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In Session: Networks, Memories, Encounters: A Panel in Honour of Jeff Hadler (1968-2017)
3: "Immerse Yourself in the Archive": Jeff Hadler's Legacy and Finding Suharto in Oakland at the Beginning of Authoritarian Capital
Thursday, March 25, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT
Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, United States
In the talk, I will reflect on Jeff's constant reminder that the archive is a vital home for historians and area specialists. He rejected the idea that theory or a flimsy reading of state's history was sufficient to narrate complex, often confusing histories. Reading against the grain in the archive is essential, he advised, yet the documentary record cannot be discounted for the empirical foundation one must establish to make a scholarly intervention. During my fieldwork, I discovered a surprising entry in ANRI's photographic inventory: Suharto at the Port of Oakland in 1970. This image forced me to return to the documents in Jakarta and the US, and I reappraised the value of contingency of American support for Indonesia in the wake of 1965. Archival digging convinced me that Indonesia's post-1965 history should be positioned as a starting point for globalization, authoritarianism, and a new common sense for development.