2018 Indonesia Update

Contentious belonging: the place of minorities in Indonesia

14–15 September

If you are already on the Indonesia Project mailing List, you will receive an email when the registration form goes up on the website. Please email nurkemala.muliani@anu.edu.au if you would like to be added to the list.


Coombs Lecture Theatre, H C Coombs Building #9, corner Fellows Road and Garran Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601

2018 Indonesia Update. Contentious belonging: the place of minorities in Indonesia

Registration for the conference is now closed as the venue has reached capacity. If you have not registered and would like to attend the Indonesia Update, please go to the late registration desk on the day of the conference and we will let you in as soon as there is availability in the conference theatre.

The status of minorities throughout Indonesian history has always been a matter of contention. Two broad polarities have been evident: one inclusive of minorities, regarding them as part of the nation’s rich complexity and a manifestation of its ‘unity in diversity’ motto; the other exclusive, viewing with suspicion or disdain those communities or groups that differed from the perceived majority, whether because of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or disability. State and community attitudes towards tolerance or inclusion of minorities have fluctuated over time. Some periods have been notable for the acceptance of minorities and protection of their rights, while others have been marked by violence and discrimination against at least some minorities.

Indonesia’s treatment of minorities over the past decade has become increasingly controversial. While successive Indonesian governments have projected to the world an image of their nation as tolerant and harmonious, domestic and international human rights groups have sharply criticized what they see as worsening attacks on the status and freedom of minorities, especially the Chinese and LGBTI communities and so-called ‘deviant’ religious sects.

This conference will explore historical and contemporary dimensions of Indonesia’s minority communities, discourses about minorities and the shifting attitudes towards them. Particular attention will be given to questions of religion, gender, sexuality, disability and the law.



The conference is free of charge

Conference convenors

Greg Fealy
The Australian National University

Ronit Ricci
The Australian National University
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Conference administrator

Indonesia Project
The Arndt-Corden Department of Economics
ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
Canberra ACT 2601

P 61 2 6125 3794
F 61 2 6125 3700

ANU Indonesia Project wishes to thank The Australian National University and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their substantial and continuing support.




Media coverage


 Presentations and videos

View program and abstracts.

 DAY 1

POLITICAL UPDATE. Jokowi’s consolidation and democracy’s decline

Presenter: Thomas Power (ANU), Discussant: Jacqui Baker (Murdoch University), Chair: Julie Heckscher (DFAT).

Download slides by Thomas Power.



Presenters: Ross McLeod (ANU), Sitta Rosdaniah (Ministry for State-owned Enterprises, Republic of Indonesia), Discussant: Susan Olivia (The University of Waikato), Chair: Sarah Dong (ANU).

Download slides by Ross McLeod and Sitta Rosdaniah, Susan Olivia.


Session 1. Keynote address. Ambiguous advantage: minority status in Indonesian history
Session 2. Legal and constitutional perspectives

Session 1. Presenters: Robert Cribb (ANU). Chair: Ronit Ricci (ANU and Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

Session 2. Presenters: Tim Lindsey (The University of Melbourne), Simon Butt (The University of Sydney). Chair: Stephen Fitzpatrick (News Ltd).

Download slides by Tim Lindsey, Simon Butt.


Session 3. Disability

Presenters: Dina Afrianty (La Trobe University), Thushara Dibley (The University of Sydney), Antoni Tsaputra (The University of New South Wales). Chair: Cate Rogers (DFAT).

Download slides by Dina Afrianty, Thushara Dibley and Antoni Tsaputra.


Session 4. Sexual minorities

Presenters: Saskia Weiringa (Universiteit van Amsterdam), Hendri Yulius (The University of Sydney). Chair: Sharon Bessell (ANU).

Download slides by Saskia Weiringa, Hendri Yulius.



Session 5. Religious minorities

Presenters: Marcus Mietzner (ANU), Burhanuddin Muhtadi (ANU and Indikator Politik Indonesia), Ihsan Ali-Fauzi (Pusad Paramadina), Sandra Hamid (The Asia Foundation). Chair: George Quinn (ANU).

Download slides by Marcus Mietzner and Burhanuddin Muhtadi, Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Sandra Hamid.


Session 6. Ethnicity
Session 7. Closing reflections. The political manipulation of minority status

Session 6. Presenters: Charlotte Setijadi (Singapore Management University), Maria Myutel (ANU), Saur Marlina (Butet) Manurung (Sokola Institut). Chair: Jewel Topsfield (Fairfax Media).

Session 7. Presenter: Sidney Jones (IPAC). Chair: Greg Fealy (ANU).

Download slides by Charlotte Setijadi, Maria Myutel, Saur Manurung, Sidney Jones.