University of Nottingham Malaysia
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

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Thomas Barker

Research Affiliate, Faculty of Arts



I am currently a Research Affiliate at UNM and simultaneously an Honorary Associate Professor with the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University I joined UNM in August 2012 and was previously head of school and Associate Professor until 2021.

I am the author of Indonesian Cinema after the New Order: Going Mainstream (2019, HKU Press) and the co-editor of Southeast Asia on Screen: From Independence to Financial Crisis (1945-1998) (2020, AUP).

I graduated with a PhD in Sociology from the National University of Singapore in 2011. I have held visiting positions at Universitas Indonesia (2015), University of California Los Angeles (2016), National Cheng Chi University (2018), and the National Library of Australia (2019).

ORCiD profile:

Expertise Summary

I work on topics related to South East Asia, with an emphasis on Indonesia and Malaysia, in the fields of 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.

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

Teaching Summary

I no longer teach at UNM.

I have taught MLAC1154 Culture & Society, MLAC2013 Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context, MLAC3021 Documentary Film and Documentary Practice, MLAC3020 Southeast Asian Cinema and 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

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).

Selected Publications

Past Research

2023 Internationalisation as democratisation? Inside Indonesia, 3 July 2023.

2023 (forthcoming) Reshaping Production Practices: European Film Festivals, New Indonesian Cinema, and the Creative Producer, New Review of Film and Television Studies.

2022 Censorship and its impact on the screen industries in Malaysia, Research Report, Freedom Film Network, Malaysia.

2022 Screen Connections between Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, When East Asia Meets Southeast Asia: Presence and Connectedness in Transformation Revisited, edited by Kitamura, Yang, and Thung, World Scientific, 347-372.

2021 The Indonesian Sex Bomb, Film Stardom in Southeast Asia, edited by Jonathan Driskell, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

2021 Market Transnationalisation of the Indonesian Screen Industries, LSE Southeast Asia Blog, 22 October.

2021 The real culture war: China vs U.S.: Soft power in the age of Covid, IAI News, 22 July.

2021 Indie Cinema and the Short Film Assemblage: An Essay on Dewi Pulang, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. 177, 1- 13.

2021 Debating Polygamy in Indonesian Cinema, Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology, edited by Kristian Petersen, Mizan Series with ILEX Foundation, Harvard University Press.

2020 Transnational Exploitation Cinema in Southeast Asia: The Cases of Indonesia and the Philippines (with Ekky Imanjaya), in Southeast Asia on Screen: From Independence to Financial Crisis (1945-1997), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

2020 Southeast Asia on Screen: From Independence to Financial Crisis (1945-1997), (co-editor with Gaik Cheng Khoo and Mary Ainslie), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

2019 Indonesian Cinema after the New Order: Going Mainstream, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

2018 Creating within constraints: Creative industries policy in Malaysia (with Adrian Lee Yuen Beng), Routledge Handbook of Creative and Cultural Industries in Asia, edited by Lorraine Lim and Lee Hye-Kyung, London: Routledge, 13-26.

2018 Coming soon in 2019, a year to watch in Indonesian cinema, The Conversation (Global), 13 December.

2017 Unpacking Malaysian Cinema, an 8-part radio series for BFM 89.9 radio Malaysia.

Future Research

  • Transnational Cinema Connections in Indonesia
  • History of Indonesian cinema 1950-1966

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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