The preparation of this publication is the joint responsibility of Wacana in co-operation with Dr Sadiah Boonstra (Melbourne University) and Dr Caroline Drieënhuizen (Open University in the Netherlands) to gather critical, decolonial and intersectional histories of Indonesia.
After the Indonesian nation-state was born it became the frame for the history of colonialization and decolonization of this country. The rub is that national narratives constructed around specific moments in time and place run the risk of reducing decolonization to a political moment in history; the moment former colonized people took hold of the state. This approach obscures the cultural, political, sexual, racial, violent and transnational nature of colonialism and the way it still affects Indonesian society today.
We propose to understand decolonization as a continuous ongoing political, social and cultural process which has continued to affect Indonesia profoundly up to the present day. This Wacana issue seeks to explore Indonesia’s ‘cultural archive’ as outlined by Gloria Wekker in her book White innocence; Paradoxes of colonialism and race (2016), and Edward Said Culture and imperialism (1993): ‘A particular knowledge and structures of attitude and reference’ which ‘has influenced historical cultural configurations and current dominant and cherished self-representations and culture’. Although Wekker focuses on the culture of the colonizing countries, we would like to redirect our focus on to the former colonized country, as the cultural archive is formed in the colonial-metropolitan contact zone. We wish to examine the effect of the culture of colonialism on Indonesian society today from historical perspective, affecting memories, knowledge and identities. We do not imply that the cultural archive has remained the same nor that it remains uncontested. On the contrary, we suggest reading colonial continuities back into cultural, social and political phenomena, paying special attention to the way in which through a historical lens the cultural archive, continues to influence Indonesian society today.
Understanding that colonial determinism lurks around the corner – the danger that we look at society exclusively through a colonial lens – we propose the concept and praxis of decoloniality as a remedy. Influenced by Aníbal Quijano and Walter Mignolo, we seek to shift the perspective, gaze and experience to a decolonial stance in a reconsideration of colonialism and coloniality in Indonesian history. Quijano postulates that there is no modernity without coloniality and that coloniality is a necessary component of modernity. Therefore, coloniality cannot be ended if global imperial structures continue to exist. Decoloniality means detachment from structures of coloniality in order to (re)establish old and new ways of thinking, languages, ways of life and being in the world which coloniality implements and the rhetoric of modernity disclaims.
The complex, multi-faceted character of coloniality and its reciprocal relationship with the Indonesian cultural archive can only be analyzed by writing histories from different perspectives. We therefore turn to an intersectional approach to see how racial, gendered, sexualized, classed, religious and regionalized differences intersect and are rooted in the cultural archive.
The co-editors of this Wacana issue invite contributions taking a historical, decolonial, intersectional approach to the construction and working of Indonesia’s cultural archive. We encourage interdisciplinary methodologies, making use of insights from gender and sexuality studies, social and political science, discourse, narrative and visual analysis, post- and decolonial theory and praxis.
Contributions can take any one of the following formats:
1) new refereed research articles;
2) book review(s).
Possible topics and areas of interest for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- decolonial historiography;
- constructions of race, gender, class, ethnicities in the cultural archive;
- conceptualization and representations of race and ethnicity in history and art;
- (de)coloniality of knowledge, heritage and museums;
- (de)coloniality in literature, memoirs and interviews;
- decoloniality as praxis inter-Indonesian dialogues, encounters, historical imaginaries.
See for more information: Wacana (ui.ac.id)
Those interested to contribute are advised to submit an abstract in advance.