Nancy I. Cooper

Scholar of Indonesia and Singapore will teach "Introduction to Southeast Asia" course in Fall 2004.

Nancy I. Cooper, a social-cultural anthropologist, will be teaching "Introduction to Southeast Asian Studies" in Fall quarter 2004.  Her research interests focus on Indonesia, beginning with doctoral fieldwork in central Java in 1989 and 1990.  Upon graduation from the University of Hawai`i in 1994, she joined the Southeast Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore, where she taught for five years. 

The October 2004 issue of the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies includes an article by Dr. Cooper entitled, "Tohari's Trilogy: Passages of Power and Time in Java."  It is an exploration of changing attitudes toward gender and performance through Ahmad Tohari's fictional account of a rural hamlet set in the politically turbulent 1960s in Indonesia.  Other examples of published work include "Singing and Silences: Transformations of Power through Javanese Seduction Scenarios" in American Ethnologist 27(3), 2000 and "In the Wake of Flor and Sarah: Analyzing the Mega-Dramas of Transnational Dilemmas," Proceedings of the International Conference on Women in the Asia-Pacific Region, compiled by the National University of Singapore (1997).  The latter essay deals with the ongoing human rights concerns involving women from countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia who cross borders to work in the households of Singaporeans. 

Current research interests include the transformation of Javanese family rituals into public events advertized in mass media, and the rise of the controversial 'campur sari' pop genre mixing traditional gamelan music with kroncong, an Indonesian pop genre using Western scales and instrumentation.  Dr. Cooper is also working on a book featuring the complementary aspects of Javanese gender relations with the aim of advancing existing gender theories.  She has taught at UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara and has been active as a singer with Javanese gamelan ensembles in the United States, including performances at the University of Hawai`i, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, California Institute of the Arts, and San Diego State University.

Published: Monday, September 13, 2004