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Encountering Indonesia as a student, then and now
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-26, 10:46 authored by Barbara HatleyBarbara Hatley
Why aren't there any Australian Indonesianists today like those of the past?' an Indonesian friend asked me recently. By 'those of the past' he explained that he meant people retiring about now. The question further stimulated thoughts I had been having about the study of Indonesia then and now, and differences in the experiences of academics and students over the years. There are certainly few Feith-like unravelling brown jumpers among contemporary lecturers. There are no students bumbling off to Indonesia by boat after security concerns have stopped flights from Australia, as a class-mate and I did in late 1965. But what might be some of the deeper dimensions of change? What kind of students are choosing to study Indonesian language and culture and where are they headed? How is undergraduate teaching and learning and postgraduate study affected by institutional insistence on 'strategic' choices in terms of time allocation, research topics and publishing outlets? Organised in-country study programs, particularly those provided by the ACICIS consortium, allow more extended, targeted encounters than the wanderings of the students of my time. What has been the impact of such developments? Where have the graduates of these new programs gone, to what extent are they pursuing Indonesia-related careers? Might a new guard of 'Indonesianists' be emerging from their ranks, or is the term itself perhaps no longer meaningful?
Publication titleReview of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs
Rights statementCopyright 2009. The Association for the Publication of Indonesian and Malaysian Studies Inc.