Perspectives on the Philippines

We reveal the authors of our special series on the Philippines!

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Passion + Procession: Art of the Philippines

After a six month run (24 June 2017 – 7 January 2018), 'Passion + Procession: Art of the Philippines' is just about to close at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW). Before it does, however, the members of Perspectives on the Past decided to conduct a little experiment: to visit this exhibition, and … Continue reading Passion + Procession: Art of the Philippines

Kali Nyamat: Java’s Muslim Warrior Queen

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan looks into the life and career of one of Java's great leaders: the 16th-century queen of Jepara.  The history of Java has no shortage of powerful women rulers, from the 14th-century queen Dyah Gitarja, whose imperial conquests can be role-played in the strategy game Civilization VI, to Megawati Soekarnoputri, former president and … Continue reading Kali Nyamat: Java’s Muslim Warrior Queen

Mount Agung’s 18th-Century Eruption

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan examines Balinese accounts of an eruption of Mount Agung that occurred 300 years ago, in order to contextualise its current activity. Where technical geological terms appear in the article, they are underlined and you can hover over them to get a quick definition from G.J. Hudak's Glossary of Volcanic Terms (2001). Bali’s largest … Continue reading Mount Agung’s 18th-Century Eruption

Setting the Record Crooked: Conspiracy History in Indonesia

PoP’s textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan studies the pseudo-history of the Majapahit kingdom, and what it can tell us about history-making in Indonesia today. Indonesians love a good conspiracy. Just check out the sales table on any mainstream bookstore like Gramedia, or the display racks of used-book street stalls, and you'll find hidden truths and uncovered secrets … Continue reading Setting the Record Crooked: Conspiracy History in Indonesia

Through the Looking-Glass: Indonesian Reflections on Australian History

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan, a student of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney, looks in the mirror of Australian Studies at the University of Indonesia. Here at PoP, we welcome fresh and challenging perspectives on Southeast Asian pasts. But we mustn't forget that as Australia-based researchers of Southeast Asia, we are accustomed to visiting, … Continue reading Through the Looking-Glass: Indonesian Reflections on Australian History

Pramoedya’s Message to the Youth of Indonesia

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of the late Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the most important writer in Indonesia. His stature as a leading artist and his leftist politics led to his persecution by the Army-led government of Suharto. International audiences tended to focus on his imprisonment on Buru island between 1969 and 1979, during which he produced four novels … Continue reading Pramoedya’s Message to the Youth of Indonesia

The Art of Dating in Javanese History

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan explores the aesthetic uses of time in Javanese historical traditions. Universal history has no theoretical armature. Its method is additive; it musters a mass of data to fill the homogeneous, empty time. Walter Benjamin, ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ Memorising dates is one of the worst things about … Continue reading The Art of Dating in Javanese History

Interrogating the Dictator

PoP's textual historian Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan reads Suharto nostalgia videos against the grain, to show how Indonesia's most authoritarian regime struggled to conceal the everyday injustices that it perpetuated. Nostalgia for Suharto is an ever-present annoyance in contemporary Indonesia. The rhetorical basis of this nostalgia is a whitewashed caricature of his military-dominated regime: that it provided a stable political … Continue reading Interrogating the Dictator