Pop patriotism and violent memories:
Remembering the Indonesian War of Independence through contemporary Indonesian popular culture
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis | University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In this lecture I will elaborate on my PhD-project on the basis of several examples from my ongoing fieldwork. My PhD-project investigates how cultural memories of the violence during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949) are produced, constructed and consumed through contemporary Indonesian popular culture. For the past few years, Indonesian popular culture has been structurally and continuously referring to the Indonesian War of Independence, including its atrocities. This project takes Indonesian war-themed popular culture – e.g. film, fashion and literature – as its object of study.
By analysing production, textual and reception practices of war-themed popular culture, my project maps these emergent popular memory cultures. The project takes cultural and prosthetic memory (Assmann 1995, Landsberg 2004) as its conceptual point of departure and will first analyse how producers of war-themed popular culture negotiate memories of the war during the production process. Second, the project will analyse how popular cultural products construct memories of the Indonesian War of Independence. Third, it analyses how Indonesians consume – i.e. read, negotiate, contest – these popular cultural memories.
‘Respect Heroes – Damn! I Love Indonesia’ photo taken by Arnoud Arps (2017)