Rethinking Social Categories in Indonesian History

Tue Mar 12 2024 at 04:00 pm to 05:30 pm

Buchanan Tower | Vancouver

Institute of Asian Research
Publisher/HostInstitute of Asian Research
Rethinking Social Categories  in Indonesian History
Join us in welcoming Dr. Guo-Quan Seng and Dr. Lin Hongxuan who will discuss their newly released books.
About this Event

The talk coalesces around the themes of political ideology, religion and ethnicity, and how they intersect with women and family-making in Indonesia. Particular focus will be put on the sources and findings of the authors, who illustrate the machinations that powered everyday life in late 19th and early 20th century Indonesia and how they echo into the contemporary.

About the Speakers

Dr. Guo-Quan Seng is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. He is a historian of Chinese societies in Southeast Asia, with a special interest in race, gender, and sexuality formations in the region, and how they have been shaped by empires, migration, and global capitalism. He will discuss his book, Strangers in the Family: Gender, Patriliny, and the Chinese in Colonial Indonesia (Cornell, 2023).

Strangers in the Family provides a gendered history of settler Chinese community formation in Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period (1816–1942). At the heart of this story lies the creolization of patrilineal Confucian marital and familial norms to the colonial legal, moral, and sexual conditions of urban Java. It tells the history of community- formation from the perspective of women who were subordinate to, and alienated from, full Chinese selfhood. From native concubines and mothers, creole Chinese daughters, and wives and matriarchs, to the first generation of colonial-educated feminists, Seng showcases women’s moral agency as they negotiated, manipulated, and debated men in positions of authority over their rights in marriage formation and dissolution.

Dr. Lin Hongxuan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on conciliations of Islam and Marxism in the Malay Archipelago and South Asia, but is expanding to include the production and circulation of progressive Islamic ideas across the Indian Ocean in the twentieth century. He will discuss his book, Ummah Yet Proletariat: Islam, Marxism and the Making of the Indonesian Republic (Oxford, 2023).

Ummah Yet Proletariat explores the relationship between Islam and Marxism in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and Indonesia from the 1910s to the 1965-66 massacres. Lin demonstrates how, in contrast to state-driven narratives, Muslim identity and Marxist analytical frameworks coexisted in Indonesian minds, as well as how individuals’ Islamic faith shaped their openness to Marxist ideas. Examining Indonesian-language print culture, including newspapers, books, pamphlets, memoirs, letters, novels, plays, and poetry, Lin shows how deeply embedded the confluences of Islam and Marxism were in the Indonesian nationalist project.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Buchanan Tower, 1873 East Mall, Vancouver, Canada


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