|Associate Professor Michael Barr has been elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in recognition of his distinguished achievements in the politics and society of modern Singapore, and international relations of Southeast Asia.
The appointment is the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia, and comes hot on the heels of Associate Professor Barr’s latest book, Singapore: A Modern History.
An internationally recognised expert on the history, politics and society of modern Singapore, Associate Professor Barr’s interests include international relations, politics and religion in the broader Asian region. He has won numerous accolades, published many papers and books, and was Editor-in-Chief of Asian Studies Review from 2012-2017 (of which he is now Associate Editor.)
In a series of studies, Associate Professor Barr has shown how Singapore’s People’s Action Party, under the direction of the Lee family, applied elite politics, education, language policy and Chinese ‘ethno-nationalism’ to construct Singaporean society as progressive and multicultural, while enforcing authoritarian control.
In a statement congratulating the 19 newly elected Fellows, President of the Academy, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA, summarised the value of their contributions: “The work of the humanities is central to our culture, to our identity and to our future.
“Understanding the histories, heritages, languages and cultures of our own people, and of those around the world, will enable Australia to thrive in an ever changing and dynamic world.”