Public lecture Dr Abdul Wahid (UGM) Thurs 11 Aug 6 pm

In collaboration with Herb Feith Foundation and Indonesia Initiative, Faculty of Arts, Indonesia Forum presents a public lecture:

“Was It an Intellectual Genocide? The Elimination of ‘Leftist Elements’ in the Indonesian Higher Education, 1965-1980”


Dr Abdul Wahid

Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia

Thursday, 11 August 2016

6.00 – 7.15 pm followed by a reception

Venue: Old Arts, Theatre D

The University of Melbourne, Parkville


The anti-communist violence of 1965 is a political caesura that affected almost every aspect of the Indonesian state and society. So far there is a rich body of literature devoted to understanding the violence with a strong focus on: the political crises preceding the 1965 Coup, the persecution of alleged communists, state discrimination against survivors and their families, and the struggle of these people to regain their basic rights. Yet, those historical investigations still leave us with many unanswered questions.

One important sector that remains to be examined in detail is that of academia or higher education. The work of Farid (2003), White (2003), and Dhakidae (2005), has provided us with clues that this sector was also dramatically affected by the 1965 violence. Expanding on their work this paper seeks to analyze the immediate and long-term effects of ‘1965’ on Indonesian academia. To do this I will assess what happened to prominent public universities in major Indonesian cities just before, during, and after the political turmoil.

Based on primary sources and interviews, the paper analyzes how the anti-communist campaigns launched by Suharto’s regime turned into a form of ‘intellectual genocide’, which fundamentally changed academic life and the institutional arrangements of Indonesian universities.

Dr Abdul Wahid is a lecturer in the Department of History, Gadjah Mada University. His research interests include the following themes: the political and economic history of colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, the social dimensions of violence in modern Indonesia (revolutionary period 1945-1950, 1965-1966), and socio-political issues of minorities particularly the Chinese in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. He completed his PhD in Social and Economic History at the Research Institute for History and Culture, Utrecht University, The Netherlands in 2013. He obtained his Masters of Philosophy in History from Leiden University in 2009, and he also has another Masters degree in History from Gadjah Mada University in 2006.

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