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Research Symposium

The Arryman Fellows’ research is presented at the at annual EDGS Research Symposium. All EDGS Research Symposiums are held at the Buffett Institute on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Click on the title of the presentation to learn more about the presentation and the fellow who presented.


Contesting Bridewealth-Classification of the Bugis Marriage Prestations

Author and presenter: Bahram Naderil, anthropology

Respondent: Hafsa Oubou, PhD student, cultural anthropology

This paper re-examines the classification of Bugis marriage prestations in anthropological terms. Widely classified as a bridewealth system, or loosely as a dowry system, the Bugis practice of material-giving prior to marriage, I argue, has been reduced to terminologies which neither encompass nor reflect the essence of the practice. The Bugis social identities of gender, kinship, and status, each with its own role in Bugis marriage, are (re)produced through ongoing ritual performances. The discussion of ritual performativity of these identities, when posed side-by-side with classic kinship discussion in anthropology, reveals the inadequacy of the category of bridewealth to encompass the Bugis practice of material-giving.

Power and Free Speech: The Elites’ Resistance to Criticism in Indonesia

Author and presentor: Ririn Kusuma, political science

Respondent: Malia Bowers, PhD student, political science

The fall of Suharto brought Indonesia onto a new path of democracy. However, after 19 years, Indonesia remains lacking in the exercise of free speech. I argue that the legacy of Dutch colonialization and the system of dictatorship which lasted more than three decades continue to influence the Indonesian political culture which justifies the elites’ attitude toward criticism.

Shifting Boundaries and Contentions: The Regulation of ‘Victimless Crimes’ in Indonesia

Author and presenter: Mirna Nadia, sociology 

Respondent: Omri Tubi, PhD student, sociology

Indonesia has witnessed the shifting of regulation to control “victimless crimes” after the demise of the authoritarian New Order regime—from deploying gender norms via public policy and propaganda to forthright criminalization of those who deviate from such norms. It appears that the changing political environment and contentious norms diffusion provoke social opposition, including criminalization of “victimless crimes,” as newer norms become increasingly visible and collide with the norms which are rooted within the nation.

Worker Unrest and Contentious Labor Practices of Ride-hailing Services in Indonesia

Author and presenter: Aulia Dwi Nastiti, political science

Respondent: Christa Kuntzelman, PhD student, political science

Why have ride-hailing services (i.e., Uber-like apps) prompted labor discontents? Using the case of informal labor in Indonesia, the author contends that the answer lies in the labor practices imposed by the middleman firm that is built on legal void on labor laws and facilitated by the use of technology, also the rhetoric of freedom and entrepreneurship. While the exploitative conditions are pervasive, resistance occurs when the firm violates drivers’ normative practices and threatens their subsistence incomes.

At Home or in a Clinic: An Ethnography of Trust Construction and Risk Calculation in Indonesia’s Maternal and Neonatal Development

Author and presenter: Sari Damar Ratri, anthropology

Respondent: Keegan Terek, PhD student, linguistic anthropology

A foreign-funded program, called Revolusi Kesehatan Ibu dan Anak (Maternal and Neonatal Health Care: Revolusi KIA), focused on women using a professional health care provider in a facility. In practice, some women preferred to give birth at home with help from a traditional birthing attendant (dukun) even though the government uses fines and punishments for every birth occurring outside the clinic. The author claims that this framework, in fact, neglects significant aspects of historical intervention programs, perpetuates health risks, and disrupts the established socio-cultural relationship among women, frontline health apparatuses, and dukun in the local community.


Buru Island: A Prism of the Indonesian New Order

Author and presenter: Sindhunata Hargyono, anthropology

Respondent: Foroogh Farhang, PhD student, anthropology

From 1969-1979, the Indonesian New Order operated a violent prison island called Buru to imprison untried political prisoners category B. In this paper, I question the nature of violence in Buru Prison Island. I argue that Buru became extraordinarily violent because the Indonesian New Order fully gratified its totalitarian desire in Buru. The New Order achieved the total domination through rendering political prisoners superfluous. In the latter part of the paper, I situate Buru in a bigger picture and claim that Buru was a prism which refracted its experience outside its remotedness.

The Failure of Indonesia’s State Monopoly: The Pertamina Crisis of 1975-1978

Author and presenter: Norman Joshua, history

Respondent: Wen-Qing Ngoei, EDGS Rajawali Research Fellow

The paper focuses on a reexamination of the near-failure of Indonesian state-owned oil company Pertamina during the late 1970s. The paper explicates how Pertamina’s underperformance from a combination of the nature of the Indonesian oil and gas industry, bureaucratic incompetence, corrupt practices, overexpansion, and the state of the global financial markets during the 1970s oil boom.


The Rise of Political Dynasty in a Democratic Society

Author and presenter: Yoes Kenawas, political science

Respondent: Yuchen Liu, PhD student, political science

This paper analyzes the underlying causes of the formation of subnational political dynasties and the mechanisms that enable dynastic politicians to emerge and to extend their power in a democratic country. This paper argues that dynastic politicians in consolidating democracies rely on the informal family network and the accumulated material wealth. These two factors allow dynastic politicians to tilt the electoral playing field for the advantage of their family members. This paper focuses on the formation of the Rau Dynasty in Banten, Indonesia.

Who Let the Watchdogs Out? The Proliferation of National Watchdog Agencies in Indonesia’s Post-Reformasi Era

Author and presenter: Sabina Puspita, political science

Respondent: Laura Garcia Montoya, PhD student, political science

Indonesia’s post-reformasi era has seen a proliferation of judicial watchdog agencies established to reform legal infrastructure at the national level that includes, but is not limited to, a human rights watch, an anti-corruption commission, and an ombudsman institution. This study proposes an analysis of the proliferation from 1999 to the present by emphasizing two factors that have contributed to the inception of this type of watchdog agencies, namely, pressing socioeconomic issues and change agents. 

Spatial Segregation and Ethno-Religious Violence: A Lesson from Ambon, Indonesia

Author and presenter: Wara Urwasi, sociology

Respondent: Lisa-Jo K. Van Den Scott, PhD candidate, sociology

When and how space influences the occurrence of communal violence in Ambon? By using archival data and secondary sources, I argue that space acted as a motivation-driven mechanism in which spatial segregation created a desire for a certain territory because of its objective and subjective values. Space also played a role as an opportunity-driven mechanism as spatial segregation increased the interaction within groups and facilitated groups’ mobilization in communal violence and the targeting of other groups.


Transformation of Dress and National Subject Formation of the Indonesian People in the Colonial Period

Author and presenter: Luthfi Adam, history

Respondent: Lauren Delacruz, PhD student, communication studies

The Durability of Sub-National Political Leaders in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

Author and presenter: Muhammad Fajar, political science

Respondent: Rana Khoury, PhD student, political science

Post-authoritarian Indonesia has shown some sub-national political leaders fell from power before their first term while others have survived through it. I argue that the durability of these leaders is influenced by two factors: the strategy of extraction and populist policy. The different political strategies employed by the leaders have resulted in three institutional outcomes: durable-populist office, durable-exploitative office and non-durable office.

Power Struggle Over Land: Decentralization, Land Tenure Security, and the Rule of Law in Indonesia

Author and presenter: Najmu Sopian, political science

Respondent: Alexandra Sasha Klyachkina, PhD student, political science

How Bureaucracy Affects Inequality: The Case of Post-Authoritarian Indonesia

Author and presenter: Rahardhika Utama, sociology

Respondent: Andre Nickow, PhD student, sociology

This study demonstrates that the transition to democracy does not necessarily transform detrimental institutions nor replace the existing official position of the previous bureaucracy. Focusing on the output side of the political system in which public officials exercise political authority, it provides an empirical account of the causal effects of bureaucracy on inequality in the case of post-authoritarian Indonesia.


Democratic Transition and the Changing Pattern of State-religion relations in Indonesia: A Study on Institutional Change at Subnational Level

Author and presenter: Gde Metera, political science

Respondent: Andre Nickow, PhD student, sociology

The Ruling Ambition of the Military in South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines during the Process of Democratic Consolidation

Author and presenter: Hipolitus Ringgi, political science

Respondent: David Peyton, PhD student, political science

Political Corruption in New Democracies: A Comparative Study of Indonesia and South Korea

Author and presenter: Danang Kurniadi, political science

Respondent: Silvia Otero, PhD student, political science