Emeritus Professor<br />
Emeritus Professor
Emeritus Professor
Contact Details:
Email: r.elson@uq.edu.au

BA, PhD (Monash), FAHA.
Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian History

Research interests:
The modern and contemporary history of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia; maritime territoriality in the Indonesian seas after 1850; the history of secularism in modern Indonesia; Indonesian political thinking, leadership in Indonesia; changing identity in Indonesia; the social and economic history of Southeast Asia; social and economic change in nineteenth and twentieth century Java; colonialism and its impact in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia; the economic history of peasant production in Southeast Asia, 1800-1990.
Current research projects:
The history of maritime territoriality in the Indonesian archipelago since 1850.
Selected recent publications:
  • 2013 “Two failed attempts to Islamize the Indonesian constitution”, Sojourn 28, 3 (2013), pp. 379-437.
  • 2013 “Engineering from within: Habibie the man and Indonesia’s reformasi”, in Dewi Fortuna Anwar and Bridget Welsh (eds), Democracy take-off? The BJ Habibie period (Jakarta: Sinar Harapan Persada).
  • 2012 “(Indonesian) history and its uses: theory, lessons, activism, and policy”, in Jemma Purdey (ed.), Knowing Indonesia: Intersections of self, discipline and nation (Clayton: Monash University Publishing).
  • 2012 “Problems of identity and legitimacy for Indonesia’s place in the world”, in Anthony Reid (ed.), Indonesia rising: the repositioning of Asia’s third giant (Singapore: ISEAS).
  • 2012 “Absent at the creation: Islamism’s belated, troubled engagement with early Indonesian nationalism”, in Geoff Wade and Li Tana (eds) Anthony Reid and the study of the Southeast Asian past (Singapore: ISEAS).
  • 2011 (with Chiara Formichi) “Why did Kartosuwiryo start shooting?”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 42, 3 (2011), pp. 458-86.
  • 2011 (with A.B. Kusuma) “A note on the sources for the 1945 constitutional debates in Indonesia”, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 167, 2/3 (2011), pp. 196-209
  • 2010 “Nationalism, Islam, ‘secularism’, and the state in contemporary Indonesia”, Australian Journal of International Affairs 64, 3, pp. 328-43.
  • 2009 “Disunity, distance, disregard: the political failure of Islamism in late colonial Indonesia”, Studia Islamika 16, 1, pp. 1-50.
  • 2009 “Another look at the Jakarta Charter controversy of 1945”, Indonesia 88 (October), pp. 105-30.
  • 2008 The idea of Indonesia: sejarah pemikiran dan gagasan (Jakarta: Serambi)(Indonesian translation of The idea of Indonesia, below).
  • 2008 The idea of Indonesia: a history (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
  • 2008 Suharto: a political biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) (paperback edition).
  • 2008 “Sartono Kartodirdjo: serious, profound, masterly”, in M. Nursam, Baskara T. Wardaya S.J., Asvi Warman Adam (eds), Sejarah yang memihak: mengenang Sartono Kartodirdjo (Yogyakarta: Ombak).
  • 2008 “Reinventing a region: Southeast Asia and the colonial experience”, in Mark Beeson (ed.), Contemporary Southeast Asia: regional dynamics, national differences (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 15-29. (2nd edition).
Other activities and service:
  • Member, Editorial Board, Southeast Asia Publications Series, Asian Studies Association of Australia.
  • Member, Academic Commission (Wetenschapscommissie), NIOD Instituut voor Oorlogs-, Holocaust- en Genocidestudies (Institute for War, Holocaust- and Genocide Studies) (2004-2014).
  • Adjunct Professor, University of the Sunshine Coast.
  • External Examiner University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur for Bachelor of Arts (International and Strategic Studies); Master of Strategic and Defence Studies); Bachelor of Arts (Southeast Asian Studies): Master of Arts (Southeast Asian Studies); Bachelor of Arts (History); Master of Arts (Malaysian History) and Master of Arts (Southeast Asian History) (2014- ).


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