From the wayang potehi glove puppets of Chinese origin in East Java to the gambang kromong orchestras of Batavia (modern-day Jakarta), Chinese Indonesian performing arts reflect the diverse histories and hybrid cultures of the ethnic Chinese. Yet little is known about these art forms, not least because of the legacy of assimilation under the New Order, when public displays of Chinese culture were banned. In the post-Soeharto era however, Chinese Indonesian performing arts have come out of the shadows.


What does the history of Chinese Indonesian performing arts say about ethnic Chinese strategies for self-representation over time? How can Chinese performing arts be preserved as part of Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Charlotte Setijadi explores these questions and more with Dr Josh Stenberg, senior lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Sydney. His book, Minority Stages: Sino-Indonesian Performance and Public Display was published by University of Hawaii Press in August 2019.


In 2020, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Cun Cun on Wikimedia Commons.


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