Leslie Barnes is an Associate Professor of French Studies at the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics.

Dr Barnes conducts research in 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature and film (especially Southeast Asia); gender, labour and migration; trauma and memory studies; fiction and ethnographic representation; immigrant writers and minority discourse; and contemporary metafiction.

Her current project is a comparative analysis of literary and cinematic narratives that engage with questions of sex work, mobility and human rights in Cambodia and Vietnam. Two general questions guide this project, which brings together the fields of gender and sexuality, comparative literature and film, human rights, and Southeast Asian studies: How, for whom, and under what conditions is sex work in Southeast Asia represented? How do aesthetic representations circulate within broader discursive networks, and how might the complex and unequal encounters that take place within these networks lead to new arrangements of perception and power?

Dr Barnes received her PhD in French and Francophone Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010 and has been at ANU since 2012. She is the author of Vietnam and the Colonial Condition of French Literature (Nebraska, 2014) and co-editor of The Cinema of Rithy Panh: Everything Has a Soul (Rutgers, 2021).

Fields of expertise



False representation of sex workers

Cultural and media representations of sex work often purport to educate the public about a pressing social concern.…

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