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September 6, 2017 7:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be working in Indonesia (rural Borneo). I know basically nothing about Indonesia! What are your favorite books/podcasts/movies/websites/music/resources/??? from or about Indonesian history, culture, politics?

- I'm starting Indonesian classes in a few weeks.
- I saw this previously.
posted by ChuraChura to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This won't tell you much about current events in history, but I learned a lot about mid-20th century Indonesia from watching the film The Year of Living Dangerously with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver. (Trailer.)
posted by Fukiyama at 10:07 AM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Your previously link further links to a nice FPP on how (not) to write about Indonesia, in which the comments mention Clifford Geertz and Benedict Anderson as classic sources. You might look at work by James A. Boon, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, James T. Siegel, Peggy Reeves Sanday, Peter Just, or Andrew Beatty (related FPP) as only slightly more up to date options. If you're able to express some small appreciation of their work, you could email a couple of them looking for suggestions about recent reading or folks to talk to since their contact info looks readily available and IIRC you're an anthropologist too. Googling for conjunctions of a couple of those names turned up the journal Indonesia, back issues of which appear to be free online for 2011 and years prior. I also see several recent entries on that might be interesting in themselves or connect you with younger scholars: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:29 PM on September 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

This blog is affiliated with a leading Australian university and is a great resource.

I confess I got my initial Indonesia overview from the Lonely Planet history guide. It's pretty good for a starter!

The Year of Living Dangerously is a great novel as well, though dated.

The Art of Killing is a very well regarded documentary about the same era.

Forgotten Bird of Paradise is about West Papuan issues and is v powerful.

I'm not sure how serious you are when you say you know nothing...but if you're not aware, the Indonesian archipelago hosts very varied cultures and languages. I've not been to Borneo but I've been to Sumatra, Java, Lombok and Bali and each was v different.
posted by jojobobo at 7:12 PM on September 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh also if you happen to be going to work with orangutans, the editor of Indonesia at Melbourne is a former vet who moved into policy advising/journalism who also worked in rural
Borneo with the orangutans- long ago he blogged about that experience too if you Google around for it.
posted by jojobobo at 7:18 PM on September 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

I found This Earth Of Mankind to be a great read (though I haven't read the rest of the quartet). The author is Javanese so it's centred on Java, but it deals with Dutch colonial rule and its end from an Indonesian perspective.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:10 PM on September 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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