Lyn Parker

Emeritus Professor, BA(AsSt) PhD ANU

  • The University of Western Australia (M257), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


I am a social and cultural anthropologist and my main research interests are the anthropology of Indonesia, women and gender relations, education and the environment. I conducted doctoral fieldwork in east Bali in 1980-81, studying the integration of a pre-colonial kingdom into the Indonesian nation-state. That was when I became interested in education and its role in citizen creation: seeing little kids trooping off to school, wearing the colours of their national flag in their white shirts and red skirts and shorts. It became obvious that the Suharto government was using Development as a tool of nation-state making: government-sponsored Green Revolution technology was intervening in centuries-old, sustainable, wet rice cultivation; women were being enjoined to use IUDs to limit their fertility and traditional birthing practices were being medicalized; a plethora of Development projects masuk desa (entered the village). Eventually most of these phenomena found their way into my first book, From Subjects to Citizens: Balinese Villagers in the Indonesian Nation-State (2003).
But not before I had helped to build a house, plant an orchard and arboretum and had two children. We lived in the beautiful hinterland of Mt Warning in north-eastern NSW. My anthropologist’s antennae were excited by life in an alternative community, a multiple occupancy. I loved living in the subtropical rainforest: I shared the natural “lap pool” with platypus; I was surrounded by magnificent forests, hundreds of species of birds, gorgeous orchids, palms and ferns; and entertained by koalas, possums and antechinus. I can’t say the same of poisonous ticks, ants and snakes, nor of the back-breaking work of digging out and scrubbing rocks (for the stone house). I like to claim I wrote the first PhD thesis on a computer powered by a waterfall (might not be valid).
Academia beckoned. I took up a re-entry postdoctoral fellowship at ANU and the rest is history: a two-year stint as a lecturer at the University of Tasmania in Launceston (continuing the tradition of living in beautiful places), and then accepted a lectureship at The University of Western Australia – arguably the most beautiful university campus in Australia.

Roles and responsibilities

Teaching in Asian Studies (see Teaching below)
Supervising postgraduate students (see Teaching below)
Leading research teams (see Funding Received

Future research

Environmental education and environmentalism in Indonesia
Female vulnerability, poverty, and agency in Indonesia

Funding overview

Major Recent Grants

2013-15 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant DP130100051 “Fostering Pro-Environment Consciousness and Practice: Environmentalism, Environmentality and Environmental Education in Indonesia” $580,000

2013 UWA-UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award: The Stigmatization of Widows and Divorcees (Janda) in Indonesian Society $18,000

2009-2011 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant DP DP0984683 “Education for a Tolerant and Multicultural Indonesia” $440,000

2006-2009 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant DP0663600 “Ambivalent Adolescents in Indonesia” $410,000

2009 AIGRP (Australian Indonesian Governance Research Partnership) Grant “Madrasah Governance and Its Effectiveness” $60,000

Teaching overview

I teach in four different majors: Asian Studies, Indonesian, Anthropology and Gender Studies.

Asian Studies units

Environment, Power and Disasters in Asia (ANTH2702 is a Level 2 unit offered in both Anthropology and Asian Studies)

Indonesian Politics and Culture (ASIA3001 is a Level 3 unit and part of the majors in both Asian Studies and Indonesian language)

Gender and Power in Asia (ASIA3004 is a Level 3 unit taught both in Hong Kong and at UWA and is part of the majors in both Asian Studies and Gender Studies)

Issues in Researching Asia (ASIA4102/4106 is an Honours core seminar unit)

Indonesian Language units

Beginners Indonesian 1 (INDO1401)

Beginners Indonesian 2 (INDO1402)

Indonesian 3A (INDO1001/2001 - a bridging Intermediate-level unit)

Doctoral Students currently being supervised

Hariyadi (submitted 2013) “Islamic Popular Culture and the New Identity of Indonesian Muslims: Investigating the Consumption of Islamic Popular Culture”

Jayhya, Noresma, “A Study of the Meaning of Poverty Among the Urban Poor in Malaysia: Exploratory Research on the Gender Dimensions of Poverty”

Kusdianto, Yuyun, “The Javanese University in Uncertainty: Between Neoliberalism and Islamic Resurgence”

Mukrimin, “Moving the Kitchen: The Bugis in the Frontier World”

Nolan, Brooke, “The Enactment of Agency and Constructions of the Maternal Body: Female-Headed Households and Maternal Mortality in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia”

Prabawa-Sear, Kelsie, “How Environmental Education Contributes to Creating the Capacity for Environmentally Active Citizenship: A Study of Senior High Schools in Java, Indonesia”

Prihatningtyastuti, Endah, “Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation Management: The Effects of Gender Mainstreaming and Bureaucracy Reform in Indonesia”

Riyani, Irma, “The Silent Desire: Islam, Women’s Sexuality and the Politics of Patriarchy in Indonesia”

Riyandari, Angelika (submitted 2013) “Cultural Differences in the Representation of Women in Indonesian and Australian Internationally-Licensed Women’s Magazines”

Schut, Thijs, “Educated Young People, Rural Authorities and Village-based Reactions to Troubled Education-to-Work Transitions in Central Flores (eastern Indonesia)”

Zaw, Mee Mee “Teaching the Youth Dhamma: New Approaches in Myanmar”

Zhang, Wenwen “Transition from University to Work: Dilemmas and Challenges faced by Graduate Unemployed Youth in Shanghai, China”


Social and cultural anthropology of Indonesia
Gender relations, women and feminism, in Indonesia and cross-culturally
Environmental anthropology and education; environmentalism
Education – moral, religious, environmental; and citizenship; anthropology of education

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Anthropology Of Indonesia
  • Environmental Education
  • Poverty
  • Citizenship
  • Anthropology Of Education
  • Adolescence and courtship particularly in Indonesia
  • Anthropology of Indonesia, Bali and Minangkabau
  • Citizenship and the nation-state
  • Development, particularly in Indonesia
  • Education in Indonesia
  • Environmental issues in Indonesia and Asia
  • Environmental education, particularly in Indonesia
  • Female education, particularly in Indonesia
  • Feminism and feminist theory
  • Gender relations, particularly in Indonesia
  • Islamic education in Indonesia
  • Multiculturalism in Indonesia
  • Women in Indonesia


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