Dread and Enchantment in the Indonesian Literary Archive


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project considers colonial and postcolonial literary works as situated testimonies in order to examine the way dread and enchantment haunt twentieth-century Dutch Indies and Indonesian literary archives. It shows how literary works offer a method of reading the traces that elude the archive, emotional traces that historians may fail to witness or to record. In a figurative sense, the archive is a site of exclusion, haunting, and lack. In a literal sense, the archive points to collections of documents and testimonies that exist in institutional forms and spaces. This study explores how particular Dutch Indies and Indonesian literary works influence the way the past has been narrated in Indonesian archives under colonial conditions and in the face of postcolonial state repression.