Spring 2008

Modern Indonesia

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-22


Doreen Lee (Section 01)


The title of the course is borrowed from Cornell University's landmark Modern Indonesia Project, situated in the Southeast Asia Program. Area Studies programs such as these were founded in the post-WWII era, and for the last 50 years have influenced US policy and regional geopolitics in Asia in significant ways. The rich body of literature generated by Western scholars (mostly Dutch and American) allows us to go beyond an area studies perspective, and to use the locality of Indonesia as a way to think through problems of colonialism, post colonialism, nationalism, the relationship of violence to the nation-state, and the margins of the nation-state. We will therefore explore the production of "Indonesia" through its history and through the ways in which our theories have represented its modernity. This course will use a number of primary sources such as archival films of the Dutch East Indies, transcripts of political speeches by early nationalists such as Sukarno, prison memoirs, and the controversial film about the 1965 Communist "Coup," "The Year of Living Dangerously" that was banned in Indonesia until recently. Limited to 25 students. Not open to first-year students. Second semester. Visiting Professor Lee.