Bench lacemaking students likely at Keradjinan Amai Satia, Kotogadang, 1915. (KITLV shelfmark 5557)

In the early 20th century in Sumatra, a movement of young women writers were finding new ways to express their identities, build communities and achieve their dreams. Soenting Melajoe was the first newspaper for women published in West Sumatra during the colonial era in the Dutch East Indies. The newspaper was a part of a larger constellation of people working together to help women find education and employment through writing and crafts like weaving.

Tito Ambyo’s guest is Bronwyn Beech Jones, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, and a recipient of the Hansen Scholarship in History. Her completed PhD, called Textual Worlds: Rethinking self, community, and activism in colonial-era Sumatran women’s newspaper archives, looks at how women and girls from Sumatra articulated their experiences and conceived of their selves, communities and aspirations in Malay language periodicals published between 1912 and 1929.

In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo from RMIT,  Dr Elisabeth Kramer from the University of New South Wales, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

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



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