The Battle for History after Suharto

Beyond Sacred Dates, Great Men, and Legal Milestones

Author: Gerry van Klinken


Historical discourse has become an important aspect of post-Suharto Indonesian politics. The nationalist instrumentalization of the past, always strong in Indonesia, took on a martial aspect under the New Order. Even today, the establishment remains reluctant to abandon it. But new visions of history have arisen out of the widespread protests against the New Order. Some preserve the form of a martial nationalist historiography, but displace it to the regions (especially Aceh and Papua), thus turning it against Jakarta. Others, both at a national and a local level, embrace more societal historiographies in which the state and national unity are not idealized, and in which internal conflict is not taboo.
Countries: Indonesia

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September 2001
© Jeff Kingston