Thursday, February 8, 2024
4:00 PM (Pacific Time)

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Ummah Yet Proletariat investigates the relationship between Islam and Marxism in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and Indonesia from the publication of the first Communist periodical in 1915 to the beginning of the anti-communist massacres of 1965–66. It explores various permutations of how Muslim identity and Marxist analytical frameworks coexisted in the minds of Indonesian nationalists, as well as how individuals’ Islamic faith and ethics shaped their willingness to employ Marxist ideas. Such confluences have long been obscured by state-driven narratives which demonize Marxism and posit the mutual exclusivity of Islam and Marxism. By examining Indonesian-language print culture, including newspapers, books, pamphlets, memoirs, letters, novels, plays, and poetry, Lin Hongxuan show how deeply embedded confluences of Islam and Marxism were in the Indonesian nationalist project, even at its highest levels. Ultimately, Lin argues that these confluences were the product of Indonesian participation in broader networks of intellectual exchange across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and that such confluences were the result of Indonesians “translating” the world to Indonesia, a project of creative adaptation ambitious in both its scope and depth.

Lin Hongxuan is an Assistant Professor at the department of Southeast Asian Studies at National University of Singapore. He received his PhD in History from the University of Washington in 2020, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the NUS Asia Research Institute and the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asian Centre. His published work has previously appeared in Studia Islamika, Southeast Asian Studies, positions: asia critique, and Modern Intellectual History.

Sponsor(s): Center for Southeast Asian Studies