University of Western Australia: Top researcher elected to prestigious national academy

Leading socio-cultural anthropologist Professor Lyn Parker from The University of Western Australia is one of 37 eminent social scientists from across Australia to be elected new Fellows of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Emerita Professor Parker, who has been an academic at UWA since 1998 and specialises in researching contemporary Indonesian culture, women and gender relations, education and the environment, said she was thrilled to be elected a Fellow.

Her interests in Indonesia flourished during high school when she enrolled in an Indonesian language class, the first of its kind taught in schools in her home state of New South Wales.

“I was able to combine my love for Indonesian language and culture and become an anthropologist after finishing Honours at the Australian National University (ANU); conducting my doctoral fieldwork in Bali,” Professor Parker said.

“It was here, while studying the integration of a pre-colonial kingdom into the Indonesian nation-state, that I became interested in education and its role in citizen creation.”

Professor Parker believes her research is critical when considering the many serious environmental problems – including air and marine pollution, loss of habitat and loss of biodiversity – in the region, as well as the lack of knowledge about these problems.

“I want to continue to inspire young people to learn about human-environment interactions and motivate them to learn how to prevent and mitigate environmental problems,” she said.

President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia Professor Jane Hall congratulated the new Fellows on their election, saying “they are at the forefront of social research and policy, and have made enormous contributions to our society as a whole”.

“It is an honour to have these individuals as new Fellows of the Academy,” Professor Hall said.

The social sciences are concerned with the functioning and structure of society and include the disciplines of anthropology, demography, geography, linguistics, sociology, management, accounting, economics and economic history, marketing, statistics, history, law, philosophy, political science, education, psychology, and health sciences.

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