Jafar Suryomenggolo

Program-Specific Researcher, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
-Academic Qualifications: Ph.D., Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University 2010
-Research Interests: Labour issue in developing countries, Popular culture and East Asian modernities, Chinese in Southeast Asia, Legal history in post-colonial societies

I graduated from Graduate School of Asia and African Area Studies (ASAFAS), Kyoto University in February 2010. My thesis describes the formation and development of state-labour relationships in Indonesia from a historical perspective, by examining how workers had formed and structured their organizations during the years of 1945-1948, the very peak of the Indonesian revolutionary period.
My current research topic is on Indonesian workers’ social narratives about the nation. I have been collecting and reading autobiographies, short stories, poems, novels and other literary works written by workers all produced from the 1980s until 2011. My focus is on how workers formulate their writings and perceptions about the nation. In the context of modern Indonesia, the act of writing has developed as a contested forum for social actors to voice their concerns and interests. These literary works show that workers in their collective struggles are actively defining “Indonesia” and with this, positioning themselves for a just place in the social fabric of the nation.