Indonesia, Vol. 108, October 2019

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    Review of A Genealogy of Islamic Feminism: Pattern and Change in Indonesia
    van Doorn-Harder, Nelly (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Review of Living in the Stone Age: Reflections on the Origins of a Colonial Fantasy
    Kusumaryati, Veronika (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Review of In Sickness and In Wealth: Migration, Gendered Morality, and Central Java
    Hertzman. Emily (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Review of Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia
    Tapsell, Ross (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Review of Indonesia: Twenty Years of Democracy
    Pepinsky. Thomas (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Review of Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia: Women’s Rights Movements, Religious Resurgence, and Local Traditions
    Atkinson, Jane Monnig (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Sukarno’s Nuclear Ambitions and China: Documents from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives
    Zhou, Taomo (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
    Inspired by China’s 1964 demonstration of its nuclear capability, Indonesian President Sukarno attempted to direct Indonesia’s nuclear program toward military use. Sukarno’s openly expressed nuclear ambition shocked foreign leaders and officials and created a longstanding mystery about whether China (PRC) exported its nuclear technologies at that time. Through unpacking three sets of contemporaneous Chinese archival materials, this article unveils the details of Indonesian research and military personnel visits to PRC nuclear sites and the nature of bilateral political and academic discussions on nuclear weapons. It argues that, while there was no movement of nuclear fuel or hardware between the two countries, Sino-Indonesian exchanges reveal the fluidity of individual political players’ ideologies (including those of left-leaning politicians, anticommunists, and neutralists), the complexity of bilateral relations, and the paradoxical quality of Third World solidarity in the atomic age. Many of the military and technical experts who approached Beijing for nuclear aid peacefully transitioned into the Suharto era and achieved personal success, quite unlike the experiences of “pro-China” Indonesian politicians who weren’t favorably associated with the nuclear program. Ideological fissures persisted between the two countries even when they shared substantial mutual interests in the short term. But those schisms sometimes appeared to be invisible to the United States and Soviet Union, which at the time were anxious to rein in potential nuclear proliferators in the Third World, and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Vietnam.
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    Review of Continuity and Change after Indonesia’s Reforms: Contributions to an Ongoing Assessment
    Davidson, Jamie S. (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
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    Djakarta in 1952–53: A Moment of Nation-building Optimism
    Reid, Anthony (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
    This semi-autobiographical paper has two sources: the official written record of the author’s father, John S. Reid, the first United Nations Resident Representative in Indonesia (1952–53); and the author’s memory of his teenage expat life there, stimulated by the discovery of his sister’s Djakarta diary (written when she was sixteen years old and he was thirteen). The author’s archival research regarding John Reid’s diplomatic assignment revealed something of the idealistic but ad hoc beginnings of international aid programs for Indonesia, notably through the United Nations. The cabinets of prime ministers Wilopo (1952–53) and Ali Sastroamidjojo (1953–55) were awash with high hopes of building a modern state. Reid was impressed at the way postcolonial nation-building had thrust a talented but tiny Dutch-educated elite into high office, and also by their enthusiasm for “disinterested and effective” United Nations assistance—as compared to the large number of retained Dutch officials and overbearing American newcomers who seemed to serve only their own national interests. Reid saw vocational and technical education as the most urgent priority, although Indonesia’s leaders appeared to stress transmigration and agriculture, and Reid was careful not to criticize these. Despite the challenges and limited resources, Reid’s enthusiasm was unabated and shines through both his official report and his memoirs of much later. As recounted in this narrative, much of what Reid accomplished and attempted was unorthodox and surprising. At the same time, his young family’s circumstance was turned on its head for both good and bad, for hardship and enjoyment. Complementing Reid’s story are his children’s firsthand accounts of moving and settling in; learning, playing, and traveling; and navigating cultural differences.
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    The Fingertips of Government: Forest Fires and the Shifting Allegiance of Indonesia’s State Officials
    Ansori, Sofyan (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-10)
    This paper explicates the dynamics between low-ranking state officials and indigenous people to address a broader question of why state interventions are unable to curtail Indonesia’s intentionally set forest fires. This study was conducted in 2015 and 2016 at the former site of Indonesia’s Mega Rice Project in Central Kalimantan. The research deployed an ethnographic approach comprising participant observation of people’s actions in both farming and forest areas and interviews with more than seventy-five people, including farmers, fishers, loggers, hunters, and state officials at the subdistrict and village levels. The findings show that state interventions have been ineffective because the allegiance of low-ranking officials has shifted from serving the state to accommodating society. Such officials demonstrate defiance of the state by “allowing” people—in many cases, the officials’ neighbors, friends, and family—to set “unnoticed” fires in forest and farming areas. The author argues that the shift is driven in part by the conditions under which state officials must work locally to prevent fire events, including unfunded state policies, problematic enforcement, and disempowering bureaucracy on the one hand, and formidable socio-cultural pressure on the other. These dynamics contribute to a dissonance that influences officials’ positionality; the officials, in turn, use their (limited) power to stand with society (or at least stand out of the way), the result of which is an undermining of the state’s fire-prevention strategies.