sandeep Ray

Head of School, Faculty of Arts



Sandeep Ray is a writer, visual artist and historian. Prior to joining Nottingham Malaysia, Sandeep taught at the University of Wisconsin, Rice University, and the Singapore University of Technology and Design. His research emphasizes connections between media and history. Sandeep has related interests in non-fiction or 'documentary' film; the novel; memoirs; newsreels; old media; global refugee crises; and transnational approaches to Asian Studies. His 2021 monograph Celluloid Colony (NUS Press) explores ethnography in Dutch propagandistic film in colonial Indonesia. Based on exhaustive research at film archives in the Netherlands, it was a finalist for the EuroSEAS 2022 Social Science Book Prize. His debut novel A Flutter in the Colony (Penguin Random House-SEA) is set in 1940s Bengal and 1950s Malaya and explores suppressed historical pasts through the experiences of an immigrant family.

Sandeep's films have been reviewed in The American Anthropologist and the Journal for Visual Anthropology and have been screened at several film festivals including at Busan (BIFF), Taiwan (TIDF), Sydney, Paris (Jean Rouch), Tehran (IIFF), Copenhagen (DOX), and have curated at the Flaherty Seminar, the Margaret Mead Festival, the Films Division of India and the Whitney and Getty Museums. Alongside his academic and creative roles, Sandeep has guest-lectured widely and been invited to serve on festival juries.

Personal website:

Research Summary

Sandeep is currently co-editing a special volume titled, 'Encountering Violence: Media and Memory in Asia' with Han Sang Kim of Ajou University. The project originated as a collective endeavor with… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

Sandeep is currently co-editing a special volume titled, 'Encountering Violence: Media and Memory in Asia' with Han Sang Kim of Ajou University. The project originated as a collective endeavor with several scholars from the region in response to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The editors believe that the ongoing Rohingya crisis continues to share the entangled structures stemming from Asia's violent trajectories, and its media representation can be interpreted with careful reference to past cases from Asia. This special issue will explore the ways in which the violent experiences in Asia's past and present including colonial rule, imperial expansion and mobilization, wartime massacres and exploitation, cold war conflicts and divisions, and state violence and oppression are remembered, represented, and reproduced in the media.

Collaborating with his students with support from the Singapore University of Technology and design, Sandeep recently created an open database of primary sources for the study of the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.

Future Research

Sandeep is researching film material in the NAS, IWM and other archives for a book about the year after the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.

  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2023. What Did the Haji Jawa See in Mecca? A film from 1928 as Primary Source Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television.
  • MCDONALD, K.,, RAY, S.,, YI, H. X.,, BALAJI, V. S. R.,, V. S. R., HUGHES,, RISAM, R., and GUILIANO, J., 2022. Review: Southeast Asia Under Japan Reviews in Digital Humanities. Volume 3(3),
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2018. The komedi bioscoop: Early cinema in Colonial Indonesia by Dafna Ruppin Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 49(1), 163 - 164
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2018. Inadvertent Ethnography in Propaganda: J. C. Lamster’s Films (1912–13) Indonesia. 106(106), 137-56
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2017. Two Films and a Coronation: The Containment of Islam in Flores in the 1920s. In: Colonial Documentary Film in South and Southeast Asia Edinburgh University Press.
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2016. Epistemological Considerations of Studying History Through Film with Reference to Indonesia Transnational Asia. 1(1),
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2015. Review: To Singapore, with Love New Mandala.
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2015. Tanah Mama by Asrida Elizabeth Inside Indonesia. 119(Jan-Mar 2015),
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2015. Review: Mallamal Pacific Affairs. 88(2), 387-88
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2014. Film review: Atambua 39˚ Celsius Inside Indonesia. 117(Jul-Sep 2014),
  • RAY, SANDEEP, 2014. Film review: Daniel Ziv’s acclaimed 'Jalanan' Inside Indonesia. 118(Oct-Dec 2014),

School of Media, Languages and Cultures

University of Nottingham Malaysia
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