Research Profile: A fearless fascination

April 15, 2017

Dr Jacqui Baker is an expert on power and politics in Indonesia.

Fearless is a word that comes to mind when you meet Dr Jacqui Baker.

The sentiment is evident in her ABC Radio National documentary Eat Pray Mourn: Crime and Punishment in Jakarta, a blunt look at life in the slums, vigilante justice and human perseverance.

“At the heart of my research is an exploration of how power is negotiated in Indonesia, including police corruption and the somewhat blurry line between certain state actors and criminal interests,” she said.

Despite this often dark focus, her relationship with the country is much more ambiguous, with frustration offset by a fascination which began as an undergraduate.

“I first went to Yogyakarta on exchange through the Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) Study Indonesia program, founded at Murdoch by Professor David Hill,” she said.

“I became infused with, and infected by, the country, with its chaos and colour and the life of the people, who were entering a new political life after the fall of Suharto.”

Following a PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Dr Baker embraced a position with Murdoch’s Asia Research Centre (ARC).

“There is a deep and established academic canon of thought at the ARC, one crafted and nurtured over the past 25 years. I feel part of a living legacy.”


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