|A C I C I S|
Field Study in East Java
ACICIS offers advanced language students capable of independent study the opportunity to undertake field research in East Java through Universitas Muhammadiyah, Malang (UnMuh). Students usually undertake the field study option following a semester at UGM, though it is possible to do it in their first semester. Students devise and undertake their own study projects, and a number of students have incorporated their projects into an undergraduate honours program with the approval of their home university.
Past students have written reports on topics as diverse as: reformasi, gender issues in a developing country, and community and governance in remote fishing villages. When students complete their research project, ACICIS attempts to publish all of their field reports online.
Intending participants should note that the ACICIS Resident Director (RD) is based in Yogyakarta and no ACICIS staff live in Malang. Therefore, RD support for ACICIS students enrolled in the Field Study Option is less than at UGM. However, Field Study students receive a high degree of formal and informal support and guidance from UnMuh staff.
During the first three weeks, students attend lectures, seminars and discussions in Malang. They also meet in groups to discuss their topics with UnMuh staff and arrange various permission letters required for field work. Students are allocated a staff member to act as academic supervisor and then they can undertake a two-month period of field work. During the field study period, students are usually required, for safety and administrative reasons, to stay within East Java.
Read the ACICIS student magazine for Malang.
Any student wishing to undertake field study outside East Java must obtain the approval of the RD and UnMuh staff. Any student wishing to do their field study outside of Java must formally apply in writing to the ACICIS executive in Australia for permission. Conditions attached to any such approval may include (but not be restricted to):
Students return to UnMuh during the final month of semester to write a report on their field study experience. This report is between 8-12,000 words and is usually in Indonesian or, with the approval of the student's home university, may be in English with a summary in Indonesian. At the end of semester, students submit their final report and present a seminar in Indonesian for UnMuh students and staff, the RD and perhaps some prospective ACICIS field option students. ACICIS field study reports and seminars are assessed by UnMuh academics.
Field Study Details
What can I study?
Listed below are a few ideas that indicate the sorts of projects that could be studied:
Religion: Jombang is a pesantren city and the home of some of Indonesia's national-level Muslims including Gus Dur. There are almost no state schools by comparison. Profile the town.
Labour radicalism: It started among the massive factories on the outskirts of Surabaya in 1995 (Dita Sari etc). Marsinah, the murdered factory girl who became a posthumous hero, worked in one of these factories.
Bossism: Some scholars say the alternative to New Order authoritarianism is not democracy but local mafia-like bossism. They regard East Java as the best case study.
Communists in Blitar: Defeated nationally in 1965, communists staged an armed insurrection here in 1968 that was put down with much loss of life. Local memories are deep but it's never been written up in English.
Environment: Commercial prawn ponds along the north coast of Java are destroying the mangroves. It's being studied as a national case study by universities now.
Poisons: Dangerous chemicals are being freely used in a great variety of places - agriculture, home industry, big factories. Almost no one has had the knowledge to make an inventory and challenge overseas manufacturers who dump this in the Third World.
Sexuality: Reog Ponorogo (East Javanese 'trance' folk dancers) involves 'traditional' homosexuality in the pesantren that's totally different from gay culture.
Cults: Dozens of middle class people were arrested in Malang in I think 1997 for belonging to a cult led by a man who said he was Sukarno reincarnated. He looked and talked like Sukarno and people gave him their life's savings. He's still in jail in Malang.
Youth culture: Surabaya is the home of football hooliganism (Arek Suroboyo). Their team and its supporters are as infamous as the British. Malang has them too Arek Malang (Arema).
Shipping: All business life in eastern Indonesia from Lombok through Flores and Timor runs through Surabaya's harbour. Ride some of the boats that call in to remote places and see how they do business.
Economics: How do people cope with famine? Malnutrition has been a reality here for centuries and people have developed strategies (of switching away from rice etc) that were reinvigorated during krismon in 1998.
Archaeology: The oldest archaeological remains in Java are not around Yogya but in East Java. What do locals think about these statues and inscriptions scattered through their fields? How do stories about these ancient kings and rebels work in the numerous films, comics, and school history texts that draw on them?
Land: Kalibakar, South of Malang. Cocoa (chocolate) plantation by state owned company established in 1990. In 1997 villagers from 5 desa pulled out all the cocoa plants and took over the land. Even the bupati thought it was a good idea. Is this the shape of regional autonomy? An Australian researcher is writing a book on land and badly wants to know.
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