Call for Paper: Land Rights Movements in Asia, ASAA 2018, Sydney, July 3-5, 2018

I’m organizing a panel on land rights movements in Asia for the Asian Studies Association in Australia next year in Sydney. Proposals are welcome!

Call for Papers

Land Rights Movements in Asia

Looking for contributors to join this panel for the Asian Studies Association of Australia

Conference, Sydney, July 3-5, 2018. 

Throughout Asia, land-grabbing and other forms of agrarian dispossession have intensified

in recent decades. As a result, various social movements, such as peasant, environmental, indigenous people’s, and urban poor movements, have sprung up and mobilized to advocate for land rights and influence state land policies. Plenty have been written on local and national case studies, but multi-country and region-wide analyses of this phenomenon are still relatively underexplored. This panel, therefore, seeks to comparatively discuss Asian land rights movements. We welcome paper proposals on any aspects of movements for land rights (and other related topics) in the region

Abstracts are due on 31 October 2017. Please send your abstract to convenor, Iqra Anugrah (ianugrah1[at]

For further information about the conference, please visit:

It’s a Wrap!

Finally, after spending two years in Indonesia for dissertation research I have an announcement: my fieldwork has come to an end!

What was expected to be a year-long research ended up as two-years stay in the country – in fact, my longest stay after high school. Over the course of my fieldwork, I – rather unsurprisingly I’d say – ended up doing or getting involved in things outside of my research activities too. Essentially, it is a re-engagement with the Indonesian social movement landscape. I have to emphasize that this is not a bad thing. In fact, it helps a lot with my research.

Now, my days in Indonesia are numbered. I got my visa already and booked my flight back to my home institution, NIU. On August 21 I’ll be heading back to the US. Time indeed flies.

I will still go back for sure, but for now, let me say thank you very much for the many people, informants and good samaritans, comrades and colleagues, friends and families, who’ve helped me along the way. I can never repay your kindness – but let it be known that your contribution will always be remembered and acknowledged.

So au revoir! On to the writing phase!

Ramadhan’s To-Read-List

The last week of my fieldwork in Bengkulu coincides with the first week of Ramadhan – the Muslim fasting month. Given that I have more time for reading (for pleasure) in the last one month or so, I somehow managed to come up with this reading list:

On Political Islam

On Labor Politics

Having something to read on the side while working on your dissertation project is fun. It keeps your sanity too.

For the Late Ajarn Danny

Ajarn DannyThis was literally my last picture with the late Professor Danny Unger. Taken last year when I attended a conference in Bangkok, it was also my last time to meet him in person. Great minds oftentimes gone too soon.
A specialist on Comparative Politics and Southeast Asian Studies particularly Thailand, his vast knowledge on politics and stuff never failed to fascinate me (though I figured he had more collections of novels and other literary works than books on politics at his house). This is the guy whom I referred to as, just like the way I introduced him to my students, “the guy who knows (almost) everything.” Like, seriously he can talk about stuff – Chinese rural politics in revolutionary transition, early modern state formation processes in Western Europe, debates in philosophy of science, you name it. I had the privilege to work with him as a teaching assistant, a graduate student, and a junior colleague. I also enjoyed every class that I took with him.I will remember many things about him – his intelligence, warmth, and supportive attitude toward young scholars in training. His hilarious expressions and clumsiness (once he asked me to google search and put some pictures for his class presentations, oh and don’t even start asking me about those unfoldered files flooding his desktop). Oh, mustn’t forget his peculiar hobby of woodworking.

My colleagues and I will certainly cherish our memories of him. He set the example for many of us in the field.

Goodbye, Ajarn Danny Unger. May you rest in peace. You will be greatly missed.

*For another beautiful obituary by T.F. Rhoden, see this link.

Quick Updates from the Field

It’s been a while since I write a blog post on this website! The last couple of months have been very busy for me – I wasn’t only doing my research but also, inevitably, involved in some activist work. So I ended up staying in Jakarta longer than I expected, but eventually I was able to spare some time for my last round of fieldwork. I made it, so here I am, in Bengkulu. To be more exact, I will spend the next two months in North Bengkulu District, looking at the evolving relationship between the Bengkulu Peasant Union (Serikat Tani Bengkulu, STaB) and the local elites in post-authoritarian era. Some elaboration on this dynamics have been written here (especially in this chapter), but the data only cover up until 2007. More still needs to be written about STaB and the North Bengkulu peasants, which is why I am here.

So far it’s been a productive fieldwork – I finished conducting several interviews and got hold of some key documents on the land conflict between local peasants and plantation companies. Overall, it’s a good start. I’m gonna be busy, and expect more to come in the next couple of weeks.

Ah, it feels good to be back on the field again.