Professor Lyn Parker

Started at UWA: 1997

Sociocultural anthropologist specialising in contemporary Indonesian culture and society 

Doing the first ever research on how to educate Indonesian young people about the environment feels important.Professor Lyn Parker

Professor Lyn Parker is a sociocultural anthropologist and researcher specialising in contemporary Indonesian culture and society, environmental problems and gender issues at the UWA School of Social Sciences. Her main research interests are the anthropology of Indonesia, women and gender relations, education and the environment. 

Her interest in Indonesia flourished during her high school years when she enrolled in an Indonesian language class, the first Indonesian class taught in schools in New South Wales. She acknowledges that if Hindu, Urdu or Sanskrit had been offered, her career could have taken a different trajectory, studying and researching in India. Lyn did not foresee that she would combine her love for the Indonesian language with the culture and become an anthropologist, until she had finished her honours year at Australian National University (ANU). Following her tertiary education, Lyn conducted doctoral fieldwork in east Bali in 1980–81, studying the integration of a pre-colonial kingdom into the Indonesian nation-state. This was when she became interested in education and its role in citizen creation. 

Professor Parker is currently completing a book about how Indonesia is (and isn’t) educating children and young people on how to be good environmental citizens, which is a deeply saddening but important study. Lyn believes her research is critical when considering the many serious environmental problems – air and marine pollution, loss of habitat and loss of biodiversity in the region – as well as lack of knowledge about these problems. She wishes to inspire young people, to learn about human-environment interactions and motivate them to learn how to prevent environmental problems and solve existing ones.  

Recently, Professor Parker organised a series of research training workshops in Indonesian universities in response to the rapidly growing Indonesian economy and the need for academic research training and improvement to the Indonesian education system, essential to building a skilled workforce. Lyn is also focused on developing engagement between UWA and Indonesian tertiary institutions, particularly in East Java. 


  • BA (Asian Studies) (Hons), Australian National University
  • PhD (Anthropology), Australian National University 

External positions:

  • Visiting Professor, Universitas Airlangga, Surabaya, Indonesia

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Awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Research Supervision (2012)

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Awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Research Supervision (2006)


Professor Lyn Parker has received multiple research grants over the course of her career. 
2013-2015 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant
‘Fostering Pro-Environment Consciousness and Practice: Environmentalism, Environmentality and Environmental Education in Indonesia’ $580,000
2013 UWA-UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award
‘The Stigmatisation of Widows and Divorcees (Janda) in Indonesian Society’ $18,000
2009–2011 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant DP
‘Education for a Tolerant and Multicultural Indonesia’ $440,000
2006–2009 Australia Research Council Discovery Grant
‘Ambivalent Adolescents in Indonesia’ $410,000
2009 AIGRP (Australian Indonesian Governance Research Partnership) Grant
‘Madrasah Governance and its Effectiveness’ $60,000


Professor Lyn Parker ensures her classes involve highly interactive discussions. She hopes to create safe, friendly spaces in which students feel free to discuss their ideas, ask questions, wonder and think independently about the issues raised in readings.

Lyn currently uses her knowledge to teach honours and master’s-level units specifically – ASIA5001 Key Debates in the Asian Region alongside Associate Professor Stephen Dobbs. She is also part of the EcoPeoPle Research Cluster in the UWA School of Social Sciences. 

Current projects

Education for a tolerant and multicultural Indonesia (ARCDG, 2009–)
The recent shift towards fundamentalist Islam and upsurge in religious and ethnic conflict in Indonesia are matters of great significance for Australia. This project will contribute towards a multicultural and peaceful Indonesia through the study of education in Indonesia. We will study how the education system has created loyal Indonesian citizens as well as local ethnic and religious identities, and analyse the prospects for multicultural citizenship education. Australia has been a world leader in expertise on Indonesia; we need projects like this to train junior scholars and thus sustain Australia’s international reputation for excellence in Indonesian Studies into the future.
Fostering Pro-environment consciousness and practice: Environmentalism, environmentality and environmental education in Indonesia (ARCDG, 2013–)
This project aims to foster environmental awareness in Indonesia by investigating how some people have become environmentally aware, and by evaluating various environmental education and activism projects. We will identify types of education that have proven effective, analyse the reasons for their efficacy and make recommendations accordingly.
Understanding social, economic and health vulnerabilities in Indonesia (ARCDG, 2017–) ​

Although Indonesia is developing rapidly, around half the population is still clustered around the poverty line, contributing to their vulnerability. This project will identify key vulnerable groups and the factors and conditions contributing to their vulnerability. Using a common framework of the life course in eight field sites across Indonesia, this multidisciplinary team will investigate the effectiveness of social networks and welfare programs in reducing vulnerability, and pinpoint strategies for reducing vulnerabilities in the future. The resulting publications will show how vulnerable citizens in Indonesia can be made more secure, helping to build a more stable and prosperous region.

Published books

  1. Environmental Education in Indonesia: Creating Responsible Citizens in the Global South, co-authored with Kelsie Prabawa-Sear, Routledge, 2019.

  2. From Subjects to Citizens: Balinese Villagers in the Indonesian Nation-State. Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2003.

Supervisor opportunities

Professor Lyn Parker has been a supervisor at UWA since 1998. Her first PhD student was Sharyn Graham Davies, an Associate Professor at the Auckland University of Technology. Both Professor Parker and Sharyn Graham Davies travelled to the University of Tasmania to work on a ‘gender’ project in Indonesia. 

Supervising topics: 

  • ‘The Impact of Culture on Environmental Education in Java, Indonesia’
  • ‘The Silent Desire: Islam, Women’s Sexuality and the Politics of Patriarchy in Indonesia’
  • ‘Islamic Popular Culture and the New Identity of Indonesian Muslims: Investigating the Consumption of Islamic Popular Culture’ 
  • ‘Educated Young People, Rural Authorities and Village-based Reactions to Troubled Education-to-Work Transitions in Central Flores (eastern Indonesia)’ 
  • ‘Transition from University to Work: Dilemmas and Challenges faced by Graduate Unemployed Youth in Shanghai, China’

Contact Professor Lyn Parker

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Research repository

Read more about Professor Parker

Research repository