Award Information

Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Java Jazz: Politics of Preservation and Circuits of Performance

I conducted ethnographic and archival research among Indonesian archivists who have founded a number of grassroots audiovisual archives from 2006 to 2014. I have focused on disentangling the historiography of jazz in Indonesia, appearing in 1919 and referenced in many traditional and popular national genres. While there are clear musical lineages back to the pre-Independence Indonesia, a codified list of Indonesian musicians and recordings has only recently emerged through these grassroots archives. The history of jazz in Indonesia interlocks with the Chinese Indonesian (Peranakan) community as the nation's early jazz importers and localizers. The Peranakan community participated as the archipelago's initial indigenous jazz enthusiasts, as musicians, recording engineers, concert producers, journalists, and record shop owners. Yet, despite the longstanding involvement of the Peranakan community with jazz in Indonesia, this contribution has largely gone unrecognized. Peranakan have maintained a paradoxical position in Indonesia, as longtime national contributors and eternal outsiders. This position has begun to be rearticulated in post-New Order Indonesia as Indonesians strive to embrace the global roots of many national traditions. Jazz in Indonesia has shifted from an exclusively upper-class milieu into the culture of a growing educated middle class, interested in trendy festivals and collecting old Indonesian vinyl and shellac. As jazz becomes increasingly socialized throughout Indonesia, the unique national history of jazz becomes relevant to a larger group, expanding shared understandings of Indonesian national culture beyond indigenous ingenuity but also constituted through global relation. The historical resonances of jazz in Indonesia reverberate into contemporary practice, as models of imagined and performed global connectedness. My research of these archival projects, exploring the rich history of jazz and popular music in Indonesia, offers ethnographic insights into particular Indonesian historiographi