Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Summer School: Modern asian Thought

Speaker: Hilmar Farid

Hilmar Farid is a scholar, historian, and cultural activist from Indonesia. He is a founding member of Jaringan Kerja Budaya, a collective of artists and cultural workers in the early 1990s, and also the Institute of Indonesian Social History in 2000. He taught history and cultural studies at the Jakarta Arts Institute and University of Indonesia for several years. He received his PhD from the National University of Singapore and wrote his thesis on Pramoedya Ananta Toer and the politics of decolonization in Indonesia. He has been an active member of the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA) and the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society. On 31 December 2015, after a long selection process, he was appointed as the Director General for Culture at the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia under President Joko Widodo’s administration (2015-2019).

In the 3rd Biannual Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (IACSS) Summer School, in collaboration with the Modern Asian Thought project initiated by Inter-Asia School, that held in Hsinchu, Taiwan (July 1-15, 2014), Hilmar Farid talked about his Oral History Project in Indonesia in addressing issues in “Modern Asian Thought”. His discussion is part of the response to Prof. Nandy’s presentations. In that project, they collects interview of hundreds of former political activist in the 1960s that live in prison for years without trial. The project aimed to collect initial history of their suffering in order to construct alternative version of history. This project was the reflection of 1965 massacre in indonesia, where Indonesian Army accused Communist group (including party, follower, supporter, and etc.) responsible for the death of 6 Army Generals. On October 1965, 6 army generals murdered by a group of army led by Colonel Untung that are communist supporter. Soeharto took over the army leadership and retaliated the death of 6 army generals by scapegoating communist.

The oral history project is to look at back at the memory, not aimed to help them to restore the memory. But collected memory aimed to construct alternative version of history. At the end, he addressed question to audiences, scholar in humanities, and especially to scholars in history; is study of memory possible?


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