Tracing the Roots of Pluralism in Indonesia

Does Indonesia have a strong basis for religious pluralism that is deeply rooted in its history? This question can help shape the way Indonesian people today imagine their national identity when dealing with religious diversity. To get a historian’s perspective, CRCS student Azis Anwar Fachrudin interviewed Professor Anthony Reid, distinguished historian of Southeast Asia and Professor Emeritus at the Australian National University, when he visited CRCS on February 24, 2016, and spoke at the CRCS-ICRS Wednesday Forum. Following his doctoral work at Cambridge University on the contest for power in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, in the late 19th century, he has written many books on the political and cultural history of the region, including The Contest for North Sumatra: Aceh, the Netherlands and Britain, 1858-98 (1969); The Indonesian National Revolution (1974);  The Blood of the People: Revolution and the End of Traditional Rule in Northern Sumatra(1979); An Indonesian Frontier: Acehnese and other histories of Sumatra (2004); Imperial Alchemy: Nationalism and political identity in Southeast Asia (2010); and To Nation by Revolution: Indonesia in the 20th Century (2011); as well as works of historical synthesis, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, c.1450-1680  (2 vols. 1988-93) and A History of Southeast Asia: Critical Crossroads (2015). He was the founding director of the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Read the interview here.

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