Sites, Bodies and Stories: Imagining Indonesian History

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Edited by Susan Legêne, Bambang Purwanto and Henk Schulte Nordholt
Contributions by Susan Legêne, Henk Schulte Nordholt, Marieke Bloembergen, Martijn Eickhoff, Emilie Wellfelt, Willem Westerkamp, Fenneke Sysling, Matthew Isaac Cohen, Sadiah Boonstra, Tular Sudarmadi, I Ngurah Suryawan and Sri Margana

Sites, Bodies and Stories examines the intimate links between history and heritage as they have developed in postcolonial Indonesia. Sites discussed in the book include Borobudur in Central Java, a village in Flores built around megalithic formations, and ancestral houses in Alor. Bodies refers to legacies of physical anthropology, exhibition practices and Hollywood movies. The Stories are accounts of the Mambesak movement in Papua, the inclusion of wayang puppetry in UNESCO s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and subaltern history as written by the people of Blambangan in their search for national heroes. Throughout the book, citizenship entitlement figures as a leitmotif in heritage initiatives.

Contemporary heritage formation in Indonesia is intrinsically linked to a canon of Indonesian art and culture developed during Dutch colonial rule, institutionalized within Indonesia's heritage infrastructure and in the Netherlands, and echoed in museums and exhibitions throughout the world. The authors in this volume acknowledge colonial legacies but argue against a colonial determinism, considering instead how contemporary heritage initiatives can lead to new interpretations of the past.


"This is a book that I would highly recommend to students, academics and the general public interested in heritage issues, Indonesian history, social anthropology and cultural politics."
Keiko Miura, Waseda University
"The volume is thought provoking and turns an interdisciplinary lens on the intricacies of heritage formation in and on Indonesia..."
Ken Setiawan, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Susan Legêne is professor of Political History and Head of the Department of Art and culture, History, Antiquity at the Faculty of Humanities, VU University in Amsterdam.

Bambang Purwanto is professor of History at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

Henk Schulte Nordholt is head of research at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) in Leiden, and Professor of Indonesian History at Leiden University. His recent works published by NUS Press include Bali - An Open Fortress, 1995-2005 and Locating Southeast Asia.


Publication Year: 2015
312 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-857-7, Paperback

NUS Press