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Indonesian Studies at ANU: Why So Late?

Article  in  RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs · June 2018


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Anthony Reid
Australian National University


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rim a
Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs

volume 43, number 1


The Association for the Publication of Indonesian and

Malaysian Studies Inc. acknowledges
g"enerous support in many forms from
The Australian National Univensity and
The University of New South Walei;
at the Australian Defence Force Academy
Review of Indonesian and Malayslan Affairs
volume 43, number 1, 2009

RIMA is published twice a year by rhe Association for the Publication Way• of latowing Indone•ia:
of Indonesian and Malaysian Studies Inc. It is a fully refereed journal perspectives from the Au•tralian academy
recognised by the AustXl!linn Research Council.
Iuuoductlon 1 Jemma Purtky

ISSN 0815-7251 Andu:opology of Indonesia in Australia:

the politics of knowledge 7 Kathom Robimo11

<Q 2009. The Association fr){ the Pubfu::ation of Indonesian ~nd M~laysm.11 Srudies Inc. Litera tute and the Aus !.talian study
of Indonesia 35 Harry Aveling
'fhc vie"M> ~od opinions expressed in signed a(ti<:les an<l .rcvicm. in this jo~1rnal ate the
responsibility of the inilividt1al ~nd it is not to be ass\nned that they repr<:St.'nt
the views of either the editOI.'$ or the publi:sher:t Indonesian Studies at the
Ausualian National University: why so late? 51 Antho"Y &id
The publishecs will pei'tnit, without fee or fui:ther pctn~sion; single <.:opics to be taken
of artides or other section!! from this joul'nal only where the copy is for the private Strangers it1 the house:
use of an individu:d teSCflt'C'her or for library reserve or short-tcrn1 U.'iC in an Dutch historiography
educational institution. Without written permission frorn the publishen;, no part of
and Anglophone !<espassers 75 JoosI Coti
lhii; p1.1blication m~y othetwn;c be reproduc::ed, stored in ft n:tric'Vlll system, or
t.ra.oi;rn.itted, l:>y any tneans or in a11y foi'1'r'J, induding tt~n:!!lation, and ~:.i;.pccially for
t:csaJe in any fot1n or the ctfJ'ation of new i::olkctive wotk.~. Encountering Indonesia as a student,
then and now 95 Barbarrt Hatlry

ls geuder still off the agenda?

Involvement and visibility of women
This issue of RIMA has been edited by Jemma Purdey and Campbell at Indonesian sn.idies conferences in Auatralia 105 Helen Pa11saker
!-las gender analysis bccll mai!lstreamed
in the study of Indonesian politics? 129 S11san Blackburn
Cover: Herb Feith (1930-2001) who, in his life and wotk, inspired Knowing Indonesia from afar:
many present members of the Australian academy t<> know Indonesian exiles and Australian academics 147 David T Hill
lndone;ia and its p~ople. Monash University Archives, IN266.
Reptoduced with kind permission: F.t:om. t:ht; rllmparts of Fo.rt Victoria;
knowing lndone~i.a through • dislllnt mirror 165 Richard Ch11111Jt/

1971, Wangbang Wi~ A Javanese Panji &manct, Nijhoff, The
Indonesian Studies at the
Hague. . Australlan National University: why so late?
! 988, Principles ef Indonesian Phihlo!!J, Fons, Dordtccht.
2008, 'Indonesian al the University of Sydney in the eady 1960s',
&vie»' of Indonesian and Ma/qysia11 Affairs, vol. 42, no. 1, PP· 185-90.
Anthony Reid
Rogers, C, Jacobs, G and Watkins, A 2002, 'Requiem for French
Llterary Studies', AUi\1I.A, no. 98, November, PP· 1-27.
- 2005, 'Students and French Llterature', AUMLA, no. 103, May,
Keywt)cds: Indonesian snidie~, Australian Nation.a) University, Research
pp. 65-92. . . . . School of Pacific Studies, JW Davidson, Heinz Arndt
Roskics, D 1993, Tc;.1/ Politic.i in So11tbcasl ,.foa, Oluo Umvers1ry Press,
Athens. Ahslmct: The A11Stralian National Uniwf'!ity "'"' fa11nded in 194,V to develop
Rubenstein, R 2000, Beyond the 111alm of the smses: The Bali11m rif11al of
'mijects of 11atio11al importance to A11i1ralia '. Its Rt.rearch School of Pacific
kekmvin composition, Kill.V Press, Leiden. S1t1di;s was i11Te11dcd spedfi,•al!J lo mah good the (g11ora11ce ef the area.r to
Santoso, Socwito 1975, ..f111t1soma: A S111rfy in Javanese Jf'l'£!irnJ1ana) A11slralia} north which had prowd toJ/(y d11ring the Pacific Jl7ar. In Mclho11rne
International Academy of Indian Culture, New Delhi. there wm afaw people like Hero Feith, mOJT(y st11dents of MacMahon Ball. who
Supomo, S 1977, Atj11nawfjaya: A kakawin of Mp11 Tantakir, Nijhof£, The immediare{y saw The challt11ge of Indonesia. The q11eslion that needs answering is
Hague. , , .. wl!Y the mandate of ANV did notproduct a school or antre of SoutheaJ/ Asian
Teeuw, A 1991, 'The text', in Ras,JJ and Robson, SO (eds.), vanatwn, Sllulie,r, or even much signifitant individi1t:1/ !cholarship on Indonesia, 11ntil the late
traniformation and meaning: studies on Indone.rian literal11rc1 in honour of A. 1960s. W~ did Australia not b11ild in the IJWnty years after the war a'!Jlhing
Tee11w, Nijhoff, The Hague, pp. 211-29. .. mnote!J compamble fQ the Centres the Americans eJ/ahlished al Cornell, 1"ale,
Worsley, PJ 1972, Babad B11/elmg: a Balinese tfy11astic genealogy, N11hoff, The Michigan, 117isconsin and &rkilry? How, neV<rthrlm. did the ANU smdJ1al!J
Ha~ . . find its IJI'!)' to beroming a centre without a Centre.
-1976, 'F. H. van Nacrsscn', Reviewef l11d1mesiima11dMal'!Ja11Ajfam,
vol 10, no. 1, pp. 32-8. · Southeast Asian Studies is sometimes thought to have b<:en 'inve11ted'
Vickers, A 2005, Jo11r11rys of Desi111: a J1111fy of the Balinm text Ma/at, for Cold Wax United States strategic purposes through the American
J<l11,V Press, Leiden. conccp! of area smilies, I find this view outrageously A.mccica-cent.ric
and unhelpful (sec for e:.ample .Reid 1994; 2003), but the reason for it
has something to do with the organisational consistency of SoutheaM
Asian Studies Centers in the United States. Because they need to bid
competitively for Federal Tide VI funds e:very three years on the basi.s
of certain criteria, they focus on the same basket of joint appointments
with discipline departments, gtaduate trailling, lang.iagc teaching,
publications and setnit1ats, all defined in terms of Southeast Asia and .
coordinated by a single Center. By comparisoll the res! of the world, .,:~
·-'--- . --·- --- . --···
&,,;.., ef 1"dontsian and Mal'!Ysia• Affairs, vol. 43, no. I (2009), pp. 51-74.
62 Reid
lndone$ian Studies at ANU
including Australia, shows a variegated pictute whlch can be seen as 53
incoherence. Monash University's Centre of Southeast Asian Studies of its initial fou.t Research Schools. It is not clear to me why Macmahon
was virtually the only emulation of such a coherent plan on the Ball, the closest Australia had to a <li<tinb'ttlshed scholar with regional
American model. The study of the region is manifestly strong in Ulterests,2 was not mvolvcd at all in the foundi.t1g of ANU l'•oc
Australia by any reckoning, but seemingly without coherent planning of a se~ved after .the war as British Co1nmonwealth .reptescnrattvc on
this or any kind. Government interventions to boost Indonesian the Allied Council for Japan, and in tnid-1948 was senr ro Indonesia in
Stmlics in particular (sec bdow) had patchy results and were not an attempt to organise a sc;holarshlp Sc;heme for Indonesians (Durling
sustained enough to create a pattern. (Jver the last 30 years Australia in .1996:169). He may be the . closest to a (;•"urge K'aI· · h avmg
llll ill
· '
general and the Australian National University (ANU) in particular has influenced young people like Jamie Mackie, John Legge and Herb Feith
been a global leader in the study of Southeast Asia, but it appears to to~~u:ds, a S}'lllpathetic interest in Indonesia and its emergent
have happened through random appointments, never planned as nationalism, Perhaps he Was seen by the Canberra planne.:s as less a
purposefully as the smaller United States Centers. It is difficult to think scholar d>an a P?licy-makcr (then); perhaps the foundi.t1g fathers were
of an example elsewhere of such apparently .random gtowth unless it fixated on the idea that the only good Australian scholars were in
is the fruitful chaos of ·Paris, wlllch has a total strengtl1 of Southeast Britain.
Asian expertise (outside Southeast Asia) probably closest to that of . . To advise on what became the Research School of Pacific
Canbei:ta. Does this e:xpetience of ci:eacing ~a without a Centre 1
Studies (though Asian-Pacific was initially a starter), a New Zealander
have anything to say to the rest of the world? . was fou~d i.n Raymond Firth, Professor of Anthwpology ar the
Llndon School of Econorru.cs,3 who despite his p:i:e-war vennu-e into
Opportunities Missed, 1948-60
Malay ethnography wos predominately a small-island Pacific man and
The ANU was founded in 1948 to develop 'post-graduate research and who t~ok a relatively narrow view of what 'Pacific Studies' should
study, both generally and in telation to subjects of national importance mean. His anthropological perspective suggested that the major field
to Austtalia.' Its lkscarch School of Pacific Studies was intended of research should be the Pacific Island territories for which AuHralia
specifically to make good the ignorance of the areas to Australia's was responsible' (Foster aud Varghese, 1996:40).
north whlch had proved costly during the Pacific War. The earliest Firth's own ".'lations with Aus'."'lia were problematic, and by
recorded definition of the area of its concern was 'somewhere ranging early 1949 he ~ad _docu.led he ~nd his wife were too much 'Europeans'
from the Amcdcas to India' (in Max Crawford's phrase) to include both to be able to liw u1 the colorucs. But he remained the ccitical voice in
the Pacific Ocean and Asia.' The question that appears to need the fast crncial a.ppointments in History and Anthr~pology:
answering is why this mandate did not produce a school or centre of respectively Jtm Davidson, with whom he had· worked closely in Naval
Southeast Asian Studies, or even. much significant individual Intelligence the war, and SF Nadel, an Austrian-bom British
scholarship on Indonesia or adjacent parts of the region area until the anthwpologist who joined Firth's Department after the war. Davidson
late 1960s. Why did Australia not build i11 the twenty years after the war was a colonial histodau specialising on Samoa, and beyond that the
anything remotely comparable to the centres the Americans established other colonial admittlstrations in the Pacific Islands;• and Nadel a11
at Cornell, Yale, Michigan, Wl1!consin and Berkeley? Afncan eth11ographer. The third professor in place by 1950, Australian
The fir:;t answer must be connected with the absence of any WR ~rocker, had colonial, military and (in 1945-8) United Nations
Australian Asianist of sufficient stature to be recruited to join the other expcrien~c, and had written some books though not an academic. He
1:hree \~r.i:-;e mt::n.~ who advh~ed the ANU foundc:t$ on th~ e$h1blishmc;nt was nominated by fellow-Australian Kdth Ha11cock "' a time when it
was thought the P•cific and Social Science Schools m.ight combine, but
64 Reid
hit it off with Australian (though allio New Zealand born and bred) lndonH111n Studies at ANU
economfat Doughis Copland, the ANU's first vice-chancellor. Crocker his return be w~te again to.John Bastin to say that 'the time is ripe' to
was appointed as Professm of International Affairs in the hope of develop Indoncs!lln hiotory 111 Australia, and that he was contemplati.t1g
bringing his African and United Nations experience to bear on ~. appomunents - a· modern historian and someone with 'training
problems of international governance in the small Pacific colonies and "' Oncotal languages' (Davidson 19.56). In May 1956 Davidson had
trusteeships (floster and Varghese, 1996:51-2). organised a (tenured) Fellowship for Bastin, who was in place at JI.NU
Jim Davidson's appointment, in patticulat, would be crucial in by ~e end of the year. The correspondence shows l1n end)u~iastic John
keeping d1e focus on small-lliland Pacific rather than Southeast Asia for Bas~ Or~erit1g mount~ins of m.icrofiln1s, pioneering wotk in the Ar$ip
some titne. Davidson was en1phatic that there should not be a Nas10nal 1n.Jakarta and travelling all around );lva and Sumatra, genially
Department of Political Science, since he believed his own Pacific supp<>rted Ill all by Davidson. Up till the time in April 1959 when
History Depamnent should be free to embrace the contemporary Bast111 left to become the foundation professor of History io Kuala
(Foste< and Varghese, 1996:51-2).' Only after his death in 1973 were Lwnpur there is no ttace of evidence of larer coolness.? -
moves successfully made towards forming something like a Political . At any event Jun Davidson's enthusiasm for Indonesian
Science Department, though named Political and Social Change to lust~ry faltered, and it would be a decade before he appointed another
avoid what was felt to be excessive engagement with theory. Regionally, specialist for it. Political scientist Herb Feith (1960-62), and his own
Davidson thought hi> mandate .should cover the whole area of the student In Malayan history, Emily Sadka, were appointed to Research
Schoo~ which he came to 1>dicve should to some extent extend into Fellowships_ in 1?59. I presume it was around this time that Ji.tu wa,
Asia, but he was tentative in moving beyond the Anglophone colonial corr~spondmg with Harry Benda.about coming to fill the gap, but Jim
territories he fdt comfortable with ..1-!is initial appointments and PhD Davidson was too hesitant to cotnmit to so fotccfu.I an Indones.ianist.8
recruitments all specialised on the Pacific Islands. The tentativ-cness of Davidson's sorties into Southeast Asia
Sephardic Singaporean Emma ('Emily) Sadka was the first can be seen in the British colonial focus, which was true of virtually all
Southeast Asian reci:uitcd as a PhD student~ con'ling from Oxford hi the early appointments in the Re•car.:h School of Pacific Studies.
1954. She got on well with Jim, and must have encouraged him to go People were availabk who had taught in the colonial univei:sities, and
furthct. In 1955, following the Australian Government's initiative to the British colonial world was comfort•l>ly familiar to (hose who had
fund Indonesian Sn1dieo (see bel<>w) he began to pl•n his first visit to t~ught or studied it. A comparison with the Melbourne people with a
Malaya and Indonesia. In the notes accompanying an advertisement at similar background who nevertheless took the plunge into Indonesia
this time he defined lli:l Department as concerned with 'problems of nevertheless makes one wonder what might have happened if one of
W\:stern expansion and its impact on non-European peoples in the these had been In ch~tge. Joh~ L:gge, i.t1 particufar, WaR a regionally-
Pacific & South-East Asian ai:cas' (Davidson 1955a). At the end of oneutcd young hisconan who like Davidwn had done hi• thesio work
1955 be responded warmly to an overture from John Bastin of the using Eoglish-language material 011 the British colonies, but who went
University of Queenshind, Austl'lllia's fir.; t ti:ained (Oi1ford and Leiden) CO Cornell and Indonesia during hJs sabbatical leave of 1956 to take up
Indonesianis t: 'I fully agree with your plea for the study of Indonesian the difficult challenge of a new fidd.
history in Australia.' (Davidson 1955b). Jim's first Southeast Asian student, Emily Sadka, hecamc a
Davidson's visit to Indonesia and Malaya in January-February research fellow in 1960, and got tenure as a fellow two years later. As
1956 was a success,• lnduding a visit to Tony Johns in Bukittingf,>1, portrayed by Blanche d'Alpuget, she was Bob .Hawkc's moral m"se in
whose appoi.t11ment to the Canberra College was being considered. On Univetsity I fousc - the one who kept hittt fu:>n1 goi.t1g off the rails
emotionally and ethically (d'Alpugct, 1982:70-1). Sadka was a solid co·
56 Reid
lndon111111an Studies at ANU
supervi•or with Jim Davidson for a number of good theses on Malaya 57
in the 1960s, by Chiang Hai Ding (1963), Chris Wake (1966), and most confident!~ into the area. He .was more concemed, however, with the
successfully Bill Roff (1965). Roff was the first of the historians to undemow:ishcd state of Geography AS a whole in Australia, and
learn and use a Southeast Asian language, possibly more th.tough Tony thetefo~e sought to cover all the tnajor sub-discipli11es more
Johns' encouragement than his own Department's. energettcally than mvering all tl1e regions. Perhaps influenced by Jim
(hough the Malayan background had &>iven Sadka a Southeast OaVldson he th.t:ew hlmself imo work on the British Pacific, 'but
Asian dimension intellectually (she had taught me Southeast Asian showed no further interest in Southeast Asia hitnse1£ As he described
history in Wellington before the ANU appointment), she was certainly hia policy later, most of the department's work concentrated on
not a fieldworker or an adventurer into indigenous hlstory. Her Australia for the ··opporrunistic' reasons th~t it was easy to attract
appointment was closely followed by Paul van der Veur in 1961, who studcms (Foster and Varghese, 1996:107-8). Not until 1965 did Spate
was an but was appointt:d only on condition tl1at he work appo111~ son1ebody to work on Southeast A~ia, going the u 8ual
on Dutch New Guinea. Canberra boy Chris Penders.did use hls native Malaysian route by brinb>ing Bobby Ho in from the Universitv of
Dutch to do the first PhD in fue Department on Indonesia, in 1968. In Malaya as Senior FeUow. Ho was another to die tragically ~arly,
the same year, following the departure of van dcr Veur and the whereupon he w.. replaced as Senior Fellow by Terry McGee, from
tragically eady death of Emma Sadka, a Research Fellowship was N cw Zealand and Malaya.
awarded to Christine Dobbin, a Sydney and Oxford-trained Indian
hlstorian whom Jim cxpect<d to do Malayan history, but who 1960-70: Crawford and Johns initiatives: The 'Malayans'
evcnn1ally produced a great book on the Padi:i war in Swnatra (no These 1960s students 011 Malayan hlstory were parallelled by more
douht again with some influence from (ony Johns). These movrs •~venturous students in Anthropology (Donald Tugby) and Donald
suggest to me that he had lost the early desire to get seriously into Hindley, who had also taken the plunge into Indonesia. With the work
Southeast Asia, beyond his main concern with the colonial impact on of Tugby and hi~ ".'ife on Manda~g (1960; 1962),Jaspan on Rcjang
small sodetie•, though acknowledging that there was a potential flow (1965) a~d Masn Su1garonbun on karo, together with tl1c early work
of Malayan students who needed supervision. Up \ll1W his death the of David Penny (from 1965), Christine_ Dobbin (from 1968) and
depart:menes self. . dcfi.nitlon .remained strangely out of touch with the myself (from 1970), one might i11deed have said that Sumatra wa• the
changing reality, especially for someone purportedly interested h1 ANU's main research focus in Indonesia until the arrival of Jim Po
(autonomous history). ~witched t~e balance further to the East. Whether !ugby wa:
The Department of Pacific J·listory is coni:::eroed with thl';: l:itudy of ~flu~ntial 1l1 .bringit1~ J~span_ t~ Canberra I don't know; )•span
hi11>to:dcal :situatio1~s invohring contact between weste:i:n and non· certainly was mfluenttal 1l1 bnngmg Masri. Por the most part the
wt;~tc:rn cultutet'I, with a pa.tticular etllphasis on contacts of a colonial'

rc•earch focus seemed thoroughly haphozard with Derek Frcem

type in which Europt:ans have occupied positions of political and h 1 . ' an
I e on y senior anthropologist with Southeast A•ian experience, ;,1
t:conon'lic donili1ancc. 9 Sarawak.
A Department of Geography was established in the Research . . Economics was the only department in the Research School
School with the appoh1tmcnt of Oskar Spate to a chair in 1951. The prior to the 1970s which had a real plan to focus on Southeast Asia,
only one of the founding fathers with experience in Southeast Asia an~ .to have done It rather successfully. Economics was not part of the
(having taught briefly in the pre-war Rangoon University), one might Orl~al plans for the School, but came in as a result of John Crawford'•
have expected Spare to be the one professor who would move ag.reang to become th~ School's ft.t~t Dixt!<.::tor in 1960. Becau~e the
School had been for so long without a Dh:ector, and perhaps because
lndonelll1111 Studin ~t ANU
in Crawford it had a leader who was not only Austxalian but a pre- 59
eminent Australian policy-maker, hil< tentttc marked a dlstinct lurch two Indonesia specialists in the Department, Penny being replaced in
into Southeast Asia. He brought the Department of International ~e· 1970s ~y Peter McCawley and Anne Booth, and eventually Hal Hill.
Relations back to the School and encouraged a professorial his certainly repre•ents the most focussed research concentration
appointment to it in Bruce Miller (1962). He insisted that a .'\NU has motllltcd in the Southeast Asian area. It had also cmb1.. ccd
Department of Economics be created under hini, with the specific task Malaysta fi:om the Outset, though of course with less intensit~ and
of studying 'underdeveloped and primitive economies, with emphasis eventually through the ASEAN project, various consultancies vi~itors
on the building up of a systematic empirical knowledge of the Pacific and so forth, COV"t.·red in some sense all the countries of South ' t A ·
A h b cas .Sta.
and South East Asia'. Tom Sikock was immediately brought from the s t e. epar'.mc111 defined its area iu the Arndt era, it began with 'the
University of Malaya (then in Singapore) as Visiting Fellow, and it was countnes of Southeast Asta (especially Indonesia), the Pacific falands
therefore the saine comfortable l\1alaysian focus as with the historians (espectally Papua New Guinea), and China', dearly in that order.
that began the entry into Southeast Asia. Fred Fisk arrived from the . The good news of this ernpit:ical concentration was that it
University of Malaya in 1960 and Rick Shand in 1961. aducved something vei:y practical in raising the level of knowledge of
Crawford did recruit Ken Thomas to go and work in South and deba~e o." the Indonesian economy, and represented perhaps the
Sumatra in 1963, but his bigger step was to ask Heinz Arndt to move most distJncttve thing the ANU did on Southeast Asia in global terms.
from the Canberra College in 1963 to take the Economics chair in the The vulnerable side o.f the concentration, like that ~f my own
Research School which Crawford himself no longer had time for. depattment on the Pacific Islands (though in lesser degree), of
Heinz convinced himself, notably during his first visit to Indonesia in course that the absence of competitors made it difficult to know how
1964, that his Department should mount a major project on lndonesia, to rate the department in the broader economics field. lhis is always
as in effect its highest priority. He recruited agricultural economist the trade-off, but to my mind it has beeo outstandii1gly worthwhile in
David Penny whom he met on that trip, and began his contacts with this case, if not always in others.
the Universit-.1s Indooesia economists (the .Berkeley mafia) just hefore Demography, in the Research School of Social Sciences was
thei.t ascent to power. He bravely began the B11/leli11 of lndone.rian the oth~r department in the Research Schools, besides Anthrop~log
Ero11omic St11dies in June 1965, when Condit.ions in Indonesia were at ~nd Htstoi:y. in Pacific Studies, which grodu•lly expanded int~
tho.ii: darkest, ••pedally from an economist's viewpoint. John Crawford Southeast Asta thtough Malaysia - or more properly Brirish Southeast
secured a major grant from the Ford Foundation to make the BIES Asia. Jack ~ald:Wdl w~s the pioneer when in the late 1950s he decided
possible through the hiring of Ruth Darusman as editor, and for nine to .wnte ~ts d1s~er~at1on on the Malayan population, arid when he
years this sustained what was the ANU's first major externally-funded fuushcd his thest~ in 1962 he pass~d the baton to tbe young Gavin
project on Southeast Asia (An1d1, 1985:52-64). This also gave rise to Jones, whose thests on Malayan labour was completed in 1966. Bvth of
the Indonesia Study Group which David Penny and Ken Thomas th~se ,two demographers extended their interests to left and .right - in
founded in the late 1960s, and which remains perhaps the iriost visible Jones case throughou~ Southeast Asia, in Caldwell's brgely b~yond fr,
sign of a cross-disciplinary comm.itment to Indonesia at the ANU. But a .more exti:aordtnary step than these predictable moves into
Arndt calculated in 1985 that the eight Ph)) candidates he Malaysta was Mi~k· Borrie's d~cision to take on Masri Si:ngarimbun as a
trained in his fu:st fifteen years, including Hal Hill, Anne Booth and Research Fellow tn 1966.
Chris Manning, represented about balf of the total economic expertise Masri an exceptionally able and in110v..civc Karo Batak
on Indonesia ootsidc lndoru:tiia. Since '1965 there wt".re alway::oi at least who had beon lured to ANU by Mervyn Jaspan in 1961, and taken
under Derek Freeman's wing. When he finished his dissertation in 1966
GO Reid
lndone$ian Studies at ANU
Indonesia11 conditions did not entice him home, and he filled in some 61
time wodcing at the Embassy in Canberra and writing a couple of which ~l'no~t parts ~f the world makes 'Sourheast Asian Studies' an
pioneering manuals on contraception for his countrymen. This was academ;c e11t1ty'. that is, t~e need for ."'.me structut"Al principle arouod
enough for Jaspan and Caldwell to convince Mkk Bortle that Masri whic.h to orgaruse educauon and tra1nang. It is therefore no surprise
was a demographer, and a means for the depattment to get into a vast that •t took the external intervention of the Federal Govcmment in the
.and challenging field. Not long after, in 1971, Terry and Valerie Hull other, undergraduate, side of the campus to force the academics of
and Graeme H11go arrived to write theix dissertations on Indonesia, Canbeua to go out and !Ure some professional•.
and the Department became probably the most important centre Jn 1950, Prime Minister Men>,ies set up a11 in ttlry into
anywhere for the study of Southeast Asian population. When Jack whether the Commonwealth Government should fund a School or
Caldwell became Head of Department in 1975 he encouraged the Deportment of Oriental Studies somewhere. In December 1950 it
trend, though never cixcumscribing Southeast Asia as such as a priority reported that 'a School of Oriental Languages was a national necessity
area · · · and that the School should be established in Canberra.' The
By 1970, therefore, there was substantial work in the Coombs cotnnu~tee thought the big four Asian languages ro be studied were not
Building, which housed the two ~search School• of Pacific Studies t:c C~1ese, Japanese, I~rea.n, aod Indonesian of modern parlance,
and Social Sciences, on Malaysia: in Economics, Anthropology, b t .Chinese, Japan~se, Hindi and Russian, 'with perhaps subsidiary
History, Geography and Demography. Economics had begun its major studies 111 Indonesian and Malayao hioguages' (Brewster and
assault on Indonesia, where a few othe< departments also dabbled 1989). In 1952 Hans Bielcnstein WM appointed to a chair of Orient~
more tentatively. 'fhe appointment of Gehan Wijeyawardcnc to L:a~gu.agcs at tl1e Canberra University College, and a ,tart was niade on
Anthropology in 1964 and John Girling to International Relations in Chinese,, Ja~anese ~nd Russian, but not on anything .Southeast Asian.
1966 provided an accidental bridgehead to Thailand. Despite Crawfotd This a second govern1nent inte.rvcntion in 1955
and Arndt, there was still no School-wide strategy for work on the wl~en. the Australian Comn1onweall:h Office of Education w~ute to th~
region or part of it. The only real coherence of any sort in the School's Prumpal of the Canberra College, and to the Universities of Sydney
strategy was in rclatiot1 to New Guit1ea~ on which a Davidson~authoi:ed and Melbourne, to offer spccilically to fund 'the teaching of
report in 1958 decided to focus through the formation of a New lndones1an and Malayan Studies'. The College had submitted a
Guinea Unit. The synergy of a numbc.r of scholars with l\falaysiao proposal fot Indian Studies~ which it continued to prefel', but the
in{erests did produce one joint-authored book across the disciplines ?ov~rnrnent responded that should be switched to Indonesian
(Silcock and Fisk 1963), while David Penny and Masri Singarimbun S~dies. B,ahasa In?~ncsia. was indicated as the 1n<tjor focus of study,
formed a fruitful partnership fast in Sumatra and then Java. But with w•t~ possible ptovts1on 'for teaching something of the cttlture of the
rcgion', 11.i -
the exception of the Economics push from 1960, the first twenty years
wete interesting chiefly for their failure to act decisively in an area thar Biclenstcio then made a inajor ~ffort to infoi:m hi.rnself al)()Ut
other Australians could sec to be of vital importance. Indonesian studies in the world, travelling to Cqrndl Berke!
C 1 1. • · ey,
o um >ta, the School of Oriental and African Studies Jn Lmid
Language-based study In the Canberra College r b 'd . . on,
-•m n ge, Le1den and the University of Indonesi• in search of
The fact that the Research School of Pacific Studies had resolutely advice. Formnately he ignored the patronisi11g advice of DGE Hall in
opted for a research role rather thao a training one would always make London, that 'no foreign •cholar would stay in Australia for any
lani,'1.mge study e:tternal to it. It would also tend to remove the glue c~nstderable length of time\ ('10 that they shoutd send an Australian
with fi.r$t-cl:ass honou.t.'s in classicti off to London to learn his stuff.11
62 Reid
Tiie College quickly laid siege to Tony Johns, thm in Bukittinggi, lndoneslsn Studies at ANU
although he did not arrive until August 1958. Meanwhile teaching in Ian Proudfo~t on th~ l\1alay world, What dcvdoped here was not yet
Indonesian had begun with the aid of the Indonesian embassy in 1956, Southeast Asmn Studies 1tl the sense of an interdisciplinary attempt to
and twenty students enrolled in the initial coutSe compared with three understand a region, but a gradual expansion from a language base,
for Chinese and Japanese, Tony was not quite 30, with the advan mge of concentrating on 'civilizations~, or following the 1978 review, ".t\s.ian
not being intimidated by a stuffy orientalist tradition. He was a breath [cultural] History';
of fresh air for Oriental Studies, abandoning the classical Malay , Whe~ the Canberra University College joined ANU in 1960,
emphasis of Leiden and London in favow: of Bahasa Indonesia and its Onental Studies was still a School within the Paculty of Art• at ANU
modern literarure. Even more t:adical was hl5 deci$ion to recruit his but it became a separate faculty in 1962 and remained such through
staff primarily in Indonesia: Soebardi and .Achdiat in 1961, Soewito subsequent reviews and testructurit1~ when a 1nergec with Arts was
Santoso in 1964, Yohanni Johns in 1965, Supomo in 1970. Soebardi, threate~ed. The success of the Faculty in rcsfating this already makes
Soewito Santoso and Supon10 all wrote excellent dissertations in the ANU different from n1ost other plac;:es where 'Sourheast .J\sian Stu.dies~
Faculty on Javanese literature (Reid 1997:xix-xxxiii). Distinguished is established as a mean5 t~ c,oordinate teaching and research by people
srudents like Heather Sutherland, Ann Kumar, Chris Manning and scattered Jn different discipline departments. The Faculty of Oriental
Lenore MandetSon made their way through the undergraduate course, (from 1970 Asian) Srudics had its own specialist departments organised
There were over 100 students in the three years of Indonesian by 1966 around the majo( language~~ as well as the Dcparanent of Asian
and 158 in 1974, making this one of ANU's most successful language Civilizations (later History) as a handmaid to language srudy. Further
Departinents. By hindsight, this strong language-training Department re&rional organisa tiou seemed unnecessary.
was~ along with the Indonesia opei:ation in Economics, tl1e first world~ In the discipline departments of the Faculty of Arts there was
class success of ANU in Southeast Asian Studies. There may als? some teaching about Southeast Asia. I believe it was Rosemary
sometimes have been bigge.r Indonesian language depai:tnlents BnRSenden, Melbourne graduate and Indonesia volunteer in the
elsewhere in the world, but there was none better, and this was a fine Mackie/Feith/McKay mould, who began oourses in Southeast Asian
basis on whkh to build other things. (or was it I11donesian?) politi<S in the Polltical Science Department in
It was some time before the Department of Oriental I 960, before being cut down by a stroke, Ian Wilson arrived "<>011 after
Ctvilizations tried to covci: the whole of A~iH, or at least 1nake an and taught a little Southeast Asian politics to go with his main China
appointment for Southeast Asia, When it did in 1961 hite someone to focus until a stint at Nanyang University in 1972-4 provided • much
teach in thi8' at~a~ it was not a handmaid to the strong Indonesian work mongc~ co~mitment. Larry Stcrnstein completed a Geography PhD
but the rather exotic (in Australian terms) Helmut Loofs, a European- <>n Thailand ln 1965 and subseq.,cncly taught Southe•st A,ian courses
trained atthcologist with practical (Foreign Legiort) experience in Indo- 111 the Deparl:lnent of Geography, where Ted Chapman in the 1970s
China. He began teaching Southeast Asian history, and ;,, 1967 was also became steadily more intc1·estcd in Thailand and La<>s. Like
joined by another recruit from Indonesia, Dr Sutjipto Wiryosuparto. Chapman, Geoffrey Faitbaim had essentially South Asian experic11ce
Sutjipto unfortunately died fow: years later, opening the way to one of when hired into the Department of History;,, 1961, but as Viet11am
the first Aust.ralian-bo~n and Australian-trained Indonesianists in At111' hot.led up he be.gan teaching hi• fumous cou1~e on cou11ter-i11suxge 11 cy
Kumar to take on the teaching of Indonesian history. Gradually other In Southeast Asia, where n1any srudents cut theit polemical teeth, Also
ANU-ttained scholars were taken into the Department of A•ian hi History, Campbell Macknight gradually shifted his focus in the 1970s
Civilizations, as it wa• in the 1970s - a••• Tcrwiel Oil Thailond and fron1 working on the "l\facass:aos) in no.rth Au$tralia to an i.ntetcst in
~~~ .
64 lndonesl•n Studies at ANU
Protesslonalisatlon: the Americans, 1970-85 Malaya scholat On the Indonesia fmnt he did not object to my pursuit
What happened in the 1970s was a large influx of the fir~t of Lance Castles, who arrived as a Research Fellow in October 1972,
professionals, in the sense of· people ~a.tne~ a~ Southeast Asta or of John Smail ••.a year-long visittlr in 1972-3. Lance was only the
specialists in the United States. I can1~ot rests! b.e~g. this new phase second A.tncrican-traincd Southeast Asiani<t to be hired by ANU, after
in 1970 which coincide• not only with the Onentalists Conference tn Herb Feith's brief stay, but he and Smail began what was to be a ceal
Canber~a and the Faculty's change of name to Asian Studies,. but wit~ pipeline from Cornell, Yale, Berkeley and Michigan. Some North
my own arrival. But it may have been a couple of years earlier that 1t Americans also arrived as graduate students in the form of Jim Warren
began to occur to people that, collectively, there was a chance for world and Alfons van der I<raan. The 1970s, at least in History, thereby
leadetship here. If there was coherent purpose behind this. ir was marked a kind of professionalisation wil'h people who had been
pmbably Jack Crawford's, and if there was one spectacular hire as • through a graduate training specifically in Southeast Asfan Studies.
result of his efforts it was Wang Gungwu, In 1968. G11ngwu was . 'fhese ead.iest appoinunents did not challenge the view of the
appointed explicitly in the China fid~ and d~est~'t believe J~~k Pacific core of my deparunent that, if one were to go beyond a British-
Crnwford's pursuit of him owed anything to his Southeast. Asian colonial principle of coherence, it had· better be to an Austronesian
credentials. I myself doubt this a little; I think a Malaysm~ app~munent island principle. The first seven Southeast Asia history appointments
was attractive to many people, i11 • way that evc11 a China-born (Bastin, Sadka, Feith, Van der Veur, Dobbin, Reid, Castles) were all in
appointee might not have been. He did not do anything in his o;-vn the Indonesia/Malaysia area. But the tragic death of Jim Davidoon in
Department to boost Southea.t Asia until the app~inunent of Jennifer April 1973 (one of sevetal premature deaths to mark this story) caused
Cushman in 1975, but everybody knew him, especially 111 Mala~1a, and a major rethink of what the department was about. Despite my youth
his pwminence gave me a wondetful figurehead I<> opcraie behmd. An I was Acting Head of department at the tin10, mainly because of the
example was the J 976 conference which pmduced one of the first feuding 011 the Pacific side. More importantly we had an able group of
major successes of my time, and the first unportant ANU book students working on Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippine,. 1 re.:all
explicitly to cover all of Southeast. .r\sia, ])erteptionJ of the tn SoJ1lhtatl Bob Reece making most of the running for reconstituting the
~0~~ . . Dcpai:trncnt of Pacific History rather than sin1ply seeking another
I was appointed~ I presun1e, as a replac:c~cnt for,F..n1~·oa Sadka~ Pacific lsh1.nd person to fill the chair. A of the departtnCnt in
the tenured Southeast Asian historian who tragically died 111 1968. I June declared unanimously that the name should be changed to Pacific
found in the ANU files the justification for my appointment which Jim & Southea>t Asian History. In order both to continue the pioneering
penned ir11969, which ended by stating that 'Since RSPS is giving.w;e~t role of the Department in Pacific J~listoty and to caret to the .rapid
emphasis to South-east Asian studies~ an appointn1ent such ~s Reid sis growth in Southeast Asian I~listory~ that meeting demanded that two
urgent.'" Prestimably this was with an eye to Crawford a11d Atn~t, and chairs he advertised, one in each field, and that the incumbents should
now revealed his department as being pushed m the d1rect.1on. of share responsibility (Reid 1973.
Southeast Asia rather than leading the charge as fifteen y~..i.n; earlicx. 111e autl1orities decided to advertise only one chair initially, wit;h
Perhaps it did 00 harn1 that 01y backgro~nd was ~ellingron and a second kept in reserve for when the firsr had been resolved. The first
Canlhridge, like Jim's but twenty years later. Jt.m seemed 111dulgent, and one went to a second small-island Austronesian specialist. hut of a very
a good patron for a quiet operator like mysdf. He had arranged a year- different kind in Hawaii-trained Gavan Daws. He accepted the notion
long Visiting Fellowship for Peter Burns 111 1971, who. was perhaps of a dualism between two $ide~ of the depa.r:t111ent~ and went :along with
then (but not later) identift•ble os the acceptable kind of «>kmtol the Re:f;earch School'~ con.side.rat.ion of a senior appointtnent in
Reid ln<kmesian Studios at ANU 67
Southeast Asian hi•toi:y. But when he arrived l was at Yale, and I want This is to say that ir was not the Amcric~n a.tea studie$ n1odel
to pause a little to wonder what effect t:his American year had. that got us started on organising cross-campus things on a Southeast
T have written elsewhere (1994:256-76; 1999:9-10) about the Asia basis. N evcrthdeM the American model did have some secondary
two tt-.1diticms which have given rise to Southeast A•ian studies as ~n influence on me, and I suppose on <•then. I had sought oot people like
enterprise in English. (There arc different trndi~ons in French, 111 George Kahin, Herb Feith and Harry Benda before ever arriving at
Chinese, and to a degree in Japanese.) The more Wldely-acknnwledged ANU. And when I went to teach Southeast Asian history at Yale in
one is the American area studies pattet:n of Cornell~ )"ale, and so on; 1973--4, I dearly found tlus model very exciting. During my nine
the othe< is the unlversitles of Malaysia and Singapote, which montl1' there I attended two of the Al\S conferences ;1nd visited
developed the undergraduate teaching of 'Southeast Asia' courses Sot1theast Asia Centres at Cornell (twice), Colombia (twice), Wi•consin,
since the 1950s. l believe this second one should be better Ohio, Northern Illinois, Michigan and Berkeley. I must have been keen.
acknowledged~ $itlce it has produced a large proportion of those who 'fhe two Southeast Asian historians appointed in. 1973-4 were
write about Southe;a:st Asi.'l as a coherent entity. I believe. it affecr·ed the both Cornell gr.aduatcs in Leonard Andaya and Rey Ileto. Rey's
first genei::ation of recruits from hialaysia/Singapore to ANU to son1e appointment was the first stretching of th1: bounds uf rl1e ol<l
degree_ at leostSadka and Ho T know it greatly affected the second Malaysia/Indmiesia focus, but still acceptable to Pacific people because
ge~cration~ Wang Gungwu, myself and Terrr MtGee. Jt was at ~he of the Austtnnesian, island and European-impact themes. When I
University of Malaya that I had been asked to teach Southeast Asian came back tu a new dcparttnent headed by Gavan Daws, having been
history, and proce~ded to try to figure out what tt "Was. teaching Southeast Asian history at Yale, it seemed time to advertise
When I first arrived at ANU in Febrnary 1970 I not only across the whole of the region. I was delighted when David Marr
·oined David Penny and Ruth Datusman in keeping the Indonesia applied, and he was appointed a Research Fellow in 1975.
J. A' h
Study Gtoup afloat, but l also quickly organised a Southeast Sia lune Ruth Mc Vey had expressed interest i11 the chair advertisement,
gtoup, which ttied to meet on the first Monday of each month from and at a higher level than mine she was being considered for rhe second
late 1970 to my dcpa<ture for Yak in 1973. There we<e only runetee~1 chair on Southeast Asia. She came out as a Visiting Fellow in
people on my first circulatlon list, and it offered to focus on Malaysia January-February 1976, and gave a couple of very detailed seminars on
and Indonesia wcith e>etcnsions to Thailand, Cambodia and the the 1965 coup. Whether from our side or hers, it w3' decided not to
Philippines. In fact we did fairly quickly have John, Gidin~ talking on ptoceed with this appointment, a11d we converted the chair into a
Thailand and. Hazel Richter on Burma, as well as Steve Fitzgerald on Fellowship. David Marr beat some sttu11g competition to get it in \ 977.
Chinese polic;ie1< to the whole of Southeast Asia and lots of talks on For the next 20 years he and I would be the two tenured Southeast
Malaysia. By hindsight, perhaps the highlight was the talk to the ~r?up Asian historians. The idea wits that the next available tenured slot
by Dr Mahathir during his subsequently n?rorio11s August 197 t .".1s1t t<> would be uocd to again test the water for a chair, but that did not
Australia. Just emoxi,>ing from the limbo uito which his op~o~1t1on to happen until 1988. Ncverthcless the years 1975-85 were exciting ones
1engku Abdul Rahman had cast him, Mahathit had heen mVltcd and in terms of appointments, intellectual critical mass, and joint projects.
then dis-invited by the Gorton government, and when subsequently re· There were always between two and four non·totmred posts in
invited seemed thoroughly miffed by his treatment. I don't think we Southeast Asian lustory, and since we then rook the view tliat rwo years
knew this at the time, a~d he should have been pleased enough with the was more sensible than five, the good people kept corning and doing
talk and the dinner we gave him at ov.r place, to which Bill Morrison well. l\lost of them in this [>etiod were US-tra.inal ::ind perhaps too
(Opp<>Sition spokesm•n on Foreign Affa.ito) dropped in. many Americans.
68 Reid
l11donesl111n Studies at ANU
On Malaysia/Indonesia Deliar Nocr came i.t1 1975, Barbara
Andaya in 1977, Virginia Matheson in 1981, Lenore Manderson in ·n1e excitement of period WM enhanced by the new
1983 and Bob Elson 1984. On the Philippines Rey Ileto was followed Dep~rttncnt of Political and Social Change in the Research School. I
by Mila Guerrero and Al McCoy (arriving late and leaving early) i.t1 men.tJoncd the strange absence of Policies from the Sdmol in the
1977, Glenn l\1:ay in 1981 and 'Norman Owen in 1983. Ben Batson Davtdson days. Jack Ctawford had brought International Relations back
worked on Thailand from late 1977, though there was then a big gap into the Schoo~ and JDB lvliller, Hedley Bull and John Girlin · did
until Craig Reynolds in 1990. l\fike Vickety wrote his book on supe~vtse students 111 Southeast Asian policies. But Interan~onal
Can1bodia in 1979-81, and Nayan Chanda his in 1983-4. Beyond the Relations rem:uned a little wicomfortable dealing wid1 the study of the
Department of Pacific and Southeast Asian History, Jennifer Cushman mtcnial. polincal dynanlics, so d1at both d1ey and Heinz Arndt's
atrived in Far Eastern H.istory in 1975, providing a Thai historian and cconormsts were <:onvince<l a new opetation was essential. J seenl to
a necessary link with Craig Reynolds in Sydney. In the Faculty of Asian ~ecall that it was especially Heinz who feared that a standard Political
Studies, Thai began to be taught in 1974, and with Tony Dillds Sctencc departm~t might lead to theoretical modd-buil<ling of 110 great
rec<u.itment a few years latet it became ck>< that ANU was an relevance to empmcal work. Hence the name Political and Social Change
it1ternarional leader in '"fhai studies. Baa::;; Tc:rwicl and Ian "Proudfoot was d"".'sed and a search was begun for a polirical scienti•t or sociologi'st
added to the Southeast Asian histqry strength, while another who . m; 'trike th ..; ..1 t
......,.. s . e '4'1' empmc · · al note. A'rte< several false starts the
Cornellian, Tony Milner came to the History dcparnnent in the Faculty tr"'.l lcd to.Ja~e Mackie in 1979. Although.Jainic had d1e best Southeast
of Arts in 1980. George Miller had been an outstanding rccmit to the Asian cre<lenllals of anybody in Australia at that point, he made it dear
ANU library in 1973, and oversaw the extension of library holdings th~t he wa.nte~ to focus. ~sc.a:rch on a 1nore Ji.mired area. This ended up
from Indonesia and Malaysia to the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. bemg Indonesia, thcPhiiippmes, Malaysia and New Guinea.
The positive side of all excitement and building included (in Within • few yea<S Jamie had built this Deparllnent's strength
Hbtory) a series of good collective books covering Southeast Asia - ~P __to .seven pc?pl~, si:x of them working 011 Indonesia or the
Perceptions of the Past (Reid and Marr 1979), ]a;xmm Omtpation (McCoy hilipp111cs. He IJUtiated the biggest focussed "'"arch projoot the
1979), S/awry. Bondage and Dependenry (Reid 1983), Disease and Dealh School had •
seen, with him<df • '
Bill O'MallevJ' Ken "ou-
, Colli
.. g, . l B rown
(Owen 1987) - as well as the usual individual books, of which Ilcto's and Radin Fet:nando all working on a proj1;ct wJU~h began as a
and Marx's were definitely. world-beaters. I guess we were leading the Java-l,uzon rural comparison, and ended by looking ;,1 historical dopth
world in vari0 us ways in this period, and we ran the publications •cries at. four rural k,t/,,tpaten in Java. It seemed a reasonable experiment in
of the Asian Studies Association of Austtalia as a means of showing us111g School resources for single major researd1 advance. Its failure
it. On the negative side, not enough of the Research Fellows remained ~nsured the department would turn into a more normal Political
in Austtalia. Moreover these halcyon da}'l! did not produce a group of Sc1c11ce departme~t theceafter, still empirically oriented but better
graduate students commensurate with the academics. History was ad1u.tcd to attrac11ng Politics students from quite a bruad range. This
perhaps already beginning to decline as a magnet for Australian It has done rather well, and the declitling number of staff was
graduate students as politics became a pole of attraction, and con:pensated for by the high quality with the arrival of Hawld Crouch
increasingly the scholai:ships were not there to allow foreign sn1dcnts 111 1985, and of Ben Kerkvliet as Jan:tie's replacement in 1989.
to come. We really had no systematic means to attract graduate A centre without a Centre
students tu work with this inc.teasingly stellar voup of people, nor
much of • plan to do so. By l'hc mid-l980s ANU was cleady an international leader if not.the
leader, in Southeast Asian studies. It probably has had sin:e then t:hc
70 Reid
la.rgest concenttation of academic specialists on the region of any lndot1Hl11n Studies at ANU
institution outside Southeast Asia - as indeed it should. The arrival of
After a lon.g career in ""''!Y instilHtio11;, Antho'!J .Riid is c11"eitt!J a Vhiting
senior figures such as Jim Fox in Anthropology in 197 5, together with
Fell~w in the Coll(f!! ef A.r)a and the Pad.fie, A11stralian National Universi[Y. Flis
the Political and Social Change cluster, the economists, the historians, •m~t'/ <1ddress is: anfho' These considerations were Jim
the demographers, the language and literature people, meant thete was arlt1:11"'11d m 4 farewt// la/If, fo ANU} l11donesia St11dy Gro11p in 1999, which
a rounded strength of expertise that could not be matched elsewhere. ranged rather more broad!J into the grad11al devtlopmel// ef So11/bcast Asian
The extension of language teaching into Thai and Vietnamese in the Slll~es in the period beilveen 1970 and 1999 when be was first al ANU, and
Faculty made it a genuinely Southeast Asian centre, with world stat:w:e prev1011sfy,
on most of its 'major countries despite the particular weight on
Despite belonging to so many departments and struct:w:es on Notes
the whole those working on the same areas got along, a;..d there was
cooperation despite the lack of strucrures for it. Among the major l. p,,,,., •nd Varghese 1996:17.
coop eta cive end·eavours were the l11donesia Connection seminars i.11 2, W McMahon Ball (19Q·l-86) was the founding r•ofo••o.· of Political
1979 and the Torres Strait seminars of a similar period, both producing. Scien.ce at Melbourne University. His familiarity with the region wa.•
certamly enhanced by his appointment shortly after Pearl Harbour
gargantuan books.n Periodically there were initiatives to organise or at
(Decc=ber 1941) to head •Short Wave Propaganda Division of Radio
least ro list all the Southeast Asianists at ANU; but such attempts at
Aust~lia. l'his W:is inten<lcd both ro moniror bro..idcasring i.n Japanese
organising were usually defeated by the very variety and numbers of
'l'h~ a~d French, and to transr'l' propaganda in these fonguages. Hi;
those involved. In my day it ofton frustrated me that ANU projected Naflonalism a11d Co111111nnism in Ba.11 Asit1 (Melbourne Un1vcrsity Press for
its Southeast Asian studies so poorly by comparison with the Institute of Pacific Relations, 1952) has soine of rhe sa.tne hUinane
Americans. More r~ccnt experience in the United States has largely syrupathy for emer:gent nationa.lism as George Kahio~s book of the. same
removed that cultural crioge. The study of Southeast Asia grew at year.
ANU not because of a specific plan or coherent purpose, but because 3. Rayrnond Firth (1901-2002), did his early training at Auckland in
m~ny individuals in different part:s of the University believed an economics, but switched ro anthropology for his PhD :i.t.l,oH<lon School of
a.ppointtnent in this area n1ade sense, and increasingly because good Ecoooinics under the influence of Malinow!>ki_ 'l'hii; dissertation was
candidates were attracted by the presence of other colleagues there. publbhcd a~ Primitive Ef.t'Jn1Jmii's ef /ht N~w Ztala11d Maori (1929). Frorn 1927
Though slow to develop, and serendipitous at many points, the to 1~3~ he :as at th_e University of Sydney, where he began his long
assoc1atton wtth the tiny Polynesian 5ociery of 'fikopia, at the southetn
concentration continues to rest on these factors, which n1ay be n1ore
extremity of the Solot:non I.slands. Of many books emphasising the :?:Ocio~
fundamental and secure than on changeable university structures and
~cono1~1ic re~li~cs (as opposed to normative social systen1s) of f>tc~
government initiatives. 1ndu~tnal soc1c.1les, particularly the n1ost influential was perhaps U?e tht
TiktJpia: A S odologioil S Indy of Kinship in Pri,nilivt Polynesia (1936). He returned
to teach at the. LSE in 1933, where he eventually succeeded Malinowski a.s
l'rofe;sor of Anthropology in 1944. Meanwhile he had vennired into
Southeast A$ia in 1939-40, with the fieldwork in Kelantan that became
ilfakry Fishmntn: Thtir P,OJaNI Eronomy (1946), During the W..r he led the
Nav~l lri.telligcnce team of which the young fellow-New Zealandcr Jirn
Dav:td:son W<"lS a mctnber, pt:'oducing the U!lefu.l naval handbook" (T"irth and
other> 1943-5).
l11do11esia11 Studies at ANU
unes Wightman Davidson (1915-1973) wa• educated in Wellington befo'." 73
oing his PhD at St John's College in Cambridge (19311-42). After hrn - - 1956, Letter D•vid$On to B•stin, 9 March 1956, Bastin liie,
'llrtinre experience helping Firth with the Naval Intelligence v~lumcs he Division of Pacific & Asian History, RSPAS, ANU. a Fellow of St John\; and Un.iver8ity Lecturer oo eolorual lustory Dorling, Philip and Lee, David (eds) 1996, AN!lra/ia a"d Indo"esia}
1944--50). Notes t<)wards a biogcaphy arc in Muni:o 2008. ,
l11depe"d"''~• The Renuil/e Agrmne"t: Dommmts 1948', vol. 2,
~ote particularly Davidson's letter to Sir Do1,1glas Copl~n~ ~n 7 Sc:te:rnber
Australian Goverrunent Publishing Service, Canberra.
949, insisting that Stanncr's appointment should not d1m11ush ~1e •C:ol"'. of
.1 8 own chair extending into matters of Pacific government (1nformat.1on Firth, Raymond, Davidsou, JW and Davies, l\fargai:et (eds) 1943-5,
roin Doug Munro). , P(lt/jic /Jla11d.t, 4 vols, Naval Intelligence Division Geographical
)n;sumably Jirn David!ion and John I .eggc were each a':'"'arc of tUhe .othe.r s Handbook Series, HMSO.
utiative at this time. Legge devoted 1956 ..bbarical trom the n•vcmty Foster, SG and Varghese, Margaret 1996, The Maki11g ef the A11stra/jan
f Wet>te(n Australia to Cornell and Indonesia. National Univmity, Allen & Unwin, St Leonai:ds.
)e'('sonal co1rununiC::ation fro1n Doug M.unro, January 1995. Fox, James and others (eds) t 980, Indonesia: A11stra/jan Perspmiw,r,
)ersona.J. c:::omrnunfr:ation fton'i. (·larry Benda. '1968. Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University,
\nnual Reports of Pacific History Department, 1970-1972.' Canberra.
Woodon to llilltOn 24 Jl,ll1e 1955, in John• file, ANU Archive,, . McCoy, AW (ed.) 1979, SoHtheast Asia und;r Japanese Occ1ipt1tio11, Yale
Ridenstcin memorandl,U'n of 19 March 1956, cited in Reid 1997:xxV1.
University Southeast Asia Smdies Monograph Series, New Haven,
'A note on Dr Reid 1, ir\ Reid file, P3.cific and Asian History.
Monro, Douglas 2008, 'On Being a Participant Biographer: The Seauh
Published respectively as Fox and others 1980, and Allen and others 1977.
for JW. Davidson', in Lal, Brij and Lukex, Vicky (eds), Telling Pacific
Uves: Prisms ef Procw, ANU E-Pre~s. Canberra.
Owen, Norman (ed.) t 987; Death and Disease ;,, Solllh<ast Asia:
·ferences Explorations in S otia/, Medical, and Dtmographic History, Oxford
en, J, Golson, J and Jones, R (eds) 1977, S11nd,umd Sahu/, Preh:sfotfr Univexsity Press for ASAA Southeast Asian Publicatio~< Series,
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Strangers in the house:
Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State Ut\iversity, Tempe.
Dutch historiography and Anglophone trespassers
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Keyword~: Indonesian studies, historiogr~phy. i\uslralian academy, Dutcli

Since Gear!!! McT11ri11 Kahin} landmark history ef th• Indti1wian re1J0/11/ion,

A11stra/im1-Amrrican 1"ckin.,ian bisroriogmpf!J has s/11dio1a!J a1JOided (with a
very ftw 11otabk exceptions) D11tch history 1>'riting on Indonesia. Until re/arive!J
re<w1t!J ii "'ms that a mther impmio11s /1itg11isHc and what might be loose!J
t'1m•d. postrokmialist, barrier has existed separattitg the two. The sta11d..JJ, if Sll<'h
it is, Ms been m11t11a/ with one venembk Dutch scholar 111,g_~esting /aromi:al!J in a
DJ1tch lang11agc p11blication little owr a d""ade ago that: 'American and A11stralia11
historians sometimes demonstrate an i1w1fident ,.,rognition of the prohkmatical
a,rpeels of the l11dti"1tlric persµcfive, '
In •x=ining post-war, Dutch language historiogmp!/y of the colonial-
'"'• this paper aims to provide perspective 011 the hi.rrorical ,gap Jefamrln.g 'post·
imperial' and postrolnnial writing in then two traditions. !1 identifies key themes
a11d figum and the role of inititu!ional sfrtlct11m in the perpetuation o/ Dutch
coh11ialiS1 historiogrrrphica/ tmditio11s th,,t explmit its ,.,r;ption ef poJt-war
theoretital and mbstantive A11!fof'Mne preomrpatio11s in thi' field The 11r1ick
ro11c/11des with a ro11,riderutio11 of more """' tnrnd.r in both ~amps' that provitks
evidenr; of a growing «mvergcnrt belllll!en the tlJll) bodi., o/ /Jistoriogmp/JJ and the
factors rontrib111i11g to thiJ monr rertnl m11t11al re«Jsessment,

The 'loss of the Indies' W'OS and remains a significant moment in Dutch
histoq.' lrtdonesian independence wns felt as 'loss' in both a quite
intimate sense across a significant proportion of the Dutch population
with historical and family connections, and nationally as a possession
of which it was fdt the Netherlands was unfairly deprived. 'rhc 'event'

&vi•w ef I11do,,1,rian and Malqysimr Affairs, vol. 43, no. I (2009), pp. 75-94.

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