University of Nottingham Malaysia
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Image of Thomas Barker

Thomas Barker

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts



I joined the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus in August 2012. Prior to this 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, and Cinema Poetica, The Jakarta Post.

Teaching Summary

At UNMC I teach:

V91M01 Introduction to Communications Theory (First Year, compulsory module)

W52206 Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context (Second year, Film and Television module)

W53M02 Documentary Film and Documentary Practice (Third year, Film and Television module with practical component)

W53M01 Southeast Asian Cinema (Third Year, Film and Television module)

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

I am currently working on the following research projects:

(1) Going Mainstream: Indonesian Cinema after Authoritarianism.

Book project based on my PhD dissertation due for completion in 2015. This book will analyse how the Indonesian film industry recovered following the end of the New Order in 1998, and the often difficult processes of adjustment that followed.

(2) Screen Industries Connections: Malaysia, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong.

I co-supervise the following PhD dissertation:

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

Petra Gimbad, 'Informal Markets in Kuala Lumpur' (with Assoc Prof Sumit Mandal)

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

  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2017. Colonial Mobility and Ambiguity: The Life of Filmmaker Hinatsu/Huyung TRANS-TRANS-REGIONAL AND -NATIONAL STUDIES OF SOUTHEAST ASIA. 5(2), 197-215
  • BARKER, THOMAS and LEE YUEN BENG, ADRIAN, 2017. Making Creative Industries Policy: The Malaysian Case Kajian Malaysia: Journal of Malaysian Studies. 35(2), (In Press.)
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2017. Travels and Travails: Cosmopolitan Muslims in Indonesian Cinema Cinema Poetica. Available at: <>
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2017. The Real Source of China’s Soft Power The Diplomat. Available at: <>
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2016. Can We Defend The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence? Available at: <>
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2015. Sex on Indonesia's Screens. In: SHARYN GRAHAM DAVIES and LINDA RAE BENNETT, eds., Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia: Sexual Politics, Health, Diversity and Representations Routledge. 253-272
  • BARKER, THOMAS and LEE YUEN BENG ADRIAN, 2015. Creative Industries Policy in Malaysia In: CAMDEN2: Trends in Culture, Arts and Media.
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2015. Questioning Film Nasional Available at: <>
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2014. Exploiting Indonesia: From Primitives to Outraged Fugitives Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society. 11(2), 1-21
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2014. Switch Off: media workers speak out Available at: <>
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2013. The Trauma of Post-1998 Indonesian Horror Films Journal of Letters. 45(1), (In Press.)
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2013. Review of "Film in Contemporary South East Asia" South East Asia Research. 21(4), 701-703
  • BARKER, THOMAS, 2012. The Early Years, 1926-1945. In: A Brief Cultural History of Indonesian Cinema The Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia. 196
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2011. Dangdut the Sound of Indonesia IIAS Newsletter. 57, 36
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2011. Mempertanyakan Konsep “Film Nasional”. In: GAIK-CHENG KHOO, EKKY IMANJAYA and THOMAS BARKER, eds., Mau Dibawa ke Mana Sinema Kita? Beberapa Wacana Seputar Film Indonesia Salemba Humanika. 7-29
  • THOMAS BARKER, GAIK-CHENG KHOO and EKKY IMANJAYA, eds., 2010. Mau Dibawa ke Mana Sinema Kita? Beberapa Wacana Seputar Film Indonesia Salemba.
  • CHARLOTTE SETIJADI-DUNN and THOMAS BARKER, 2010. ‘Imagining ‘Indonesia’: Ethnic Chinese film producers in pre-independence cinema Asian Cinema. 21(2), 25-47
  • KHOO GAIK CHENG and BARKER, THOMAS, 2010. Indonesian Cinema: A Symposium Introduction Asian Cinema. 21(2), 1
  • LEE HUMPHREYS and THOMAS BARKER, 2009. Modernity and the Mobile Phone: Exploring Tensions about Dating and Sex in Indonesia. In: DHANANJAY KESKAR and REENA PODDAR, eds., Mobile Telephony Devices: The Technological Revolution Icfai University Press.
  • LEE HUMPHREYS and THOMAS BARKER, 2007. Modernity and the Mobile Phone: Exploring Tensions about Dating and Sex in Indonesia M/C Journal: A Journal of Media and Culture. 10(1),
  • THOMAS BARKER, 2006. VCD Pornography of Indonesia. In: ADRIAN VICKERS and MARGARET HANLON, eds., Asia Reconstructed: Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2006, Wollongong, Australia. Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA).
  • CHARLOTTE SETIJADI-DUNN and THOMAS BARKER, Membayangkan “Indonesia”: Produser Etnis Tionghoa dan Sinema pra-Kemerdekaan. In: THOMAS BARKER, GAIK-CHENG KHOO and EKKY IMANJAYA, eds., Mau Dibawa ke Mana Sinema Kita? Beberapa Wacana Seputar Film Indonesia Salemba Humanika. 31-56

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

University of Nottingham Malaysia
Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih
Selangor Darul Ehsan

telephone: +6 (03) 8924 8000
fax: +6 (03) 8924 8001

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