Journal Issues


Special issue of the journal, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: Film Discussion, Candra Aditya’s Dewi pulang.
Edited by Richard Fox. Volume 177/2-3, July 2021.
Short films have proven an important medium for social commentary in contemporary Indonesia. As an example of the genre, this special issue of BKI presents Candra Aditya’s (2016) short film, Dewi pulang (Dewi goes home), which follows a young Javanese woman as she travels from Jakarta to her natal home in Central Java to attend her father’s funeral. A critically annotated transcript and translation of the film’s dialogue is followed by four essays on various aspects of the film and a conversation with the filmmaker. Issues addressed include the changing nature of short films and ‘indie’ cinema in post-authoritarian Indonesia; the filmmaking practices specific to Dewi pulang; the interplay of absence and presence in Dewi’s movement between Jakarta and her natal home in Central Java; and the juxtaposition of Indonesian-, English- and Javanese-language dialogue, and the forms of sociality they respectively embody. Taken as a whole, the special issue offers at once a window onto short filmmaking in Indonesia and new primary materials for further analysis. Open Access here.

Special issue of the journal, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde: Pop Culture as Argument and Aspiration.
Edited by Richard Fox. Volume 176/1, March 2020.
Popular culture has figured prominently in the scholarship on post-authoritarian Indonesia, seen to affect everything from party politics and the economy to romance and religion. Alongside publications that aim to provide a survey of the field, an extensive literature has developed around more detailed analyses of television, cinema, fashion, pop music, street art, and social media, among other things. An important subset of these studies has focused on the intersection with Islam, highlighting the complex relationship between piety, entertainment, style, and consumption. This is arguably one of the more dynamic fields in Indonesian studies today. Yet, for all its ethnographic and analytic richness, and with but a few notable exceptions, this rapidly growing body of scholarship has tended to take the concept of ‘popular culture’ for granted—as if the term’s referent were self-evident, and its theorization unproblematic. Put another way, it might be said that the scholarship on post-authoritarian Indonesia has taken a relatively passive attitude to theorizing popular culture—either presupposing the category absolutely, or invoking prior theorists as authorities without querying either the coherence or applicability of their accounts and terminology. As the contributions to this special issue aim to suggest, the question of popular culture may require more careful consideration—not least given its alleged importance for our understanding of recent developments in politics, religion, the economy, and so on. Open Access here.

Special issue of the journal, Indonesia: Highlighting Timor-Leste Studies.
Edited with David Webster. Volume 107 (April 2019)
The articles presented in this themed issue flow from an ambitious two-year initiative by the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) to raise the profile of Timor-Leste studies, both at AAS and in the wider North American academy. First presented at AAS’s 2017 conference (Toronto), the collection highlights the work of both established and emerging scholars and makes a timely intervention in Asian Studies by offering insights and experiences from Southeast Asia’s newest country.

Special issue of the Asian Journal of Communication: Indonesian entertainment media.
Edited with Mark Hobart. Vol 16/4 (2006).
This special edition about contemporary entertainment media in Indonesia consists of four articles. Each focuses on different popular genres of entertainment on television and their associated commentaries, primarily in the print media. The authors examine different aspects of television production which has burgeoned since the economic crisis of the late 1990s. The topics range from popular Indonesian music programmes, through imported genres like talent quests, real-life crime and supernatural reality TV, to travel programmes which represent Indonesia to Indonesians through foreign eyes. The articles all give a sense of the energy, vitality and openness of mass television broadcasting formats, although these are usually portrayed in the mass communications and media studies’ literature as either effectively determined by multinational corporations or else conventional to the point of sterility. As a collection, these pieces, with their stress on television as complex sets of situated practices, offer new ways of approaching one of Asia’s major media industries.

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