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Seminar ‘Writing in the age of Reformasi, Indonesian contemporary literature as resistance’

22/07/2015 @ 15:30 - 17:00

By Saras Dewi. This seminar aims to discuss how Indonesia’s contemporary literature, engages with current social and political issues. Which are the problems that matter to the new generation of Indonesian authors writing in the post authoritarian era of ‘Reformasi’? What drives them? Literary works are not merely materials for aesthetic appreciation poetry and prose are also, frequently, instrumental to social, political and cultural movements. Also in Indonesia, there is a long history of literary engagement with social and political issues, going back to colonial and postcolonial times in which poetry and prose were tools as means to criticize political and social state of things, aiming for social transformations.

This seminar focuses on more recent literary works, less known outside Indonesia, from the hand of a new generation of writers (born between 1960s and 1980s). The issues that concern those writers ranges from women’s rights, lesbi-an, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) identities, environmental crises, minority rights and religious free-dom. Through examination of these works, thus can be revealed about Indonesia’s predicament today regarding these issues.
The presentation will concentrate on works by arising authors such as Okky Madasari’s Maryam who, in her writings, identifies pressing issues about religious freedom for The Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, and on Djenar Maesa Ayu’s Menyusu Ayah (Milking Father), an unconventional narration to the problem of rape and sexual violence in Indonesia.

Lastly, literature is vital to voice the distressing fact of the loss of the natural environment. This can be illustrated by the short stories and poems of Made Adnyana Ole, Fajar Arcana, Oka Rusmini, Faisal Oddang, Guntur Alam and others. Parallel with a decline in local wisdom as Indonesia urbanizes, a new mythology is emerging among urban readers. How is nature perceived in this literature, and what is its message to a new generation of Indonesians, many of whom have never seen wilderness.

Saras Dewi , she is the Head of Undergraduate Study in University of Indonesia and teaches Philosophy of Literature, Eco-Philososophy and Eastern Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy. She is currently a fellow at KITLV


15:30 - 17:00
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KITLV, room 138
Reuvensplaats 2
Leiden, Netherlands
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