Distinguished Professor Ien Ang

Distinguished Professor

Profile photo of Professor Ien AngDistinguished Professor Ien Ang is a Professor of Cultural Studies and was the founding Director of the Institute for Culture and Society. She is one of the leaders in cultural studies worldwide, with interdisciplinary work spanning many areas of the humanities and social sciences. Her books, including Watching Dallas, Desperately seeking the audience and On not speaking Chinese, are recognised as classics in the field and her work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Turkish, German, Korean, and Spanish. Her most recent books are Chinatown Unbound: Trans-Asian Urbanism in the Age of China (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019, co-authored with Kay Anderson et al) and Cultural diplomacy: beyond the national interest (Routledge, 2016, co-edited with Yudhishthir Raj Isar and Phillip Mar).

She is the recipient of numerous Australian Research Council grants, including a prestigious ARC Professorial Fellowship (2005-2009). She currently works on two ARC Linkage projects: The Collaborative Museum: Embedding Cultural Infrastructure in the City (with Deborah Stevenson, Malini Sur and Zelmarie Cantillon) and Diversifying the Regional Art Museum (with Veronica Tello and Salote Tawale).

As a leading scholar in the field and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, she is frequently called on for keynote addresses in Australia and internationally. She is a champion of collaborative cultural research and has worked extensively with partner organisations such as the NSW Migration Heritage Centre, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Special Broadcasting Service, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the City of Sydney and the Museum of Arts and Appliances.

Professor Ang has had the title of Distinguished Professor conferred on her by Western Sydney University in recognition of her outstanding research record and eminence. She was the first person at the University to be conferred with this honour.


  • PhD, 1990, Social and Cultural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Doctorandus/Mphil, 1982, Mass Communication, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Kandidaats/BA, 1977, Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Research Focus

Professor Ang's innovative interdisciplinary work deals broadly with patterns of cultural flow and exchange in our globalised world, focusing on issues such as:

  • the formation of audiences and publics
  • the politics of identity and difference
  • migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism
  • issues of representation in contemporary cultural institutions
  • urban cultures and the arts

Selected Awards and Recognition

  • 2022: Honorary Doctorate, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2020: Panel member of the Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise
  • 2013: Presenter, Association for Cultural Studies Summer Institute, Klagenfurt, Austria
  • 2012-2015: Chair, Expert Working Group, Asia Literacy: Language and Beyond, a project of the Securing Australia’s Future Program, Australian Council of Learned Academies for PMSEIC, through the Office of the Chief Scientist
  • 2009-2011: Member, Thematic Issues and Working Group on Knowledge Generation, Skills and Perception in a Global World, Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC)
  • 2009: Presenter, Annual Henry Mayer Lecture, University of Queensland (12 March)
  • 2008: Presenter, Annual Wertheim Lecture, Auditorium, University of Amsterdam (5 June)
  • 2008: Visiting Research Fellow, International Institute for Asian Studies, University of Leiden, Amsterdam Branch
  • 2007: Conferred title of Distinguished Professor, University of Western Sydney
  • 2006: Scholar in Residence, Scholars Program for Cultural and Communication, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2005-2009: Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowship
  • 2005: Visiting Professor, Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden, Linkoping University, Sweden
  • 2004: Visiting Professor, City University of Hong Kong
  • 2003-2004: External advisor, National Museum of Australia
  • 2003: Recipient, Centenary Medal, Australian Commonwealth Government
  • 2003: Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor, University of Bristol
  • 2002-2004: Member, International Advisory Committee, Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University
  • 2002: Australian reader, Humanities and Creative Arts panel, Australian Research Council
  • 2001-2003: Elected Member, Council of the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • 2001: Presenter of the Annual History Lecture, History Council of NSW
  • 2001: International (Non UK) Adviser, Communications, Cultural and Media Studies assessment panel, Research Assessment Exercise, United Kingdom
  • 2000: Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • 2000: Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship, National University of Singapore
  • 1999-2003: External Examiner, Cultural Studies Program, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, PRC
  • 1999-2002: Member, Reference Group for the Migration Heritage Centre, Premier's Department, State Government of New South Wales
  • 1998: Center for Cultural Studies Resident Scholarship, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • 1998: Obermann Center Research Fellowship, University of Iowa
  • 1994: Cultural Studies Research Fellowship, East West Center, Hawaii
  • 1992: Visiting Professor, University of Stockholm, Sweden
  • 1986: Fulbright Fellowship, junior scholar category, City University of New York
  • 1986-present: Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the following journals: New Formations, Cultural Studies, Continuum: Australian Journal for the Media, Cultural Studies Review, Social Semiotics, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Hecate, Feminist Media Studies, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Topia: Canadian Journal for Cultural Studies, Traces: Multilingual Journal for Cultural Theory, Ethnicities, Comparative American Studies, American Ethnologist

Selected Publications

Ang, Ien, 2022, Unruly Multiculture: Struggles for Arts and Media Diversity in the Anglophone West, Oxford Encyclopedia for Race, Ethnicity and Communication. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.1271

Ang, Ien, 2022, On the Perils of Racialized Chineseness: Race, Nation and Entangled Racisms in China and Southeast Asia, Ethnic and Racial Studies 45 (4): 757-777.

Ang, Ien, 2021, Beyond the Crisis: Transitioning to a Better World?, Cultural Studies, 35 (2-3): 598-616.

Ang, Ien, 2020, Chinatowns and the Rise of China, Modern Asian Studies, 54 (4): 1367-1393.

Ang, Ien, 2019, Museums and Cultural Diversity: A Persistent Challenge, K. Drotner, V. Dziekan, R. Parry & K.C. Schroeder (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication. London: Routledge, pp. 315-328.

Anderson, K, Ang, I, del Bono, A, McNeill, D & Wong, A. 2019, Chinatown unbound: trans-Asian urbanism in the age of China , Rowman & Littlefield, London & New York.

Ang, I 2017, 'Claiming Chinatown: Asian Australians, public art and the making of urban culture', Journal of Australian Studies, DOI: 10.1080/14443058.2017.1343252.

Ang, I 2016, 'Stuart Hall and the tension between academic and intellectual work', International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol 19, no. 1, pp. 29-41.

Ang, I, Isar, YR & Mar, P (eds) 2016, Cultural diplomacy: beyond the national interest? , Routledge, London.

Ang, I 2011, 'Navigating complexity: from cultural critique to cultural intelligence', Continuum, vol. 25, no. 6, pp. 779-94.

Ang, I 2010, 'Australia, China, and Asian regionalism: navigating distant proximity', Amerasia Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 127-40.

Ang, I, Hawkins, G & Dabboussy, L 2008, The SBS story: the challenge of cultural diversity, UNSW Press, Sydney

Ang, I 2001, On not speaking Chinese: living between Asia and the West , Routledge, London & New York.

Ang, I 1991, Desperately seeking the audience, Routledge, London & New York.

Ang, I 1985, Watching Dallas: soap opera and the melodramatic imagination, Methuen, London.

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Professor Ang spoke to the 'New Stories. Bold Legends: Stories from Sydney Lunar Festival' podcast about her life, her work, and her multicultural identity. Listen to the podcast (opens in a new window).


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