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The Australian National University

Dr Ross Tapsell

PhD (Wollongong) BA Hons (Sydney)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Gender, Media and Culture. Director, ANU Malaysia Institute
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
T: + 61 2 6125 3677

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Asian Society 169903
  • Communication Technology And Digital Media Studies 200102
  • Asian Cultural Studies 200202

Research interests

My main research interests focus on new, digital technologies and their relationship to culture, nationalism, media and politics in Island Southeast Asia, in particular Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. My ongoing research interests focus on the changing information societies of the Southeast Asian region and how this affects freedom of expression, media freedom, political participation and elections. 




Ross Tapsell is a lecturer and researcher at the ANU's College of Asia and the Pacific, specialising in media and culture in Island Southeast Asia. He is the author of Media Power in Indonesia: Oligarchs, Citizens and the Digital Revolution and co-editor of Digital Indonesia: Connectivity and Divergence

Upon completion of his PhD, Ross was a recipient of the Australian Government Endeavour Postdoctorate Award. He has been a Visiting Fellow at The University of Indonesia (Jakarta), Airlangga University (Surabaya) and Indiana University (Bloomington, US). He has previously worked in Indonesia with The Jakarta Post and the Lombok Post. 

Ross is involved in a number of Southeast-Asia activities at the ANU. He is currently Director of the ANU's Malaysia Institute. He is involved in the ANU's Indonesia Project and the academic news/analysis website New Mandala. He is also on the editorial board of the scholarly journal Asiascape: Digital Asia (Brill). 

As well as scholarly publications, Ross's articles have appeared in The Canberra Times, The Guardian, The Converstaion, Tempo, The Jakarta Post, the Malay Mail and others. 

Available student projects

If you are interested in thesis level research (Honours, Masters and PhD) on the following broad topics feel free to get in touch:

  • Indonesian studies
  • Malaysian studies
  • Island Southeast Asian society 
  • Digital technologies and their impact 
  • Communications and Media

If you are an international student looking for supervisors for a PhD in the above area, please email me with:

 - a CV which includes your tertiary education qualifications and publications. Please note that PhD placements are highly competitive, and students who have a Master degree in English at a reputable university are favoured. If you do not have a Master degree in English, the ANU's Master of Asia Pacific Studies is one option you might like to consider.

 - details of a scholarship acceptance or scholarship applications you are working on. Please note that I do not provide scholarship advice and unfortunately have no ability to provide you with a scholarship from the ANU or elsewhere. 

 - a detailed PhD proposal plan. Please note that I receive numerous PhD proposals, many of which are incomplete in explaining what exactly the student will do for 3-4 years. Please consider reading a successful PhD proposal application, which should include a research question/s, detailed 3 year plan, a discussion on why this PhD research is original and expands existing literature, why it is urgent and must be undertaken by you, and where it fits in the scholarly field you are entering.



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Updated:  24 May 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers