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A critical review and bibliography based on the information available surrounding narratives of the

West in Indonesian literature.

This paper critically evaluates the strategies involved when compiling a bibliography of material
concerning narratives of the West in Indonesian literature. Drawing upon examples, it compares and
contrasts the value of different resources in uncovering relevant information for a cutting edge
geographical review. It first offers a brief overview of the research area and how this acted to shape a
specific search strategy. The paper then examines the benefits and drawbacks of various information
sources before concluding on the effectiveness of the search strategy.
Shaping the search strategy
Whether using familiar sources or embracing lesser-known ones, developing an efficient search
strategy is vital. The contextual broadness of narratives of the West first requires breaking down into
specific search terms. It relates to the concept of occidentalism that is, representations of the West
in the non-western world. This is a youthful concept which remains fiercely contested. It is an inter-
disciplinary field which focuses on the modernity of non-western cultures, encompassing geography,
politics, international relations and cultural studies. Further, many scholars analyse occidental
practices without explicitly defining their research as such. Thus, for instance, in some cases the
keyword occidentalism could be substituted for non-western and modernity.
Narratives of the West are a relatively new phenomenon, heralding from the postmodern turn
in geography. Pertaining to Indonesia, they remain untouched within academia. In fact, overall
Indonesia has evaded much geopolitical analysis. Accordingly, it was important to split the search up
into two categories: 1) occidentalism and studies of modernity; and 2) the culture of Indonesia.

Compiling the bibliography
As an undergraduate, subject gateways were not a common means of searching for information. I was
unfamiliar with the benefits of using them, such as inspecting the details of each resource resource
type, area of specialisation and the type of researcher who profits from using it. Gateways both: a)
link the researcher to broad databases and collections (like Web of Knowledge); and b) offer direct
routes to specific subject matter (for instance the Royal Geographical Society website). The Human
Geography gateway offers a limited selection of websites; of 58 resources, only 6 are websites.
Considering the growing importance of this information medium, it is surprising that links to more
websites were omitted. Regardless the gateway does have value in linking the researcher to newspaper
archives. The Times Digital Archive is useful, if only to find very subject-specific articles, like the
following account of Indonesias Konfrontasi:
The Times (1966) The Confrontation with Malaysia, The Times, April 16, pp.13
As a historical archive, I knew to focus my search on historical aspects of Indonesian politics. The
Konfrontasi represented a pivotal moment in Indonesias relationship with the west, and reading ex
tempore journalist accounts of the conflict was an exclusive feature of this resource.
The Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) database is particularly handy for finding
conference papers, through a separate tab at the top of the page. Initially there were errors committed
in the search strategy. For instance, I searched for non-western and modern*, revealing a mass of
results. Using truncation was wrong in this case; whilst some results covered modernity, modernism
and modernisation, the majority displayed the word modern, which risked throwing the research off
track. Sticking to non-western and modernity revealed a more manageable number of results.
Particularly useful was the following paper:
Bhambra, G. K. (2008) Rethinking Modernity: From 'Ideal Types' to 'Connected Histories', 1st World Forum of
Sociology (ISA), Barcelona, 5-8 September
Written in 2008, this paper offers a recent intervention on Eisenstadts multiple modernities theory,
questioning whether it overcomes Eurocentrism. I was not familiar with this scholar, but opting to
examine their profile revealed that Gurminder Bhambra is a Professor of Sociology at the University
of Warwick, specialising in modernity and representations of non-European others. She has 29
articles in the CSA database, suggesting a substantial level of authority on her subject.
Another database used to compile references, the Bibliography of Asian Studies, was
comparatively poor compared to CSA. Upon entering the user interface, I was not immediately aware
that a keyword search was available, thus reduced to browsing all and narrowing down through
limited options, which inevitably produced uncountable results. It became clear that key words could
be used through the advanced search, but failure to confine results within human geography (and
instead remain within anthropological and sociological contexts) dissuaded me from using this
resource. Web of Knowledge was similarly problematic. Of the 67 results produced from searching
Indonesia and culture within a geography filter, most related to health and medicine, thus rendering
subject categorisation through this database poor and inconclusive.
Of all the resource types, I am most familiar with e-journals. The Find an e-Journal function
is useful for finding subject-specific journals, as it only searches across journal titles. For instance,
whilst searching Indonesia led to the journal Indonesia and the Malay World, more broad search
terms like non-western and modernity produced a vast corpus of journals spanning geographical,
political and cultural contexts, exploring all of which was unfeasible. On this front a database search
may be better. However, searching within journal catalogues seemed to solve this problem. This
allowed the use of key words, thus an effective way of finding relevant information without prior
knowledge of journal titles. The Sage collection revealed a host of key journals which proved
invaluable in the compilation of the bibliography. One such example, the Millennium: Journal of
International Studies, a critically acclaimed journal renowned for its contribution to international
relations theory, contained the following seminal paper:
Eisenstadt, S. N. (2000) The reconstruction of religious arenas in the framework of 'multiple modernities', Millennium-
Journal of International Studies, 29, (3), pp. 591-611
From experience as an undergraduate studying occidentalism, Shmuel Eisenstadt was immediately
recognised as a key figure in theories of non-western modernity, and it was not necessary to check his
credentials though his paper has been cited 22 times by other academics, reflecting its scholarly
Within the universitys e-Theses collection, there were difficulties experienced accessing
relevant geographical theses. Whilst searching non-western and modernity produced just one result,
papers on Indonesia were merely in a physical geographical context. After expanding the search
within the interdisciplinary HaSS collection, the only remotely useful paper concerned race relations
in West Malaysia. The Index to Theses collection proved harder still to navigate. It was not easy to
search within a human geography context; therefore papers related to Indonesia were from the realms
of geology and epidemiology. Of all the collections I engaged with, Worldcat Dissertations was the
most useful, providing a number of highly relevant papers including:
Campbell, I. F. (2006) National literature, regional manifestations: contemporary Indonesian language poetry from West
Java, M.A., University of Sydney
This paper is unique in offering firsthand insight into the analysis of Indonesian literature a
perspective that has not been easy to locate through other resources. Other useful Worldcat theses
covered Southeast Asia and discourse analysis. (As a side note, the researcher decided not to use
special collections. The assumption was made that they would not be useful due to: a) the novelty of
the concepts of occidentalism and theories of modernity; and b) lack of historical scholarship on
Google Scholar has a growing reputation as a legitimate and reliable academic source.
Though searching for occidentalism produced literature I was already familiar with, uncovering
scholarship on Indonesia proved more fruitful. Multiple searches involving Indonesia revealed a
diverse array of material, to the extent that it rivals more traditional databases accessed through the
university. Scholar also revealed a considerable number of books that were not available through the
university library. Other websites worthy of mention opened access to what can be described as a
resource chain. For instance, visiting The Guardians website and browsing the sub-section on
Indonesia, I discovered the following blog:
Lea, R. (2011) World Literature Tour: Indonesia Guardian.co.uk Books blog, [blog], 30 June, Available at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/jun/30/world-literature-tour-indonesia [Accessed: 22 November 2011]
This blog provides an important background to Indonesias literary culture. But it was the comments
section on this blog that acted as a separate subject gateway for Indonesian literature, directing me to
books, journals, other blogs and websites. PhD student Andy Fuller posted a link to an article he
wrote for Words without Borders, a reputable online magazine promoting international literature. In
this article he engages with the work of Razif Bahari, an expert from Singapore on Indonesian
Inputting Baharis name into the library catalogue yielded no results. As an undergraduate I
learned that Newcastle University does not specialise in non-western literature, and was required to
research at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). I therefore searched for Bahari
across the Consortium of University Research Libraries (COPAC), of which SOAS is a part. Indeed
this method paid off, revealing the following book:
Bahari, R. (2007) Pramoedya Postcolonially: re-viewing history, gender, and identity in the Buru tetralogy Bali: Pustaka
Returning to this idea of the resource chain then, Baharis book was found by shifting through
multiple information sources to obtain the required output (see Figure 1). This chain is the result of
more diverse and fluid forms of information exchange. Notwithstanding the importance of remaining
critical of unverified information sources, such means of accumulating information can prove
extremely valuable, highlighting search paths that would not previously have been comprehended.

Website (guardian.co.uk) > Blog > Blog comment > Website (wordswithoutborders.org) > COPAC catalogue > Book
Figure 1: Resource chain for Indonesian literature

It was important to develop an efficient search strategy bespoke to my research area. Though
difficulties were experienced, overcoming them was crucial to refining the search whether simply
removing inappropriate truncation or opting for journal catalogues over the Find an e-Journal
function. Prior knowledge of the research field played a role: firstly, familiarity with research
concepts influenced my decision to split the search into two; secondly, I was aware of key authors and
experts in the field, which helped keep the research on track. It is paramount that the researcher is
connected to their research field, alert to new concepts and theories, but also different ways of
searching for the same information (synonyms, tautologies, and so on). This awareness is required to
obtain a bibliography of appropriate scope for such an inter-disciplinary research field.

Harsono, A. (2011) Indonesias Religious Violence indonesiamatters.com Indonesia Matters [blog],
2 November, Available at: http://www.indonesiamatters.com/14274/harsono-religious-violence/
[Accessed: 21 November 2011]
Lea, R. (2011) World Literature Tour: Indonesia Guardian.co.uk Books blog, [blog], 30 June,
Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/jun/30/world-literature-tour-indonesia
[Accessed: 22 November 2011]
Pisani, E. (2006) Im too sexy for my council unspunblog.com Unspun unspinning
communications and persuasion [blog], 14 November, Available at:
http://theunspunblog.com/2006/11/14/im-too-sexy-for-my-council/ [Accessed: 19 November 2011]

Bahari, R. (2007) Pramoedya Postcolonially: re-viewing history, gender, and identity in the Buru
tetralogy Bali: Pustaka Larasan
Carrier, J. (1995) Occidentalism : images of the West. New York: Oxford University Press.
Delanty, G. (2006) Europe and Asia beyond East and West. Oxon: Routledge.
Hagerdal, H. (Ed.) (2009) Responding to the West: Essays on Colonial Domination and Asian Agency
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
Venn, C. (2000) Occidentalism : Modernity and Subjectivity. London: Sage.

Conference Papers
Arjomand, S. A. (2010) 'Multiple Modernities and Promise of Comparative Sociologies', XVII ISA
World Congress of Sociology. Gothenburg, 11-17 July
Bhambra, G. K. (2008) 'Rethinking Modernity: From Ideal Types to Connected Histories', 1st
World Forum of Sociology (ISA). Barcelona, 5-8 September
Farmer, E. L. (2000) 'Western Civilization, Modernity, and World History: Some Perspectives from
East Asia' World 2000 Conference on Teaching World History and World Geography. Austin, 11-12
Nilan, P. (2006) 'Youth Cultures in Indonesia: Some Current Research Directions', XV World
Congress of Sociology (ISA RC34). Durban, 23-29 July

Journal Articles
Bonnett, A. (2002) 'Makers of the West: National identity and occidentalism in the work of Fukuzawa
Yukichi and Ziya Gokalp', Scottish Geographical Journal, 118, (3), pp. 165-182.
Bonnett, A. (2005) 'Occidentalism and plural modernities: or how Fukuzawa and Tagore invented the
West', Environment and Planning D-Society & Space, 23, (4), pp. 505-525.
Derks, W. (1996) ''If not to Anything Else': Some Reflections on Modern Indonesian Literature',
Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 152, (3), pp. 341-352.
Eisenstadt, S. N. (2000) 'The reconstruction of religious arenas in the framework of 'multiple
modernities'', Millennium-Journal of International Studies, 29, (3), pp. 591-611.
Elson, R. E. (2006) 'Indonesia and the west: An ambivalent, misunderstood engagement', Australian
Journal of Politics and History, 52, (2), pp. 261-271.
Phillips, N. (1977) 'Notes on modern literature in West Sumatra', Indonesia Circle. School of Oriental
& African Studies. Newsletter, 5, (12), pp. 26-32.
Roth-Seneff, A. (2007) 'Occidentalism and the Realism of Empire', Critique of Anthropology, 27, (4),
pp. 449-462.
Wagner, T. S. (2004) '"A Barrage of Ethnic Comparisons": Occidental Stereotypes in Amy Tan's
Novels', Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 45, (4), pp. 435-445.
Wagner, T. S. (2004) 'Emulative Versus Revisionist Occidentalism: Monetary and Other Values in
Recent Singaporean Fiction', The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 39, (2), pp. 73-94.

Newspaper Articles
Purba, K. (2001) 'The probable rise of Megawati', The Jakarta Post, May 28, Online
The Guardian (2011) 'Dutch in talks over compensation for massacre in Indonesia', The Guardian,
November 23, Online
The Times (1966) 'The Confrontation with Malaysia', The Times, April 15, pp.13.

Campbell, I. F. (2006) National literature, regional manifestations: contemporary Indonesian
language poetry from West Java, M.A., University of Sydney
Quimby, J. (2000) Self as other: disguising the West: tradition modernity, and the performance of
identity in Tanizaki's Tade kuu mushi, M.A., Indiana University
Shi, X. (2009) The Return of the Westward Look: Overseas Chinese Student Literature in the 20th
century, PhD, University of Arizona

Fuller, A. (2009) Words Without Borders and the Idea of Indonesian Literature. Available at:
literature/ (Accessed: 24 November).
Vaswani, K. (2009) Malaysia and Indonesia try to mend ties Available at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8355417.stm (Accessed: 22 November).