The 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

Between July 23-26, 2019, AIFIS helped sponsor the 7th International Symposium of the Journal Anthropologi Indonesia (ISJAI). The title of the conference this year was “The Use and Abuse of Diversity : Anthropological Responses to the Threat of Disintegration.” ISJAI is the biggest and well-known international conference of anthropology in Indonesia. It is an event initiated and hosted by Jurnal Antropologi Indonesia, a journal published by Department of Anthropology, Universitas Indonesia since 1969 (formerly name Berita Antropologi, 1969-1989).

In his conference address, Dr. Dave Lumenta representing Jurnal Antropologi Indonesia explained that 2019 is an important marker in the development of Indonesian social and political history. The symposium included a number of prominent speakers from around the world, including Webb Keane, Ph.D. from the University of Michigan; Anna Tsing, Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Cruz; Irwan Abdullah, Ph.D. from Universitas Gadjah Mada; Nurul Ilmi Idrus, Ph.D. from Universitas Hasanuddin; and Syed Farid Alatas, Ph.D. from National University of Singapore.

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International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD)

This July, AIFIS helped to sponsor the 21st Biennal International Conference of International Consortium for Social Development, ICSD. The conference was held between July 16-19, 2019, at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta. The title of the conference this year was“Strengthening Social Development to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” and included speakers and participants from across Indonesia, Australia, and the United States.

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Workshop: Academic Writing Workshop for International Publication

Between July 8-10, AIFIS held our third workshop on academic writing for publication. Held at Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta and with support from the Henry Luce Foundation, the workshop brought together American and Indonesian academics, and provided information to help Indonesian scholars publish in peer-reviewed, international academic journals. The workshop brought together over a 100 different scholars from the two countries, and was part of an ongoing effort by AIFIS to connection Indonesian scholars to a global community of writers and researchers.

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Field Course


In collaboration with the Primate Research Center at the University of Washington, AIFIS helped support the 29th annual training course held on Tinjil Island, Banten. The course brought together pirmatologists from Indonesia and the United States, all aimed to develop greater sensitive to the environmental and the natural habitats of different primates in Indonesia. The field course was held between July 6-20, 2019.

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Workshop and Field Course


On July 2 – 4 2019, our collaborative team – representing conservation scientists and practitioners from the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF), Universitas Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya (UMP), the University of Exeter, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and Brunel University – co-led a two-day interactive event to bring together interdisciplinary perspectives and diverse stakeholders to support conservation. Our conservation research program targets the Rungan landscape in Central Kalimantan, a 135,000-ha area comprising diverse primary and secondary habitats within a matrix of human activities. Our event aimed to strengthen, expand, and promote the findings of the Rungan conservation program and further collaborative research through an international research symposium and training workshops.

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Jamu, Hebal Medicine in Java

Interested in learning about jamu, Javanese traditional herbal medicine? The University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta is offering a two week intensive course on the practice and ideas of jamu. Topics will include the cultural roots of jamu; biodiversity and uses of jamu in daily life; the science of herbal medicine; producing herbal extracts; and discussions on the benefits of herbal medicine in contemporary life. For more information visit the Gadjah Mada website.


Publication Opportunity

Aromatic Religion: Eliciting the Olfactory in the Everyday. Working with Equinox Press in the UK, editors James Edmonds and Justin Doran are soliciting submissions for a new anthology based on the teleology of scent. In the editors words:

Smell is often ancillary to sight, hearing, and touch in conceiving of what counts as religious practice. However, smell is not bounded in the same ways that the other senses are. It can sneak up on you, take hold of your senses, and move between the porousness of the world—it transcends the preconceived boundaries between the material and intellectual. This work seeks to grapple with smell, not as a feature of religion, but as its very manifestation in the world.

For information on contributing to this anthology, download the official call for submissions.


New Fellowship Recipients


Ryan Crewe, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Colorado, Denver, “The Seed of all Discord: The Spice Wars in Global History, 1520-1670.”

David Hanks, Ph.D., (Candidate) Department of Educational Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, “Eat, Pray, Love, Speak: The Commodification of Language Education for Tourism in Bali.”

Claire-Marie Hefner, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Religion – Islamic Studies, Florida State University, “Gendered Exemplarity: Women Teachers and Ethical Modeling in Indonesian Islamic Boarding Schools.”

Joseph Klein, Ph.D., (Candidate) Department of Anthropology – Cultural Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, “Circuits of Credit and Debt in the Indonesian Live Coral Trade.”

Erica Larson, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Hanover College, “Inheriting a Religious and Corrupt Nation: Ethical Dilemmas of Indonesian Youth.”

Brian MacHarg, Ph.D., Director of Academic Civic Engagement, Department of Academic Affairs – Education/Civic Engagement, Appalachian State University, “From Student Mobilization to Service-Learning: Kuliah Kerja Nyata in Indonesian Higher Education.”

Antonius Wiriadjaja, Visiting Lecturer as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Department of Film/TV – Animation, Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta,“Shadows of the Future: How New Technologies Can Integrate With Traditional Javanese Shadow Puppetry.”

Tyler Yamin, Ph.D., (Candidate) Herb Alpert School of Music – Ethnomusicology, UCLA,“Listening to the Gibbons in the Anthropocene: The Politics and Poetics of Endangered Species Conservation.”

Tyler Yamin performing gamelan at UCLA.

Tyler Yamin performing gamelan at UCLA.

AAS Photo Competition

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is inaugurating its first annual photography competition. In an attempt to acknowledge the ever increasing role of photography and media in contemporary research practices, AAS is looking for a broad range of photographic submissions, looking at how photography is used in research and education. Winning photos from the submissions will be:

  • Featured in a 2020 Calendar as a thank you gift for donors

  • Published in an online gallery for the membership to view

  • Featured on our website

Visit the AAS website for more information.


Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position in Southeast Asian Studies at the rank of assistant professor beginning in fall 2020. The Department seeks candidates whose research focuses on moving image studies, media studies, sound studies, digital culture, visual culture, or related fields of Southeast Asia, defined as the region including Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, East Timor, and Indonesia. Click here for more information on the position and application procedures.


Rising Voices in Southeast Asian Studies

The Southeast Asia Council (SEAC) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is seeking paper proposals from up-and-coming scholars to join a “Rising Voices” panel on the topic of “New Dimensions of Migration in Southeast Asia.” We seek to recruit early career scholars from Southeast Asian countries to form a panel for eventual inclusion in the 2020 Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts from March 19-22, 2020. SEAC will provide partial financial assistance for presenters to attend the meetings. For more information visit the AAS website.


Toward a Musical History of the Indonesian Archipelago

Post-doctoral fellowship in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Davis, focusing on Indonesian music

Open date: June 1, 2019 

Last review date: September 1, 2019 

Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled. 

Final date: December 31, 2019 

Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled. 


 The Department of Music at the University of California Davis invites applications for a full-time post-doctoral position in ethnomusicology. The appointment will be for one year with a potential start date of 1/1/2020. 

The position is funded through the Henry Luce Foundation. The project, “Toward a music history of the Indonesian archipelago,” has two overall goals: (1) to consolidate and corroborate existing evidence about the musics of the Indonesia archipelago, and (2) to mine a hitherto underutilized resource: documentation, in assorted media, from Christian missions that took root in many parts of the East Indies in the colonial era. 

 The post-doctoral scholar(s) will (1) identify, procure, and examine mission archival data for information about musics in the Indonesian archipelago together with the project’s principal investigators, Anna Maria Busse Berger and Henry Spiller; (2) help organize and participate in one of two international conferences, to be held in Davis (October 2020 and October 2021) that will invite scholars to share research related to Christian missionaries’ musical activities in Indonesia; (3) pursue the post-doctoral scholar’s own research. 

For a complete description of the position and information on application download the official announcement.

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Fellowship Applications

****Deadline is May 31 for the AIFIS CAORC fellowship program***

The American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS) invites applications from graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are US citizens and wish to pursue their research activities in Indonesia. We are offering a grant of US$6,000 for each scholar to conduct research projects in any field of contemporary and traditional Indonesian Studies, with preference given to applications focusing on science and technology, broadly understood; food security, literature, arts and humanities as well as Islamic Studies and/or Indonesia-United States Relations. These grants can be applied toward travel, accommodation and support of research activities in Indonesia.

The deadline for receipt of applications is May 31, 2019. 

Final announcement will be made by or on June 28, 2019.

Funding for this program is provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State through a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC).Please read attached for more information on application and eligibility. Applications will be submitted online on the CAORC website. For questions regarding these applications, please contact Rebakah Minarchek at or

Past AIFIS Fellow Tiffanesah Williams conducting her research in Indonesia

Past AIFIS Fellow Tiffanesah Williams conducting her research in Indonesia

Recipients of 2018-2019 AIFIS/CAORC Fellowships

AIFIS is pleased to announce of recent recipients for our CAORC sponsored fellowships:

Russel Barlow, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Documentation, Description, and Analysis of the Suwawa Language

Michelle Bonati, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, Amplifying Children’s Voices within Arts-Based-Service-Learning: Emerging Inclusive Education Practices in Indonesia

Aldo Foe, University of Illinois, Chicago, Nagara and the Masjid: Mosque Construction and the Political Economy of Islamization in Early Modern Period Indonesia

Patricia Hardwick, Hofstra University, Indonesian Tales, Transnational Histories: Inscribing Riau Mak Yong Narratives

Michael Miller, Cornell University, Bread, Rice, Sago: Religious Division and Cohesion in Eastern Indonesia, 1880-1941

Emily O’Dell, Yale University, Intersections of Gender and Spirituality in the Shadow Puppet Performances of Pak Prubo

Jessica Peng, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Archipelagic “Potentials:” Infrastructure, Education, and Labor in Indonesia

Ann Marie Thornburg, Notre Dame University, Vectors and Victims: Confronting Vulnerability and Valuing Life in Bali’s Human-Dog Communities

Political Discussions in Yogyakarta

AIFIS recently sponsored two events featuring eight different visiting political scholars from the United States. Meeting with students and faculty at both Gadjah Mada University and Pondok Pesantren (Islamic Boarding School) Al-Munawwir, the visitors facilitated discussions on democracy, Islam and gender identity in contemporary Indonesia.

The visiting scholars at Pondok Pesantren (Islamic Boarding School) Al-Munawwir in Yogyakarta. The visitors helped lead discussions on Moderate Islam, Islam in Politics, and Islam & Gender.

The visiting scholars at Pondok Pesantren (Islamic Boarding School) Al-Munawwir in Yogyakarta. The visitors helped lead discussions on Moderate Islam, Islam in Politics, and Islam & Gender.

A roundtable discussion at Gadjah Mada University focusing on the state of Democracy in Indonesia today.

A roundtable discussion at Gadjah Mada University focusing on the state of Democracy in Indonesia today.

Chinese Indonesians: Identities and Histories

The Monash Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre at Monash University is hosting a conference October 1-3, 2019, Chinese Indonesians: Identities and Histories. The conference will include keynote speakers Dr. Karen Strassler, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and CUNY Graduate Center, and Dr. Hilmar Farid, Director General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia. The conference is open to individual and group proposals until May 15. For more information click here.