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Good places to learn about Indonesian history?

HappyMan

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rabbit_39 posted some interesting vids in the "fair and peaceful campaigning" thread. I've listened to a podcast called "A History of Indonesia", which gave a nice overview of the ancient past .

Can anyone recommend another source for casual or semi-casual learning about Indonesian history? I've been living here long enough that I should probably be starting to feel a bit embarrassed about my ignorance.

Oh, there is also a chapter that touches on Indonesia in Guns, Germs and Steel. Really interesting, but probably not what your average Indonesian would consider Indonesian History.

Anyone got anything?

***I didn't mean to add that media, but have no idea how to get rid of it and leave the link that is supposed to be there in its place. If it is a problem, I'll get rid of it.
 

jstar

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Depends a bit how far you want to ‘go back’. There is a huge amount of documentation and written material on the history of the (Malay) Archipelago and Nederlands Indië. (The last 350 years.) But: It’s practically all in Dutch.

http://www.historien.nl/van-nederlands-indie-tot-indonesie/

Now if you’re able to translate the websites it might help, although Wikipedia is also not a bad source (but I’ve seen major discrepancies between the English and Dutch version). I guess esp. on the (Javanese) empires before the colonization out of Europe, Wikipedia is useful.

On the last years before independence and the political ramifications, I liked this (there’s an English version): http://www.indieinoorlog.nl/oorloginindie/oorloginindie/elements/index.jsp?lang=en#

There are quite some ((English) books on the Dutch East Indies and Dutch East India Company (VOC) available on Amazon btw.

A movie you might enjoy:
Based on the book Max Havelaar by Multatuli. It is mandatory reading for Dutch high school pupils. I’m not sure if there’s a version with English subtitles (on YouTube).

On the recent history (Soekarno and Suharto era) there is quite some English material available.
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Bad_azz

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Maritime history sources are where you will probably find a fair amount of information about Indonesia,
http://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/Indonesia_Java.html

But I would also suggest typing names of places/or people into Google & searching them out one by one.
Javanese history, Stamford Raffles, and so on.

There are a few museums around too. They will probably help you to research things if you are interested in going that deep.
 

HappyMan

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On the last years before independence and the political ramifications, I liked this (there’s an English version): http://www.indieinoorlog.nl/oorloginindie/oorloginindie/elements/index.jsp?lang=en#

There are quite some ((English) books on the Dutch East Indies and Dutch East India Company (VOC) available on Amazon btw.

A movie you might enjoy:
Based on the book Max Havelaar by Multatuli. It is mandatory reading for Dutch high school pupils. I’m not sure if there’s a version with English subtitles (on YouTube).

On the recent history (Soekarno and Suharto era) there is quite some English material available.
.
The commemorative center stuff looks like a nice overview, nice reading for tomorrow. Video was available with English subs. I'm looking forward to that. Thanks.
 

HappyMan

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If you google "anti communist purge Indonesia" there is quite a bit of material on this grim part of recent Indonesian history.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/17/indonesia-anti-communist-killings-us-declassified-files
You're right,that stuff is grim. I think I saw in the news a while back that there are still ongoing discussions about the possibility of a commission to look into the events. I'm going to stick with grim realities from far enough in the past that I can pretend that humanity has progressed since then.
 

HappyMan

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Maritime history sources are where you will probably find a fair amount of information about Indonesia,
http://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/Indonesia_Java.html

But I would also suggest typing names of places/or people into Google & searching them out one by one.
Javanese history, Stamford Raffles, and so on.

There are a few museums around too. They will probably help you to research things if you are interested in going that deep.
That maritime history thing is cool. Great find.

I've read a fair bit of what is available on wikipedia, about Indonesia in general. Fair point about looking into the history of individual places. That should get me a bit more of a narrative, which is all I ever remember from any of the history I've read (shouldn't have said it was "semi-casual" learning, I'm totally casual). If we are talking about museums for the casual, I'd totally recommend the one at the old Dutch fort in Jogjakarta. Great dioramas. I'd like to go back and have another look, actually.
 

jstar

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My heart breaks if I see what is done in RI to keep and preserve the existing patrimony and legacy. Look at Kota, the old Batavia, and see what’s happening to those buildings. Jakarta could be a much more interesting touristic attraction.

I have done a multi-year tour of all the old forts -quite a few- in the country some time ago and there’s not a lot left. If they are rebuild, it is renovation and not restoration.
 

jstar

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This could be interesting; it is a Dutch documentary following the 1.000 km road called De Groote Postweg, that was a military 'highway' (cf. Germany or USA) which was built during the Napoleonic Wars (King Lodewijk Napoleon ruled Holland back then). The road supported the defense of Java against the English. On Wikipedia or so you can find more info.

In the documentary the road is more of a means to see how people live(d), esp. under the Suharto regime. It is rather critical.









Alternative version YouTube only:
 

Mitian_Indau

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The video looks interesting, thanks for sharing. I tried watching but the internet connection here in the village isn't up to scratch (too much buffering), so it'll have to wait until I get back to the city.

In terms of general history, I found the book ‘A History of Modern Indonesia’ by Adrian Vickers to be a good introduction. If you wanted a more comprehensive account, ‘A History of Modern Indonesia since c.1200' by M.C. Ricklefs is definitely worth a read. I wouldn’t exactly class it as light reading though. Ricklefs covers more of the early history than Vickers too. Both authors are well regarded academics, so the research is sound.

I know that you can buy either of the titles online, but I’ve also seen copies of PDF's floating around too. In terms of hard copies, I ordered mine online (but delivery was to Australia). Ricklef's book has also been translated into Indonesian as ‘Sejarah Indonesia Modern’, but I’ve not been able to get my hands on a copy (despite checking Gramedia each time I pass through).

Another book is James Sneddon's ‘The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society’, but it might not be a topic that would interest everyone.
 

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