Militarization Overlooked: Rethinking the Origins of Indonesia’s New Order, 1950-1965

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Flyer for the seminar "Militarization Overlooked: Rethinking the Origins of Indonesia's New Order," with a portrait of speaker Dr. Norman Joshua.

In the conventional narrative, the genesis of Indonesia’s authoritarian military regime known as the “New Order” is often depicted as a sudden event catalyzed by the kidnapping and killing of six Army generals on September 30th-October 1, 1965. General Suharto, who avoided capture, seized the opportunity to establish a military autocracy that would endure for over three decades (1966-1998). Yet scholars have portrayed the 1950s favorably as a time when Indonesia experimented with liberal and constitutional democracy. By that implication, the New Order was an unforeseen anomaly. Joshua’s research challenges this view. He will argue that the 1950s in Indonesia were beset by underdevelopment, insecurity, disorder, and conflict, which promoted militarization that ultimately paved the way for the New Order’s ascendance. This militarizing process, he will show, offers fresh insight into an understudied period in Indonesian history and helps us better understand the origins of authoritarian military regimes worldwide.

Joshua, Norman - 040924

Norman Joshua is a historian working on civil-military relations and authoritarianism in Southeast Asia.  Other topics covered in his publications include revolutionary politics, counterinsurgency, intelligence, and the political economy of petroleum in Indonesia. He obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 2018 and 2023 respectively, where he was also an Arryman Scholar at the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs from 2016 to 2023.

Lunch will be served