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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

Film Activism in Contemporary Indonesia: Queer Autoethnography, Film Festival Politics, and the Subversion of Heteronormativity

Responsible for the doctoral project: Dr. Laura Coppens (doctoral thesis 2014)
Funded by: URPP Asia and Europe
Project duration: September 2009 – August 2012
Doctoral committee: Prof. Dr. Mareile Flitsch, Ethnology, Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich/URPP Asia and Europe; Prof. Dr. Bettina Dennerlein, Islamic Studies/Gender Studies, Orientalisches Seminar/URPP Asia and Europe, Prof. Saskia Wieringa (Universität Amsterdam)
Research Field: Entangled Histories


The clear trend towards Islamisation that has become apparent in Indonesia for some time now, together with the recent related attacks on LGTBIQ activists, forms the background for my dissertation project. As case study for this problem formulation, I examine queerscapes in Indonesia. For my research, I will investigate both the influence of global feminist and queer discourses, and of national discourses about sexuality and gender, on the identity constructions and social practices of LBT women in Java. Which inequality-generating dimensions are revealed and how do these affect each other? By using the visual method and through the production of auto-ethnographic documentaries by the LBT subjects themselves, I propose a new methodical approach to investigating intersectionality. Visual data gathering can uncover unconscious yet powerful structures, norms and ideologies, which remain hidden with conventional methods. Furthermore, I will propose theoretically sound arguments, based on which alternative strategies and possible political interventions for the implementation of democracy and Human Rights, can be developed.

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