In memoriam: William H. Frederick

On March 2, Professor William Frederick passed away. We lost a great scholar and a generous and inspiring senior colleague.

Bill focussed much of his research on the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and the Indonesian Revolution. His PhD dissertation resulted in a standard work on the city of Surabaya during the early days of the Revolution, Visions and Heat: The Making of the Indonesian Revolution (Ohio University Press, 1989). Based on extensive archival research and fieldwork he traced the urban background of a new group of revolutionaries and offered a new and more nuanced perspective of the phenomenon of the pemuda.  Bill was also one of the editors (with Peter Post, Iris Heidebrink, and Shigeru Sato) of the monumental Encyclopedia of Indonesia in the Pacific War (Brill Publishers, 2010).  In addition, he had a lively interest in a range of other topics. This is illustrated by his well-known and often quoted essays on Indonesian intellectual Armijn Pane, the Dutch administrator Ch. O. van der Plas, and Dangdut popular music.

During one of his visits to Leiden, Bill participated in a KITLV workshop I organized together with Kees van Dijk on the power and significance of images in historical research on Indonesia. Bill contributed one of the key papers to this meeting. ‘The Appearance of Revolution: Cloth, Uniform and the Pemuda Style in East Java’ was later published in Outward Appearances: Dressing State and Society in Indonesia (ed. H. Schulte Nordholt; KITLV Press, 1997, pp. 199-248).

Later, Bill and KITLV-researcher Harry Poeze came to collaborate in an ambitious project: a complete translation in English of all of Tan Malaka’s writings, from 1946 until 1949, with a number of titles never issued before, not even in Indonesian. All writings were translated, extensively introduced, and copiously annotated. The project was in its latest stages. We hope the book will be published soon, as a tribute to a dedicated scholar and a kind teacher and colleague.

Bill was a dear friend of KITLV, and we will miss him.

Henk Schulte Nordholt

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