Indonesia Inquiry

Protests in Indonesia (Annotated Bibliography)

November 3, 2014 Annotated Bibliographies Data Research Resources 0

Protests in Indonesia (Annotated Bibliography)

Compiled by: Regina Salinas

Directed Individual Study, Fall 2014

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Aspinall, Edward. 2005 “Indonesia: Moral Force Politics and the Struggle against Authoritarianism.” In Student Activism in Asia: Between Protest and Powerlessness. eds. Meredith Leigh Weiss and Edward Aspinall. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 153-180.

The chapter argues that student activistism in Indonesia has been intimately linked to the history of authoritarianism. In fact, it proposes that the Indonesian student movement (as opposed to activism by students) was basically a product of high authoritarian period in modern Indonesian history.

Aspinall, Edward. 2009. Islam and Nation: Separatist Rebellion in Aceh, Indonesia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with nationalist leaders, activists and guerillas, Aspinall reveals how the Free Aceh Movement went from being a quixotic fantasy to a guerilla army in the space of a generation, leading to a bitter conflict in which thousands perished. And by exploring the complex relationship between Islam and nationalism, Aspinall also explains how a society famed for its Islamic piety gave rise to a guerilla movement that ended up rejecting the Islamic goals of its forebears.

Beers, Steve. 2013. “Thinking Globally, Framing Locally: International Discourses and Labor Organizing in Indonesia.” Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies/Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Südostasienwissenschaften 6 (June): 120-139.

In the final decade of the New Order regime, Indonesian labor activists turned to international organizations as a key ally in the dangerous work of challenging the state-controlled labor regime. As the political context has become more open, international organizations have continued to play an important role in the labor movement. This paper examines the changing role of transnational labor activism in democratic Indonesia. First, the paper describes the emergence of the discourse of global labor rights in response to the challenges of globalization. It then sketches the historical relationship between the Indonesian state, the labor movement, and international activists. Finally, the paper examines an internationally supported union organizing campaign. Drawing upon the literature on discursive framing, the case suggests that while internationally circulating, rights-based discourses remain an important resource for domestic activists, such discourses must be translated and modified for the local political context.

Belford, Aubrey. 2014. New York Times. “Thousands Rally to Press for Independence From Indonesia” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/global/indonesia-budget-fuel-prices.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A15%22%7D&_r=0 August 2. (October 19, 2014).

Thousands of people rallied for independence from Indonesia in the country’s Papua region on Tuesday, after days of political violence that killed at least 21 people.

Bender, Jeremy. 2014. Business Insider. “Indonesian Islamists Protest Rise of Christian to Jakarta Governor” http://www.businessinsider.com/protests-rock-indonesia-2014-8 August 22. (October 19, 2014).

Thousands of protesters in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta clashed with upwards of 50,000 police and military personnel as the nation’s highest court supported the outcome of last month’s presidential election. The losing presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, alleged that the election was plagued with fraud that he had been cheated out of victory. Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ruled against Subianto’s claim, confirming Joko Widodo as Indonesia’s president-elect.

Bertrand, R. “The Repertoires of Student Protest Marches in Indonesia during 1998.” Mouvement Social 202 (March): 43-51.

Student protests in Indonesia during the first half of 1998 were not the main reason for the fall of President Suharto: the New Order regime actually collapsed because the alliance between the army, the Muslim rural bourgeoisie and the business community broke down following the 1997 financial crisis. But the student protests show something that we have to keep in mind if we are to make sense of political change in Indonesia: namely, that the protesters made use of a culturally specific (egalitarian and nationalistic) repertoire of politics that led to the reindigenization of the call for democracy by rooting it in former local experiences.

Carnegie, Paul J. 2014. “Is Indonesia’s Democratization a Road Map for the Arab Spring?.” Journal of Diplomacy & International Relations 15 (September): 95-105.

The article discusses the comparison of the Indonesian model of democratization to the Arab Spring protest movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as of 2014. Topics include the role of Islamic political parties in Indonesia, challenges for political reform and transitional justice after authoritarian governments are replaced, and the dismantling of military governments. Events surrounding the 1998 resignation of Indonesian President Suharto are addressed.

Cochrane, Joe. 2014. New York Times. “Crowds Protest as Indonesian Lawmakers Raise Fuel Prices” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/global/indonesia-budget-fuel-prices.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A15%22%7D&_r=0 June 17. (October 19, 2014).

The Indonesian House of Representatives late Monday passed a revised state budget that included a highly contentious increase in the price of subsidized gasoline, despite moves by opposition parties to block the measure and street protests around the country.

Daniels, Timothy P. 2007. “Liberals, Moderates and Jihadists: Protesting Danish Cartoons in Indonesia.” Contemporary Islam 1 (December): 231-246.

Muslim liberals, moderates, and radical “jihadists” together with the Indonesian government, condemned Danish caricatures of Prophet Muhammad as insulting and hateful. However, the form of protest of these diverse segments of Indonesian Muslims was shaped by their ideological frameworks and political agendas. The “mainstream” of Indonesia’s increasingly radical “moderate” Muslim community, as represented by Nahdlatul Ulama, Muhammadiyah, and the Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS), squarely condemned the images within their particular perspectives, while distancing themselves from the “anarchist” radical demonstrators. The Liberal Islam Network (JIL), dedicated to fighting against “fundamentalists,” pointed out the role of detrimental fundamentalisms around the world. Several small radical groups, MMI, FPI and HTI actively staged street demonstrations fitting this case into their ideological framework of jihad, defending Islam, and/or striving for an Islamic state. These varied responses are better understood as integral to ongoing processes of radicalization, liberalization, and cultural and politico-jural Islamization.

Epley, Jennifer. (2004). “Development Issues and the Role of Religious Organizations in Indonesia.” Studies on Asia Series III (Fall): 39 -52.

This paper is a preliminary exploration into the intersection of economics, religion, and politics with regards to development issues in Indonesia. In specific, this paper’s hypothesis is that the Indonesian government often acts through and with religious organizations (and not as much or in the same ways as with secular civil society organizations) for economic and social development. The paper includes several sections: 1) Introduction and thesis. 2) Literature review: definition of civil society, how religious organizations fit into “civil society,” information about the political role of civil society, types of civil society organizations in Indonesia, and the extent to which civil society is really “outside” of governmental control (i.e., autonomy issues). 3) Background information about non-governmental organizations and information about their potential role in democratization processes. 4) Background for religious organizations: types of religious organizations in Indonesia and what they do. Special attention is given to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah (two of the largest and arguably most influential groups in Indonesia). 5) The nature of the relationship between the Indonesian government and civil society. 6) Information about religious organizations and economic development. Questions: a. Do religious organizations have a comparative advantage over secular organizations in supporting economic and social development? b. What does the government get in return for supporting (or controlling) religious organizations? c. Likewise, what do religious organizations obtain for supporting the government? 7) Conclusion and recommendations for future research. Each section by no means provides an exhaustive description or explanation of the topic, but rather instead serves to offer a general framework from which to start analyzing the aforementioned thesis.

Ford, Michele. 2006. “Labour NGOs: An Alternative Form of Labour Organizing in Indonesia, 1991-1998.” Asia Pacific Business Review 12 (April): 175-191.

Although Indonesia’s labour non-government organizations (NGOs) are in many ways unique, they are in fact part of a global surge in non-traditional labour activism, in which international and indigenous labour NGOs have played an important role. This contribution examines the contribution of labour NGOs to the reconstruction of the Indonesian labour movement in the 1990s and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary labour movement more generally. It argues that the Indonesian experience suggests theorists and unionists should broaden their understanding of the labour movement to make room for non-traditional forms of labour movement organizations, such as labour NGOs, that have the potential to (and do) contribute to that movement.

Gall, Gregor. 1998. “The Development of the Indonesian Labour Movement.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 9 (April): 359-376.

The paper examines the development of the labour movement in Indonesia in the context of trade unionism elsewhere in the area of the Asia-Pacific region. The Indonesian labour movement is shown to exhibit a dual nature; consisting of an official sponsored and legal form of unionism, and an independent, quasi-illegal form of unionism. The two have a conflicting yet symbiotic relationship, where the state plays a very significant role in determining the parameters for behaviour in industrial relations. Although the form of state intervention in Indonesia may be different from state intervention in other comparable countries, its aims are broadly similar. In this context the Indonesian independent labour movement is shown to have had some measure of success in resisting the restrictions placed upon it in its attempt to advance its members’ terms and conditions of employment.

Juliastuti, Nuraini. 2006. “Whatever I Want: Media and Youth in Indonesia Before and After 1998.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 7 (March): 139-143.

This paper aims to explore the changes in creative activities of young people – especially in the alternative media – in Indonesia before and after Reformasi. It begins with the story of the dynamics of a student press, from my personal experience – which I believe is a typical form of student/youth movement in Indonesia – and how the student’s life obviously depends on the political situation, the university policy, and the dynamics of the student’s life at that particular time. Reformasi caused political change and freedom but simultaneously, and ironically, placed the student press in a state of meaninglessness, such that it was painfully forced for search for new meanings to keep it contextually relevant in the new era. I end the paper describing the latest form of the alternative media scene of Indonesian youth, whose focus is dramatically shifting from ‘big’ political issues to issues of the celebration of communities and self-existence.

Juliawan, Benny Hari. 2011. “Street-level Politics: Labour Protests in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 41 (August): 349-370.

Over the past ten years, Indonesia has seen an interesting trend in political action on the part of labour. Once risky activity, street protests have been decriminalised and become a common sight in many parts of the country, especially in urban areas. Industrial workers take to the streets in large numbers to challenge the state and business interests perceived as hostile to their material and political interests. Interestingly, scholars have largely neglected this phenomenon and instead focused on labour’s failure to develop as a meaningful political force. This paper assesses the significance of labour protests and the light they throw on the development of a certain mode of engagement with the post-authoritarian state. It is suggested that the proliferation of protests among workers may sow the seeds of a ‘movement society.

Lala, Andy. 2014. Voice of America. “Indonesian Islamists Protest Rise of Christian to Jakarta Governor” http://www.voanews.com/content/indonesian-islamists-protest-rise-of-christian-to-jakarta-governor/2461357.html September 24. (October 19, 2014).

A hardline Indonesian Islamic group has staged a demonstration against the expected elevation of a Chinese Christian to the post of Jakarta governor next month.

Lee, Doreen. 2011. “Images of Youth: On the Iconography of History and Protest in Indonesia.” History & Anthropology 22 (September): 307-336.

This article investigates the visibility of youth (pemuda) in Indonesian history, concentrating on the 1998 Indonesian Student Movement’s politically transgressive and yet increasingly popular forms of expression. The figure of the activist (aktivis), transfused with its history of revolt, nationalist struggle, violence and victimization, constituted the core of a powerful series of representations of nationalist youth politics that popularized student demonstrations within public culture. On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork, I trace the development of what I identify as the activist-as-fetish image over the movement’s course, analysing how global and historical elements engender local and contemporary meanings in highly effective and yet heavily mediated ways.

Lee, Doreen. 2011. “Styling the Revolution: Masculinities, Youth, and Street Politics in Jakarta, Indonesia.” Journal of Urban History 37 (November): 933-951.

This article explores the changes to urban political culture in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1998 to the present. By tracing the contributions of youth activists, and middle-class university students in particular, to the production of the street as a political and public space, the author demonstrates to what extent the democratized post-Suharto era naturalizes the place of youth in nationalist politics. Central to this inquiry of youth identity formation is the elision of class and gender as analytical categories. Student movements in 1998 and after have relied on a specific masculine style that draws on both the authenticity of nationalist historical narratives and the street as the domain of the People, and in the process masks potentially contentious class and gender differences among progressive activists.

Mydans, Seth. 2014. New York Times. “Crowds a Nation Challenged: Jakarta; U.S. Lets Employees Leave as Indonesia Protests Mount” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/global/indonesia-budget-fuel-prices.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A15%22%7D&_r=0 September 28. (October 19, 2014).

With hundreds of protesters burning American flags outside its gates and with fringe groups threatening to kill Americans, the United States Embassy told most of its staff today that they could leave the country if they chose. While the government has expressed guarded support for the United States in its new battle against terrorism, militant Islamic groups have been staging demonstrations in several cities and vowing to take revenge if the United States attacks any Muslim nation.

Mydans, Seth. 2014. New York Times. “Indonesia Cracks Down as Protests Hit Capital” http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/12/world/indonesia-cracks-down-as-protests-hit-capital.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A15%22%7D February 11. (October 19, 2014).

Nearly 100 people were detained after a peaceful protest over the rising prices and food shortages that are forcing shoppers to spend hours in search of basic items like cooking oil and baby formula. Indonesia’s economy has continued to worsen despite a $40 billion rescue package organized by the International Monetary Fund.

Niniek Karmini. 2014. Huffington Post. “Miss World Canceled? Indonesian Clerics Protest Beauty Pageant on Religious Ground” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/miss-world-banned-indonesia_n_3816919.html August 26. (October 19, 2014).

One of Indonesia’s most influential Islamic groups is urging the government to cancel the Miss World pageant scheduled for next month, saying the exposure of skin by women in a competition violates Muslim teachings.

Oman-Reagan, Michael. 2012. “Occupying Cyberspace: Indonesian Cyberactivists and Occupy Wall Street.” Critical Quarterly 54 (July): 39-45.

The article offers the author’s insights on the online activities of the Indonesian Occupy movement in cyberspace. The author mentions the 1982 film adaptation of “The Year of Living Dangerously” regarding the history of Indonesian politics with Australian journalist Guy Hamilton and Chinese-Australian dwarf Billy Kwan as the main characters. He talks on his experiences when he joined Indonesian Occupy Facebook groups.

Padawangi, Rita. 2014. “Reform, Resistance and Empowerment: Constructing the Public City from the Grassroots in Jakarta, Indonesia.” International Development Planning Review 36 (July): 33-50.

The spectacle of demonstrations in urban streets and squares often captures more attention than the actual changes that follow. How do social movements construct public spaces that are coherent with the public sphere? What kind of physical spaces are needed to sustain spaces of resistance? This paper revisits Castells’ city and the grassroots, along with the notions of the right to the city and alternative development. Three cases in Jakarta will be featured to demonstrate how grassroots activism in the city transforms along with urban spaces. The activists’ retreat from protests to micro-activities within communities such as neighbourhood improvements and socio-economic training reflects the consciousness to improve material conditions, without which the reform would be incomplete. Spaces of resistance require continuous grassroots activism that directly impacts the human condition, beyond post-revolution abstract notions of social and political reform.

Pisani, Elizabeth. 2014. “Indonesia in Pieces.” Foreign Affairs 93 (July): 142-152.

The article looks at politics and government in Indonesia, as of 2014. It cites the country’s April 2014 parliamentary election, saying that no party reached the threshold to govern without forming a coalition. The author says that the incumbent coalition government under Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been relatively ineffective. She outlines the country’s process of democratization and presents a case for the view that devolution policies of recent years have rendered the country’s political system less able to form effective governments at the national level. Topics include the growth in the number of political subdivisions, patronage and campaign finance, economic conditions, and Jakarta, Indonesia, Governor Joko Widodo of the Democratic Party of Struggle.

Purdey, Jemma. 2006. Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999. Singapore: NUS Press.

This book presents the study of anti-Chinese violence witin a period of social, political and economic transition and chaos in Indonesia. Beginning in the mid-1996, Indonesia underwent a slow but steady revolution. Its people were beginning to demand a greater role in the politics of the state. This period is an important focus for what it reveals about the nature of ‘anti-Chinese violence’ as a social construction in a weak state. This violence did not occur alone. Besides the ongoing secessionist conflicts in Aceh, West Papua and East Timor, other types of ethnic and religious violence broke out around the country in West Kalimantan, Maluku, and East Java.

Silvey, R. 2003. “Spaces of Protest: Gendered Migration, Social networks, and Labor Activism in West Java, Indonesia.” Political Geography 22 (February): 129-155.

This article examines the gender geography of labor activism through a comparative investigation of two communities in West Java, Indonesia. Based on in-depth interviews and a survey of workers carried out in 1995, 1998, and 2000 in the two sites, it explores the place-specific meanings attached to migrants’ social networks and gender relations, and their roles in mediating the gendered patterns of labor protest in the two villages. Previous analyses of labor protest in Indonesia have occluded scales and processes that are critical to understanding how gender dynamics are linked to the geography of protest. By contrast, attention to the gender and place-based contexts of women’s activism illustrates the complex interactions between migrants’ local interpretations of gender norms, social network relations, household roles, state gender ideology, and global neo-liberal restructuring. Through examining these interactions, gender is conceptualized as ontologically inseparable from the production of specific activist spaces, rethinking the uni-directional spatial logic and deterministic views of gender and place put forth in theories of the New International Division of Labor.

Wilson, Chris. 2008. Ethno-religious Violence in Indonesia: From Soil to God. New York: Routledge.

Ethno-religious violence in Indonesia illustrates in detail how and why previously peaceful religious communities can descend into violent conflict. From 1999 until 2000, the conflict in North Maluku, Indonesia, saw the most intense communal violence of Indonesia’s period of democratization. For almost a year, militias waged a brutal religious war which claimed the lives of almost four thousand lives. The conflict culminated in ethnic cleansing along lines of religious identity, with approximately three hundred thousand people fleeing their homes. Based on detailed research, this book provides an in depth picture of all aspects of this devastating and brutal conflict. It also provides numerous examples of how different conflict theories can be applied in the analysis of real situations of tensions and violence, illustrating the mutually reinforcing nature of mass level sentiment and elite agency, and the rational and emotive influences on those involved.

Additional resources compiled by Camila Costadoni (March 30, 2015):

Bennett, Linda Rae. 2005. “Patterns of Resistance and Transgression in Eastern Indonesia: Single Women’s Practices of Clandestine Courtship and Cohabitation.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 7 (March): 101-112.

This paper explores how single women in the regional Indonesian city of Mataram express sexual desire in a social, cultural and political climate that idealizes the confinement of female sexuality within marriage. It is based on 21 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted with single women, their families and health care providers. Success for young women in negotiating sexual desire is dependent upon their ability to maintain a faultless public reputation and mediate between their desires and those of men. Many single women find ways to pursue their desires by bending the rules of courtship conventions, performing sexual purity in public, while resisting from within the hegemonic sexual culture. However, women who visibly transgress dominant sexual ideals (and in doing so offend the status quo) are stigmatized and ostracized. Single women’s practice of resistance and sexual transgression in premarital relationships are represented using the examples of pacaran backstreet (clandestine courtship) and cohabitation prior to marriage.

Brenner, Suzanne. 1996. “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and ‘The Veil’.” American Ethnologist 23 (November): 673-687.

In Java the growing trend among women toward wearing Islamic clothing (“veiling”) challenges local traditions as well as Western models of modernity. Analysis of Javanese women’s narratives of “conversion” to veiling against the background of the contemporary Islamic movement reveals that veiling represents both a new historical consciousness and a process of subjective transformation that is tied to larger processes of social change in Indonesia. In producing themselves as modern Muslims, veiled women simultaneously produce a vision of a society that distances itself from the past as it embarks upon a new modernity.

Budianta, Melani. 2000. “Indonesian women’s responses to violence: towards an alternative concepts of human security.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies1, no. 2 (August).

Discusses how women activists in Indonesia mobilized a strategy of refusing to go with the dominant discourse of partisanship. Initiation of movements that stress the ecumenical messages of peace and tolerance; Organization of peace rallies and interfaith prayers that foregrounded solidarity; Emphasis on togetherness in difference.

Drexler, Elizabeth F. 2007. “The Social Life of Conflict Narratives: Violent Antagonists, Imagined Histories, and Foreclosed Futures in Aceh, Indonesia.” Anthropological Quarterly 80 (Fall): 961-995.

Through an analysis of violent conflict in Aceh, Indonesia, this article develops a series of principles for analyzing conflicts that appear to be intractable, noting how certain conflict narratives and interventions based on them participate in extending conflict. The claim that the separatist rebels called “GAM” exist is treated not as historical fact but as an inscrutable assertion that retrojects and projects the group’s continuous existence, allowing political violence to be repeatedly reconstructed through convoluted collusions between antagonists whose own power is each predicated on the existence of the other.

Hoepfner, Maren. 2009. “The Porn Bill in Indonesia: A Threat to Pluralism?” Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs 28: 31-45.

On 30 October 2008 Indonesia’s parliament passed a controversial pornography bill after following years of heavy debate. According to the wording of the law, pornography means not only the production & distribution of pornographic material, but also behavior that violates moral ethics in the community or incites sexual exploitation. This vague definition led to massive protests by human & women’s rights groups, some provinces, & supporters of the state’s pluralism. The opponents of the law claim that women’s rights & the traditions of the non-Muslim minority, as well as the pluralism & the unity of the country, are endangered. Furthermore, they worry that conservative Islam will grow in importance. The enduring dispute on the porn bill mirrors a fundamental conflict: the impacts of Islam on policy in pluralistic communities. This article illustrates the debate on the pornography bill & at the same time considers the question of to what extent pluralism in Indonesia is threatened & restricted by Islamism.

Lee-Koo, Katrina. “Gender at the Crossroad of Conflict: Tsunami and Peace in Post-2005 Aceh.” Feminist Review 101 (June 2012): 59-77.

The article discusses gendered political issues involved in Aceh, Indonesia’s efforts to recover from a civil war, movement towards peace and recovery from the December 2004 tsunami. The author argues that the conflict and the peace process were marginalised by international post-tsunami recovery programmes and that women’s work in war and peace were neglected throughout the peace process. The article also demonstrates how the peace process had a masculinist agenda that ignored women’s issues.

Silvey, Rachel. “Spaces of protest: gendered migration, social networks, and labor activism in West Java, Indonesia.” Political Geography 22, no. 2 (February 2003): 129-156.

This article examines the gender geography of labor activism through a comparative investigation of two communities in West Java, Indonesia. Based on in-depth interviews and a survey of workers carried out in 1995, 1998, and 2000 in the two sites, it explores the place-specific meanings attached to migrants’ social networks and gender relations, and their roles in mediating the gendered patterns of labor protest in the two villages. Previous analyses of labor protest in Indonesia have occluded scales and processes that are critical to understanding how gender dynamics are linked to the geography of protest. By contrast, attention to the gender- and place-based contexts of women’s activism illustrates the complex interactions between migrants’ local interpretations of gender norms, social network relations, household roles, state gender ideology, and global neo-liberal restructuring. Through examining these interactions, gender is conceptualized as ontologically inseparable from the production of specific activist spaces, rethinking the uni-directional spatial logic and deterministic views of gender and place put forth in theories of the New International Division of Labor.

Smith, Bianca J. “Sexual Desire, Piety, and Law in a Javanese Pesantren : Interpreting Varieties of Secret Divorce and Polygamy.” Anthropological Forum24, no. 3 (September 2014): 227-244.

Very little anthropological research has explored the polygamous worlds of women in Indonesia’s traditional Islamic boarding schools known as pesantren. These traditional schools are patriarchal institutions that teach women to be ideal Muslims according to male-defined notions of shari’ah-based piety that construct polygamy as normative. This article challenges dominant discourses on polygamy, which are mostly concerned with public protest and feminist agendas that seek to have the practice banned, and instead reveals an agentive side of women in polygamous marriages. It examines the experiences of a group of pesantren women whose actions transgress state and Islamic laws on marriage and divorce in their endorsement of polygamous union and nikah batin (Sufi spiritual marriage). It builds on feminist arguments that recognise female agency in polygamy by considering the legal ambiguity surrounding secret and informal divorce and polygamous practices initiated by women restricted from obtaining legal divorces for socio-cultural reasons. In doing so, it further considers some aspects of a notion of a woman-centric polygamy that includes polyandry, which women create based on their understanding that Islam acknowledges women’s sexual rights in marriage.

Smith-Hefner, Nancy J. 2007. “Javanese Women and the Veil in Post-Soeharto Indonesia.” The Journal of Asian Studies 66 (May): 389-420.

This article examines the practice and meanings of the new veiling and of Islamization more generally for young Muslim Javanese women in the new middle class. Drawing on eight months of ethnographic research in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta in 1999 and three subsequent one-month visits during 2001, 2002, and 2003, I explore the social and religious attitudes of female students at two of Yogyakarta’s leading centers of higher education: Gadjah Mada University, a nondenominational state university, and the nearby Sunan Kalijaga National Islamic University. The ethnographic and life-historical materials discussed here underscore that the new veiling is neither a traditionalist survival nor an antimodernist reaction but rather a complex and sometimes ambiguous effort by young Muslim women to reconcile the opportunities for autonomy and choice offered by modern education with a heightened commitment to the profession of Islam.

Sunindyo, Saraswati. 1998. “When the Earth Is Female and the Nation Is Mother: Gender, the Armed Forces and Nationalism in Indonesia.” Feminist Review 58 (Spring): 1-21.

This article examines how, through militarism, masculine imaginings of Indonesian nationalism construct a ‘national feminine’. Whether through popular song, national war heroines, or the institutionalization of feminine roles in the military, the positioning of the ‘national feminine’ is always contradictory. On the one hand, it is gendered and domesticized, while, on the other, it is employed as confirmation that Indonesia has already achieved gender equality. In most instances, once the national crisis is over, and before a new crisis emerges, both the rhetoric of equality and the representation of the nation used to mobilize women’s participation in the popular armed struggle are once again adjusted to fit the heterosexual familial model. However, in the Indonesian military, discursive constructions of the ‘national feminine’ are not enough; the military must further define the ‘national feminine’ through institutionalized practices.