The Indonesia Study Group in the second semester of 2017

During Marcus Mietzner's Indonesia Study Group seminar last December.

During Marcus Mietzner’s Indonesia Study Group seminar on Islamist mobilisation last December. You can watch the seminar through ANU Indonesia Project’s facebook page.


Eleven Indonesia Study Group (ISG) seminars were held in the second semester of 2017. There were twelve speakers who spoke on various aspects of Indonesian society: from rice price, infrastructure, hoax media, to traditional music instrument and intolerance among its citizen. Two of the speakers were international speakers, three from interstate and the rest were from ANU.

The two largest seminars, in terms of the number of audience, were given by Marcus Mietzner and Ross Tapsell, both from ANU. On 6 December Marcus talked about the impact of the 2016 Islamist mobilisation on the tolerance attitude of Muslims toward non-Muslim. Marcus found, in one hand, a rise of political dimension intolerance due to mobilisation, while in another, a decline in cultural dimension of Muslims intolerance toward non-Muslim. Marcus’ seminar attracted a total of 52 people of which 19 were women. This seminar was streamed live through ANU Indonesia Project’s facebook page and it has been viewed more than 1500 times in Australia and overseas.

Still on Jakarta’s 2017 gubernatorial election, on 18 October Ross Tapsell talked about the role of social media and hoax media during the election. Ross’ talk was attended by 50 people.

The two international speakers, Rizal Shiddiq from Leiden University and Budi Aji from Universitas Jendral Soedirman, were at Indonesia Project as Visiting Fellows. Through this program in 2017, five recipients got a chance to visit ANU for four weeks to undertake scholarly work. Rizal and Budi presented their on-going research projects, where Rizal investigated the relationship between firm’s performance and the affiliation of the companies to certain business-group in Indonesia. Budi also researched the effectiveness of various health insurance programs in Indonesia.

Two speakers this semester were also the recipients of ANU Indonesia Project’s Research Travel Grants. This program aims to assist Australians students who plan to undertake research for which they will benefit from travel to Indonesia. Jacob Wray from ANU delved into the reasons on why Indonesians seemed to forgive Japanese occupation during the period of war, unlike citizens of many other former occupied territories in Asia. Another grant recipient, Mitchel Morrison from Monash University, described his experience visiting several places in Lampung province where he learned the traditional music of the talo balak ensemble of Lampung.

Another highlight in the second semester was a conversation with acknowledged author and Tempo journalist, Leila Chudori. In this different ISG format, Leila talked about, among other things, her writing process and the socio-political ambience against which she constructs her literary works.

Each ISG seminar this semester were attended by approximately 30 people on average, of which around a third were women. The attendees were mostly academics (44 per cent of the total) and students (47 per cent), also government official (seven per cent) and others (one per cent). Most of the seminars were recorded, and the files were available on the ISG webpage.