Heryanto, Ariel 1954-

views updated

Heryanto, Ariel 1954-


Born 1954, in Indonesia. Education: Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Indonesia, B.A.; University of Michigan, M.A., 1984; Monash University, Australia, Ph.D., 1994.


Office—Asia Institute, Sidney Myer Asia Centre Bldg., Level 2, Corner of Swanston St. and Monash Rd., University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia. E-mail—[email protected].


Educator, writer, and editor. University of Melbourne, Asia Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, convenor of Indonesian program and assistant international dean of the faculty of arts. Previously taught in Indonesia and Singapore.


Perdebatan Sastra Kontekstual, Rajawali (Jakarta, Indonesia), 1985.

(With others) Pers: Hukum Dan Kekuasaan, Yayasan Bentang Budaya (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), 1994.

Language of Development and Development of Language: The Case of Indonesia, Department of Linguistics (Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia), 1995.

(With others) Bahasa Dan Kekuasaan: Politik Wacana Di Panggung Orde Baru, edited by Yudi Latif and Idi Subandy Ibrahim, Mizan (Bandung, Indonesia), 1996.

Perlawanan Dalam Kepatuhan: Esai-esai Budaya, edited by Idi Subandy Ibrahim, Mizan Pustaka (Bandung, Indonesia), 2000.

(Editor, with Sumit K. Mandal) Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia, RoutledgeCurzon (New York, NY), 2003.

State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia: Fatally Belonging, Routledge (New York, NY), 2006.

(Editor) Popular Culture in Indonesia: Fluid Identities in Post-Authoritarian Politics, Routledge (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to periodicals in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Also author of Ariel Heryanto's Blog. Collective editor, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Journal, 2000-01; member of the international editorial advisory board of the borderlands e-journal, 2002—, and the international board of editors of the Jurnal Antropologi Indonesia, 2002—.


Ariel Heryanto earned degrees in Asian studies and anthropology and has conducted research in a wide range of areas, from popular culture and cultural studies, to the study of political violence and urban middle classes. His primary interest focuses on issues of cultural signifying practices, particularly as they apply to everyday politics of identity and representation. Related to this interest is the study of semantics, discourse, analysis, media, ethnicity, nationality, and diasporas. His research has focused on both Indonesia and the comparative studies of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

Heryanto has written and edited several books focusing on his academic interests. He is the editor, with Sumit K. Mandal, of Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia. The book collects essays that provide a substantial comparative study of Indonesia and Malaysia. Focusing on the period following the collapse of the New Order rule of General Suharto in Indonesia in 1998, the authors provide an in-depth look at antiauthoritarian forces, assessing both their prospects and problems. "More generally, the book also addresses the dominance of the ‘transition from authoritarianism to democracy’ paradigm within political analysis, especially in regards to Southeast Asia," wrote Ian Douglas Wilson in Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context.

In the book, the contributors examine the difficulty of the transition to democracy from an authoritarian state by looking at social agents and practices beyond the formal political institutes as well as measures of economic performance that are typically discussed. Instead, the contributors take on a broader sense of politics, power, and authoritarianism and also challenge common understandings of gender, Islam, ethnicity, and social classes. "In this respect the book constitutes a vital contribution, as its contributors provide detailed empirical accounts of social activists and ‘extra-parliamentary actors’ working outside of formal institutional frameworks, as well as describing sets of political dynamics away from political elites," wrote Wilson in Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context.

The essays specifically look at challenges to authoritarianism in Indonesia and Malaysia, the cultural politics of the middle classes in Indonesia, the development of dissent in industrialized areas, changes in the state-labor relations, Islamization and democratization within both regional and global contexts, women's activism, and creativity in protest. In their introductory chapter, Heryanto and coeditor Mandal examine how the polarity between authoritarianism and democracy is but one way of examining political power and challenges to authority.

Khoo Boo Teik, writing on the Kyoto Review Web site, noted that "the substantive essays make valuable contributions to the comparative analysis of recent struggles, mounted by different forces, to ‘challenge authoritarianism’ in Indonesia and Malaysia." In a review in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Wang Gungwu referred to Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia as "a very thoughtful collection of essays" and also wrote in the same review: "The editors are to be commended for keeping their colleagues focused on the central theme. Their firm hands have ensured that the six essays on an elusive subject have told their stories equally well."

In Heryanto's 2006 book State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia: Fatally Belonging, the author examines the political consequences of mass killings in Indonesia in the mid-1960s. The killings included the death of approximately one million innocent Indonesians who were murdered by their fellow nationals, neighbors, and kin during a rabid anticommunist campaign. The author mixes both theory and empirically based analysis in this work to examine how the specter of communism and the trauma of these killings in the 1960s remain crucial factors in understanding the current dynamics of terror, coercion, and consent that exist in Indonesia in the twenty-first century. The author presents his view that anticommunist witch-hunts in recent Indonesian history were not merely a political tool used by the govern- ment. In addition, Heryanto examines what he believes to be the further causes of these witch-hunts. "Heryanto's analysis of power is subtle and original, informed by both a deep knowledge of recent events in Indonesia and an admirable familiarity with social theory," wrote John Roosa in Pacific Affairs. "Not many writers on Indonesian politics draw upon semiotics and post-structuralism with such aplomb."



Contemporary Southeast Asia, April 2004, Wang Gungwu, review of Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia: Comparing Indonesia and Malaysia, p. 181.

Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, August, 2004, Ian Douglas Wilson, review of Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia.

Pacific Affairs, spring, 2006, John Roosa, review of State Terrorism and Political Identity in Indonesia: Fatally Belonging, p. 154.


Kyoto Review,http://kyotoreview.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ (March 24, 2008), Khoo Boo Teik, "Books of Note," review of Challenging Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia.

University of Melbourne, Asia Institute Web site,http://www.asiainstitute.unimelb.edu.au/ (March 24, 2008), faculty profile of author.

Worldsources Online, October 5, 2003, "Authoritarianism: Southeast Asian Dares to Say Enough Is Enough."