Barton, Greg 1962-
Barton, Greg 1962-
Born 1962. Education: Monash University, Ph.D., 1995.
Office—Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia; fax: 61-03-990-52410. E-mail—[email protected]
Academic. Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia, lecturer, then senior lecturer, then associate professor of politics, 1993-2005; Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu, HI, associate professor, 2006-07, adjunct professor, 2007—; Monash University, Caulfield, Victoria, Australia, Herb Feith Research Professor for the Study of Indonesia, 2007—.
(Editor, with Damien Kingsbury) Difference and Tolerance: Human Rights Issues in Southeast Asia, Deakin University Press (Geelong, Victoria, Australia), 1994.
(Editor, with Greg Fealy) Nahdlatul Ulama, Traditional Islam, and Modernity in Indonesia, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University (Clayton, Victoria, Australia), 1996.
Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia: Pemikiran Neo-Modernisme Nucholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahib, dan Abdurrahman Wahid, 1968-1980 (title means "Liberal Islamic Thought in Indonesia: Neomodernist Thoughts of Nurcholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahid, and Abdurrahman Wahid, 1968-1980"), Paramadina (Jakarta, Indonesia), 1999.
Neraca Gus Dur di Panggung Kekuasaan, edited by Khamami Zada, Lakpesdam (Jakarta, Indonesia), 2002.
Gus Dur: The Authorized Biography of Abdurrahman Wahid, Equinox (Jakarta, Indonesia), 2002.
Indonesia's Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Soul of Islam, University of New South Wales Press (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.
Jemaah Islamiyah: Radical Islamism in Indonesia, Ridge Books (Singapore), 2005.
Contributor of chapters to various academic books. Contributor to periodicals, including Sydney Morning Herald, Australian, Australian Financial Review, Herald Sun, Asia Week, Dissent, Eureka Street, Diplomat, Courier Mail, Canberra Times, Review, Newcastle Herald, Inside Indonesia, Ummat, Jakarta Post, Jawa Pos, and Melbourne's Age. Contributor to academic journals, including [email protected], Jew-ish Political Studies Review, Pacifica Review: Peace, Security, and Global Change, Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, and Studia Islamika.
Greg Barton is an Australian academic. While lecturing at nearby Deakin University, Barton completed a Ph.D. from Monash University in 1995. At Deakin, he became an associate professor of politics by the time he left the university in 2005. He served as an associate professor at the Honolulu-based Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies from 2006 to 2007, after which he served as an adjunct professor. He returned to Australia that year and accepted the position of Herb Feith Research Professor for the Study of Indonesia at his alma mater, Monash University.
Barton is a regular contributor to academic journals, periodicals, and scholarly books on politics, Indonesia, and Islam. He is frequently sought after by national news agencies for interviews and comments on regional and world affairs. Barton published his first book, Difference and Tolerance: Human Rights Issues in Southeast Asia, in 1994, a study that he edited with Damien Kingsbury. Barton published his second book, edited with Greg Fealy, Nahdlatul Ulama, Traditional Islam, and Modernity in Indonesia, just two years later. Barton has also published books in Indonesian.
In 2002, Barton published Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: A View from the Inside. The authorized biography of Indonesia's fourth president was written during Wahid's time as president and draws stories from years of friendship between the two men. Barton claims the book is told from Wahid's own perspective on events of his life, including his childhood, his ascension to become head of the largest Muslim organization in the world, and his meteoric rise and fall from the presidency of the country.
Nico Harjanto, reviewing the biography in Jakarta's Antara Kita, found that the final section of the biography "is likely the most valuable contribution of this book for understanding better the Indonesian political drama before the economic crisis, during the downfall of Soeharto and early reform era, and during rapid political changes in Wahid presidency era. Barton's closeness with Wahid makes this part not only rich in detail but can be also counted on for its precision." Harjanto added that "there are many lessons from Wahid's political life" to be learned throughout the book. He noted, however, that "this authorized biography lacks proper explanations about some of Wahid's controversies such as the trip to Israel, decision to fire and select some key ministers in his cabinet, and accusations of extra-marital or political scandals." Michael D. Barr, writing in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, remarked that Barton "has still produced an important, informative biography" despite being such close, personal friends with Wahid. Barr noted that Barton "has offered the reader a fairly straightforward account of Abdurrahman Wahid's life and career. The result provides the reader with many insights into his subject, but leaves many obvious questions begging for an answer, or even a substantial comment." Steven Drakeley, writing in Pacific Affairs, found that friendship to be an asset for the biography, commenting that Barton "is able to draw upon years of intimate conversations as well as formal interviews when offering insights into Abdurrahman's thinking and actions. Moreover, he was a witness to a number of important events, including many from the twenty-one months of Abdurrahman's troubled presidency." For Drakeley, this strength also turned out to be the biography's biggest weakness, noting that the "account is overly sympathetic to" Wahid, though it is "not totally lacking in objectivity."
Barton published Indonesia's Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Soul of Islam in 2004. The book examines the history of Jemaah Islamiyah and its founders; Jemaah Islamiyah is a widely recognized extremist group looking to create a pan-Islamic caliphate across Southeast Asia. Barton shows the conflict between this small but vocal group and like-minded organizations, with that of the secular majority of Indonesia. He also discusses the events surrounding the Bali bomb attack in 2002 that killed hundreds of mostly Western tourists and clarifies how it was not only an eye-opening disaster for the countries of those victims, but for Indonesia itself in accepting that it had radical elements operating in its borders beyond the control of the government.
Gary LaMoshi, writing in Hong Kong's Asia Times, said that the book "presents a clear-eyed analysis of Islam's involvement in Indonesian politics and terrorism, avoiding simple generalizations." LaMoshi concluded by saying that "Barton points out that, in the war for Indonesia's soul, the Islamists are better equipped and more aggressive than liberal Muslims. That's hardly surprising: zealots who see the world in black and white tend to be more fanatical than those who detect nuance and accept different views. Barton's straightforward book reveals where radical Islam stands in this nation with key strategic geopolitical and theological-political roles, placing Islamists closer to Indonesia's center than most choose to believe." Mohd Asim Siddiqui, writing in Future Islam, observed that "the book rejects [Samuel] Huntington's clash-of-civilization thesis…. However, Barton does not find faults with American excesses in Afghanistan and Iraq and its role in patronizing the oppressive policies of Israel. It can be argued that one very important reason for the rise of fundamentalist variety of Islam in recent years is the foreign policies of US particularly its active support for Israel." Overall, he concluded that "the book does succeed in presenting some perspectives on Indonesian Islam." Jean Gelman Taylor, writing in the Australian Humanities Review, noted that "Barton overlooks local causes for local conflicts and argues that the root cause lies in the impossibility of reconciling demands for a religiously tolerant state with demands for a state based on Islamic law." Taylor commented that Indonesia's Struggle calls "for an Australian readership, especially now that Indonesian language and history studies are dying in Australia's universities. Students' distaste for learning about our most important neighbour needs to be counteracted by engagement with issues that dominate the lives of our neighbours," adding that his "book speaks directly to our fears." Andrew T.H. Tan, writing in Pacific Affairs, observed that Indonesia's Struggle is "written simply, directly, and in a language people can understand." Tan concluded that Barton's "attempt to marry popular accessibility and intellectual discourse is largely a successful one, resulting in a short book that is informative and easy to read due to its succinct and economic use of language, yet is also sufficiently intellectual and analytical to educate and challenge. If only all academic books were written this way."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Antara Kita (Jakarta, Indonesia), September 26, 2003, Nico Harjanto, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: A View from the Inside.
Asia Times (Hong Kong, China), December 11, 2004, Gary LaMoshi, review of Indonesia's Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah and the Soul of Islam.
Australian Humanities Review, December, 2005, Jean Gelman Taylor, review of Indonesia's Struggle.
Australian Journal of Politics and History, March, 2006, Michael D. Barr, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President, p. 157.
Journal of Asian Studies, February, 2004, William H. Frederick, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President, p. 247.
Law Society Journal, April, 2003, Chris Sidoti, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President, p. 84.
Pacific Affairs, spring, 2004, Steven Drakeley, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President, p. 152; spring, 2006, Andrew T.H. Tan, review of Jemaah Islamiyah: Radical Islamism in Indonesia, p. 149.
Times Literary Supplement, May 16, 2003, Tim Harper, review of Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President, p. 24.
Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies Web site,http://www.apcss.org/ (March 7, 2008), author profile.
Centre for Muslim Minorities & Islam Policy Studies, Monash University Web site,http://arts.monash.edu.au/politics/cmmips/ (March 7, 2008), author profile.
Future Islam,http://www.futureislam.com/ (January 11, 2006), Mohd Asim Siddiqui, review of Indonesia's Struggle.