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*CAPAS— Seminar Series: New Perspectives on Asia-Pacific Societies:「Keepers of the Grave: Ritual Guides, Ghosts and Hidden Narratives in Indonesian History」/ Dr. Kar Yen Leong(Department of Global Politics and Economics, Tamkang University)

TBMC:Seminars and Conferences
CAPAS— Seminar Series: New Perspectives on Asia-Pacific Societies 

Topic :  Keepers of the Grave: Ritual Guides, Ghosts and Hidden Narratives in Indonesian History(English speech. Q&A in both English and Chinese)
Speaker:  Dr. Kar Yen Leong(Assistant Professor, Department of Global Politics and Economics, Tamkang University)
Time : 14:30~16:30, Tuesday, September 8, 2020【14:30-14:50 Registration】
Venue : R2319, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica 
Chair : Dr. Wen-Chin Chang(Research Fellow, Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies (CAPAS), RCHSS, Academia Sinica)
Online Registration : https://forms.gle/GfWq66P5ZRFCiXvF7 
Registration Deadline : 17:00, Monday, September 7, 2020
Website : http://www.rchss.sinica.edu.tw/TBMC/
Organizer : Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies (CAPAS), RCHSS, Academia Sinica
Contact: Ms. Ginger Chiang, +886-2-2651-6862, E-mail:gingertw@gate.sinica.edu.tw


【About the Talk】
Within Javanese culture, the juru kunci or gate keeper is an essential intermediary between the dead and the living. Devotees often approach these individuals to enjoy the fruits of divine blessings especially in visits to the graves of Muslim saints. These gate keepers, according to scholars, also form a bridge between the past and present, acting as living ‘archives’ filled with oral historical accounts of legendary and historical figures. More importantly these gate keepers are part of a wider spectrum where they serve as intermediaries between those seeking supernatural favours and spirits which inhabit ‘potent’ landscapes. Such potent sites include suspected mass graves of between 500,000 to one million individuals alleged dissidents whom during the 1965 pogroms of the Indonesian Communist Party, were incarcerated and ‘disappeared’ all across the Indonesian archipelago.

But as public discussions over the existence of Indonesia’s killing fields grows, these sites are also increasingly becoming important repositories of an unspoken history. This paper investigates the role played by the juru kunci of several mass graves specifically in central Java. It asks: how do these keepers of the grave, through their connection with the ghostly presence of their former comrades elucidate a past which continues to be silenced in Indonesia? As former communists and political detainees themselves these gate keepers have taken on the role of not only keeping the ‘spirit’ of their fellow communists alive but to also allow their ‘voices’ to speak through them. Through contact with the souls of executed dissidents, these gate keepers utilize an ethereal ‘connection’ as way to to subvert the state’s enforced silence over the 1965 pogroms as well as their subsequent stigmatization. These gate keepers serve as important custodians of an important part of Indonesia’s history and provide the necessary oral historical material for a localized form of ‘reconciliation’. I posit that the case study of these gate keepers allows us to understand such processes from a micro perspective which larger grander narratives have largely ignored.
  1. The organizer reserves the right to amend the program and to limit or refuse entry to any person at any times, and will preclude those who are absent twice without notice.
  2. A confirmation email will be sent to you after the registration is closed. 
  3. To prevent waste from disposal of single-use cups, kindly bring your own water bottles or mugs.
  4. In light of the coronavirus outbreak, we'll conduct temperature check and collect participants’ personal data (name, phone number, etc.) at the entrance. The limited capacity of this event is 40 persons. All participants are also required to prepare their own masks and wear masks during the event. 
Last modification time:2020-08-20 PM 4:11
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