Seminars & Events

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch)

Ambiguous Decolonization: Nativizing Social Science and the U.S.-Indonesia Intellectual Exchanges

APL (Ajiken Power Lunch) is a lunchtime workshop open to public, including IDE staffs, visiting research fellows, IDEAS students, outside researchers and graduate students. This workshop provides a platform for presentation of any work in progress where we can discuss in either English or Japanese.

Those who would attend a seminar are asked to announce yourself to receptionists on your arrival at the IDE and to obtain APL Organizers' signature on your admission card after the seminar.


April 25, 2018. (Wednesday) 12:30-14:00


Ambiguous Decolonization: Nativizing Social Science and the U.S.-Indonesia Intellectual Exchanges


In 1946, the U.S. Government enacted the Fulbright Act which would be the foundation of Fulbright exchange program. In 1952, the Fulbright invited Haji Agus Salim as the first Indonesian Fulbright grantee to teach and give lecture in the U.S. on Islam in Indonesia. Almost at the same time, the Ford Foundation sent its first mission to Indonesia in 1953 and opened its office in Jakarta in 1955. In 1982, the American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) was established as an institution independent from the U.S. Embassy to allow more involvement of Indonesian scholars in the Fulbright program. In the late 1960s to 1980s some Fulbright and Ford Foundation alumni have developed critiques against "Western" social theories and been engaged in the project of "nativizing" social science and humanities knowledge in Indonesia. The topics of Indonesian selfhood (manusia Indonesia), cultural value (nilai kebudayaan), creative cognition (daya cipta), and mentality (mentalitas) were introduced to the discussion on pembangunan (development) in the early years of the New Order regime. I will discuss in the presentation that these themes reflect ambiguous decolonization movement in Indonesia during the Cold War period. Decolonization process shows that part of intellectual exercise on social science and humanities took place in the space facilitated by Fulbright, Ford Foundation, and to a certain extent Rockefeller Foundation, and the other part of it seeks to return to nationalist and nativistic agenda.


Fadjar I. Thufail (Indonesian Institute of Sciences: LIPI)


Thongchai Winichakul




Institute of Developing Economies, APL Organizers
E-mail: APLE-mail