Photograph of Professor Martin Barker.Professor Martin Barker

Emeritus Professor
BA Philosophy (Liverpool) 1967, DPhil Cultural Studies (University of the West of England) 1993


Phone: 01970 622828
Fax: 01970 622831


Emeritus Professor of Film and Television Studie


In the last two decades the primary focus of my research has been on film audiences. My research has covered audience responses to, and understandings of, films as diverse as Judge Dredd, Crash, Straw Dogs, and Being John Malkovich. I directed the international project on the reception of the film of The Lord of the Rings, and most recently directed a project funded by the British Board of Film Classification into audience responses to screened sexual violence. I have side-line interests in a range of topics, including such topics as the history of the Iwo Jima image, and film failures. I also retain an active interest in various aspects of film history and textual form, and continue to collaborate with Roger Sabin (University of the Arts, London) into the continuing history of Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. I was founder, and am co-editor (with Sue Turnbull, LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia) of the online audience studies journal Participations.

I have been engaged in work within the broad cultural studies sphere since 1969, at various times exploring the cultural and ideological aspects of racism, and children’s comics, addressing curricular issues in the field, and engaging in debates on topics around censorship, the control of culture, and the operation of ‘figures of the audience’ within public and policy debates.


Martin Barker took up his post as Professor of Film and Television Studies in January 2001. He has previously worked for 29 years at the University of the West of England, where he became Head of School of Cultural Studies, and then for two years as Reader in Media Studies at the University of Sussex.



  • The New Racism: Conservatives and the Ideology of the Tribe, London: Junction Books 1981
  • A Haunt of Fears: the Strange History of the British Horror Comics Campaign, Pluto Press 1984
  • The Video Nasties: Freedom and Censorship in the Arts (edited and contributed), Pluto Press1984
  • Comics: Ideology, Power and the Critics, Manchester University Press 1989.
  • Action: The Story of a Violent Comic, Titan Books 1990.
  • (with Anne Beezer) editor and contributor, Reading into Cultural Studies, Routledge 1992.
  • (with Roger Sabin) The Lasting of the Mohicans: History of an American Myth, University Press of Mississippi 1996.
  • (with Julian Petley, edited and contributed) Ill Effects: the Media-Violence Debate, Routledge 1997 [revised second edition published April 2001].
  • (with Kate Brooks) Knowing Audiences: Judge Dredd, its Friends, Fans and Foes, University of Luton Press 1998.
  • From Antz To Titanic: Reinventing Film Analysis (with a contribution by Thomas Austin), Pluto Press 2000
  • (with Jane Arthurs and Ramaswami Harindranath) The Crash Controversy: Censorship Campaigns and Film Reception, London: Wallflower Press 2001
  • (with Thomas Austin), ed. Contemporary Hollywood Stardom, London: Arnold 2003
  • (with Ernest Mathijs, edited and contributed) Watching the Lord of the Rings: Tolkien’s World Audiences, NY: Peter Lang 2007.

Articles and essays

  • ‘Kant as a problem for Weber’, British Journal of Sociology, 31:2, 1980, pp. 224-45.
  • ‘Human biology and the possibility of socialism’, in John Mepham & D-H Ruben (eds.), Issues in Marxist Philosophy: Vol. 4, Harvester 1981, pp. 43-82.
  • ‘Biology and ideology: the uses of reductionism’, in Steven Rose (ed.), Against Biological Determinism, Allison & Busby 1982, pp.9-29
  • ‘Empiricism and racism’, Radical Philosophy, 33, Spring 1983, pp. 6-15.
  • (with Anne Beezer and Jean Grimshaw, ‘Methods for cultural studies students’, in David Punter (ed.), Introduction to Contemporary Cultural Studies, Longman 1983
  • (with Anne Beezer) ‘Scarman and the language of racism’, International Socialism, 18, Winter 1983, pp. 108-25.
  • ‘Mass media studies and the question of ideology’, Radical Philosophy, 46, Summer 1987, pp. 27-33.
  • ‘Television and the miners’ strike’, Media, Culture & Society, 10:1, January 1988, pp. 107-112.
  • ‘Lost directions? Cultural studies and the turn to ethnography’, Keynote Address published in Brian Musgrove & Rebecca Snow-McLean (eds.), Signifying Others: Selected Papers from the Second Cultural Studies Association of Australia Conference, University of South Queensland Press 1992, pp.1-6.
  • ‘On seeing how far you can see: the fans of “Judge Dredd”’, in David Buckingham (ed.), Reading Audiences: Young People and the Media, Manchester UP 1993, pp. 159-83.
  • ‘Drawing attention to the image: computers and comics’, in Martin Lister (ed.), The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, Routledge 1995, pp. 188-213.
  • ‘Very nearly in front of the children: the story of Alternity’, in Cary Bazalgette & David Buckingham (eds.), In Front Of The Children: Screen Entertainment and Young Audiences, BFI 1995, pp. 201-16.
  • ‘Violence’, Sight & Sound, June 1995, pp. 10-14.
  • ‘Taking the extreme case: understanding a fascist fan of Judge Dredd’, in Deborah Cartmell et al (eds.), Trash Aesthetics: Popular Culture and its Audience, London: Pluto Press 1997, pp.14-30.
  • ‘Audiences R Us’, and (with Kate Brooks) ‘On looking into Bourdieu’s black box’, in R Dickinson, Olga Linné & Ramaswami Harindranath (eds.), Approaches to Audiences, Arnold 1998.
  • (with Kate Brooks) ‘Bleak futures by proxy’, in Richard Maltby & Melvyn Stokes (eds.), Identifying Hollywood’s Audiences: Cultural Identity and the Movies, London: BFI 1999.
  • ‘Film audience research: making a virtue out of necessity, IRIS (French/American Film Journal), 26, 1998, pp. 131-48.
  • ‘Getting a conviction: or, how the British horror comics campaign only just succeeded’, and ‘Fredric Wertham – the sad case of the unhappy humanist’, both in John A. Lent (ed.), Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of the Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 1999.
  • (with Thomas Austin), Reply to Brereton’s review of From Antz To Titanic, Film-Philosophy, Vol. 4, No. 27, November 2000
  • ‘Introduction: from bad research to good – a guide to the perplexed’ (with Julian Petley, pp. 1-26) and ‘On the problems of being a “trendy travesty”’ (pp. 202-24), in Martin Barker & Julian Petley (eds.), Ill Effects: The Media/Violence Debate (2nd edition), London: Routledge 2001.
  • ‘Reflections on “The Problems with Racism”’ (along with a republished chapter from The New Racism) in Philomena Essed & David Theo Goldberg (eds.), Race Critical Theories: Text and Context, Oxford: Basil Blackwell 2001, pp. 471-80.
  • ‘Kicked into the Gutters: or, “My Dad doesn’t read comics, he studies them”’, International Journal of Comic Art, March 2002.
  • ‘Crashing out’, Screen, 43:1, Spring 2002, pp. 74-8.
  • ‘The Newson Report: A case study in “common-sense”’, (reprinted from Ill Effects) in Will Brooker & Deborah Jermyn (eds.), The Audience Studies Reader, London: Routledge 2003, pp. 74-90.
  • ‘Crash, theatre audiences, and the idea of “liveness”’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 23:1, 2003, pp. 21-39.
  • ‘Assessing the “quality” in qualitative research: the case of text-audience relations’, European Journal of Communication, 18:3, 2003, pp. 315-35.
  • ‘Violence redux’, in Steven Jay Schneider (ed), New Hollywood Violence, Manchester: Manchester University Press 2004, pp. 57-79.
  • ‘News, Reviews, Clues, Interviews and Other Ancillary Materials – a Critique and Research Proposal’, Scope: on-line Film Studies Journal, February 2004, included subsequently in Scope Reader, 2007.
  • The Lord of the Rings and “identification”: a critical encounter’, European Journal of Communication, 20:3, 2005, pp. 353-78.
  • (with Ernest Mathijs) ‘Understanding vernacular experiences of film in an academic environment’, Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education, 4:1, 2005, pp. 49-71.
  • (with Kate Egan & Ernest Mathijs) ‘De mondiale receptievan The Lord of the Rings; een methodologische uitdaging’, Tijdschrift voor Communiatiewetenschap, 34:1, 2006, pp. 7-27.
  • ‘I have seen the future and it is not here yet…; or, on being ambitious for audience research’, simultaneously published in Isabelle Charpentier (ed.), Comment sont Rec┼│es les Oeuvres?, Paris: Creaphis 2006, pp. 27-42, and The Communication Review, 9:2, 2006, pp. 123-41.
  • (with Ernest Mathijs & Xavier Mendik), ‘Menstrual monsters: the reception of the Ginger Snaps cult horror franchise’, Film International, Issue 21, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2006, pp. 68-77.
  • ‘On being a 1960s Tolkien reader’, in Ernest Mathijs & Murray Pomerance (eds.), From Hobbits to Hollywood: Essays on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, Amsterdam: Rodopi 2006, pp. 81-100.
  • ‘Making Middle-earth Sound Real: the Cultural Politics of the BBC Radio Edition’, in Ernest Mathijs (ed.), The Lord of the Rings: Popular Culture in Global Context, London: Wallflower Press 2006, pp. 61-70.
  • ‘Envisaging “Visualisation”: some lessons from the Lord of the Rings project’, Film-Philosophy – online Journal, 10:3, December 2006, pp. 1-25.
  • ‘A Very American Fable: the Making of a Mohicans Adaptation’ (with Roger Sabin), in R Barton Palmer (ed.), 19th Century American Fiction on Screen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 9-28.
  • (with Ernest Mathijs), ‘Seeing The Promised Land From Afar: The Perception of New Zealand by Overseas The Lord of the Rings Audiences’, in Adam Lam & Nataliya Oryshchuk (eds.), How We Became Middle-earth: A Collection of Essays on The Lord of the Rings, Switzerland: Walking Tree Publications 2007, pp. 10-28.
  • (with Kate Egan, Ernest Mathijs, Jamie Sexton, Russ Hunter, and Melanie Selfe, ‘Audiences and Receptions for Sexual Violence in Contemporary Cinema’, Report to the British Board of Film Classification on completion of funded research project, March 2007.
  • ‘Analysing Discourse’, in Mike Pickering (ed), Research Methods for Cultural Studies, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2008, pp. 150-72.
  • ‘The Pleasures of Watching an “Off-beat” Film: the Case of Being John Malkovich’, Scope, June 2008.


PhD Supervision