The Wild Child’s Desire: Cinema, Sexual Politics, and the Experimental Nation in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Cinema Studies


This project examines the new generation of Indonesian filmmakers emerging after the downfall of Suharto’s dictatorship in 1998, focusing on their artistic practices and political activism. The aftermath of authoritarianism is a critical moment when the processes of trial and error, materialized in state policies and activism performed by citizens, produce friction, congestion, and ambivalence. Linking cinema and activism to the sexuality discourse indispensible from the national debates in the past decade, the dissertation investigates how these secular, cosmopolitan filmmakers redefine the nation through sexual politics. It further analyzes how such desire is shaped and limited by the discourses of paternalism, transnationalism, and religion, within which other desiring national actors are implicated.