Reconciling Indonesian history with 1965 : facts, rumours and stigma


Call for papers
​International Conference
10-12 November 2016
Goethe University – Frankfurt Westend Campus 

In Indonesia, stereotypes and stigma which have been circulating for more than 50 years about leftist ideologies, have not only prevented the growth of mass-mobilization politics, but it have also divided a nation by cultivating fear. Reconciliation, which has been announced but has so far encountered little progress, is a process based on forgiveness and trust. However, until now none of these conditions have been met. The perpetrators not only refuse to acknowledge human rights violations but they even continue to legitimize it while a large part of the population still considers people accused of communism as dangerous threats.

The conference “Reconciling Indonesian history with 1965 :facts, rumours and stigma” will focus on events held in collective memory and historiography, which were taken as justification explaining the necessity to eradicate the Communist party, its affiliated organizations and sympathisers in 1965- 1966, and which are still in use in the public discourse in Indonesia. This international conference invites participants to reflect on the fear of communism and its violent consequences in past and contemporary Indonesian society. It aims to examine historical facts and events involving the Communist Party of Indonesia and its sympathisers, to question stereotypes and stigma, to analyse how they appeared, the reasons allowing them to remain operative and finally their impact over the last century in Indonesia.

The conference will consider the history of the mid-1960’s in relation to previous events – whether historical truth or rumours – and to situations which occurred afterward, up to the present days. This will allow a reflection on a long time scale about the events, which took place in 1965-1966, thus considering the violence, in all its forms, not as isolated events in the context of the Cold War, but as part of more complex dynamics still at work nowadays. In so doing, the conference aims to raise attention on the impact of the 1965-1966 events on the contemporary society.

Of particular interest are the following themes
– Violent events and the Indonesian Communist Party 1926-1965
– Human rights violation in Indonesia during the Cold War before 1965
– Intellectual freedom and restriction under Sukarno
– Communism and Pancasila
– Communism, Atheism and Religions
– Land ownership, land grabbing and communism
– Image and perception of communists in Indonesia

This event intends to bring together scientists from several countries, but also people engaged in non-academic advocacy and Indonesian government officials. Uniting the collective effort of scholars and civil society actors, the conference aims to present the abundant research of the last years which must be placed in the present revision context of Indonesian history. This international event advocates the conciliation of strong academic research with societal and political issues. Taking the form of a forum on the last day, the conference stands for an alternative between pure fundamental research and commissioned policy reports.

Abstract Submissions  :
Please submit a 250 to 300 words abstract and a short biographical note by April 1, 2016.
For submission and further information:

Convenors :
– Jun. Prof. Dr. Elsa Clavé:
Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
– Prof. Dr. Asvi Warman Adam:
LIPI, Jakarta, Indonesia
– Friederike Trotier :
Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany

Dates :
1 st April 2016: Deadline for Abstracts
22th April 2016: Notification of Acceptance
1 st July 2016: Opening of Registration
1 st September 2016: Closing of Registration
10th -12th November 2016: Conference

Fees: 50 euros
Reduces fees (students, unemployed): 10 euros
Registration fees are to be paid exclusively by bank transfer.
Further details will be provided upon registration. Local students and postdocs may attend sessions for free.