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Events: Kritika Kultura Lecture Series presents Melani Budianta and Shuri Mariasih Gietty Tambunan

Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, will host a lecture by Melani Budianta and Shuri Mariasih Gietty Tambunan. The lecture—titled "For Better and for Worse: Democracy and Digital Media in Indonesia"—is on Aug. 5, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at SEC B 201A, Ateneo de Manila University. The event is open to the public. 

About the lecture

Social media and the digital environment have been identified as an important means in democratic movements worldwide. The use of social media in the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and the Sun Flower movement in Taiwan is most often cited (Tsatsou 2018; Ruhlig 2016). At the same time, however, digital media has also been a crucial factor in spreading hoaxes and hate speech, which were prominent in the US presidential election and other populist mobilizations (Postill 2018).

This presentation will address the two contradictory but inseparable effects of social media use in critical moments of Indonesian democracy, namely the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012 and the Indonesian presidential election in 2019. The first is characterized by the politicization of urban youth and their creative use of social media, with cosmopolitan and middle class flavor. The second is heavily polarized, dichotomizing the society based on religious ideologies, and identity politics, with hoaxes that directly attack democratic institutions. The polarization is worsened by the globalized post-truth climate, when emotional appeal trumps rational debate. 

In this presentation, we will discuss the historical trajectory of how popular expressions in social media—which had been used as an alternative platform to celebrate democracy—have turned against the basic tenets of democracy. The presentation will reflect on this problematic relation between digital platforms and democracy, and evaluate measures in dealing with this conundrum. 

About the resource persons

Melani Budianta is a professor in literature and cultural studies at the Universitas Indonesia (UI). She got her BA at the English Studies Program, UI, MA in American Studies at the University of Southern California, and PhD in English from Cornell University. She serves as member of the editorial collective in a number of academic journals, including Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Jurnal Wacana (FIBUI), Wacana Seni (Malaysia), and Indian Journal of Gender Studies. She has served as selection committee member in Arryman Fellowship, Asian Public Intellectual, SEASREP, and EUROSEAS Book Prize 2015. She was a research fellow at Asia Research Institute (2010), KITLV (2011), a visiting lecturer at Kyoto University (2016) and University of Naples d’Orientale (2018). Her publications include An Ocean of Becoming: Literature from the Indonesian Archipelago (editor, with Manneke Budiman) (Lontar 2017) and Indonesian Women Writers (editor, with Yvonne Michalik) (Regiospectra Verlag 2015). Among her published articles are “Work Migration and Cultural Belonging in Globalized Asia” (International Journal of Cultural Studies 2016) and “Beyond Multiculturalism: Redefining Nationhood in a Globalized Age” in Multiculturalism and Challenges of Democratization in Europe and Asia (ed. Kim Naam-Kok [Ashgate 2014]).

Shuri Mariasih Gietty Tambunan is a lecturer, specializing in Cultural Studies, in the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia. She completed her PhD in the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, in 2013. Her research focus in on transnational flow of East Asian popular culture products in Indonesia within the context of cultural globalization. Her other research areas are on culinary (cultural) practices and social media. She received her Master’s Degrees in Cultural Studies from the Universitas Indonesia (2007) and the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (2010). Some of her publications include “Imaginary ‘Asia’: Indonesian Audience’s Reflexivity on Korean Television Dramas,” in an edited volume entitled Korean Wave in Southeast Asia: Consumption and Production (2014). Her other publications are “Positive Body Image Activism in Collective (@effyourbeautystandards) and Personal (@yourstruelymelly) Instagram Accounts: Challenging American Idealized Beauty Construction” (2018, as co-author); “Problematizing Sexualized Female Images and Donald Trump's Immigration Stance in Video Games: An Analysis of Let’s Play Videos on YouTube” (2018, as co-author); “Shaming the Other Woman (pelakor): Female Catfight as a Spectacle in Social Media” (2018) and “Social Media, Humour and Empowerment: The Power of 'Emak-Emak' and #fallingstar2018 Challenge in Instagram” (2018). She is also an editor for a volume to be published in 2020 by Springer (Projecting Identity and Voices of Minorities).

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Clarivate), Scopus, EBSCO, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs (ICCTP). For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit http://journals.ateneo.edu/ojs/kk or email kk.soh@ateneo.edu.