• Class Number 3492
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Eve Warburton
    • Dr Eve Warburton
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course focuses on political and social developments in Indonesia since 1945.  It summarises the major political events and figures of the post-independence period before examining specific themes such as the role of the military, Islamic movements, the state Pancasila ideology, criminality and violence, gender, foreign policy and the position of minorities.  Discussion of different scholarly interpretations of these events and themes will form a major part of the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a strong grasp of the main events, issues figures and organisations that have shaped Indonesian political and social life post independence. 

2. Understand the major scholarly approaches to the study of Indonesia. 

3. Critically engage with primary and secondary source materials.

Research-Led Teaching

My research is concerned broadly with problems of democracy, representation and governance in young and developing democracies, with a country focus on Indonesia. Course content draws directly on my two decades of experience working, living, and conducting research in Indonesia.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

Take home examination. No special materials required.

Required Resources

None. All mandatory readings and numerous supplementary readings are posted on Wattle.

Below is a list of useful books on Indonesia, all of which are available from the library. Students who are keenly interested in Indonesia or envisaging more serious study of the country might consider purchasing some of these works but there is no necessity to do so.

  • Ricklefs, M. C., A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1200 (4th edn), Palgrave, London, 2009.  (This is a reliable and historically comprehensive reference work, though narratively dense).
  • Cribb, Robert, and Colin Brown, Modern Indonesia: A History since 1945, Longman, Harlow, 1996. (An excellent and very accessible account of Indonesia's pre-Reformasi history.)
  • Pisani, Elizabeth, Indonesia Etc. Exploring the Improbable Nation, WW Norton & Company, New York, 2014.  (This book is a vivid and very readable account of contemporary politics, society and culture.) 
  • Setiawan, Ken and Dirk Tomas, Politics in Contemporary Indonesia: Institutional Change, Policy Challenges and Democratic Decline, Routledge, 2022. (A readable and thorough account of Indonesia's contemporary politics and democratic trajectory.)

The following online resources may also prove to be useful:

The Jakarta Post: http://www.thejakartapost.com

New Mandala: http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/category/indonesia-politics/

Inside Indonesia: http://www.insideindonesia.org

Indonesia at Melbourne: http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au

Tempo: http://www.tempo.co.id (available in both English and Indonesian through the ANU library online)

Kompas Online: http://www.kompas.com (The most respected and best established newspaper. It has selected articles available in English but largely in Indonesian.)

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 (a) Introduction to the course (b) Studying Indonesian Politics: Key Concepts and Themes Eve Warburton
2 (a) Colonialism, Nationalism and Revolution (b) Parliamentary Democracy, Guided Democracy, and the Communist Massacres (a) Guest Lecture: Robert Cribb (b) Eve Warburton
3 (a) Stable Authoritarianism: Suharto's New Order (b) Democracy Returns: Explaining Reformasi Eve Warburton
4 (a) Indonesia's Democracy Today: Elections, Parties and Parliament (b) Indonesia's Democracy Today: Money, Power and Patronage Eve Warburton & Lila Sari
5 (a) Indonesia's Economic Trajectories: Development and Poverty Over Time (b) Tycoons and Oligarchs: Indonesia's Super Rich (a) Guest Lecture: Hal Hill (b) Eve Warburton
6 The Military in Politics: From Independence to Today Eve Warburton
7 Islamic Politics Guest Lecture: Greg Fealy
8 (a) Identity Politics and Minority Rights (b) Women and Political Representation Eve Warburton
9 (a) Is Indonesia Cursed? The Politics of Natural Resource Wealth (b) Protecting Indonesia's Forests (a) Eve Warburton (b) Guest Lecture: Rini Astuti
10 Understanding Conflict in Contemporary Indonesia Guest Lecture: Sana Jaffrey (TBC)
11 The Decline of Indonesian Democracy? Eve Warburton
12 Revision and Exam Preparation Eve Warburton

Tutorial Registration

Register for tutorials via Wattle

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Tutorial Participation (15%) 15 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
A short essay/ op-ed on a current political or social controversy (20%) 20 % 22/03/2023 28/03/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Main Essay (35%) 35 % 08/05/2023 23/05/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Take-Home Examination (35%) 30 % 09/06/2023 * 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Details given above (assessment 1)


Details given above (assessment 4)

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Tutorial Participation (15%)

Tutorials will be interactive, and students will be able to work together and learn from each other as we work through the tutorial questions as a class. Students will be assessed on their contributions to class discussions and engagement with course materials.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 28/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

A short essay/ op-ed on a current political or social controversy (20%)

Students will be asked to write a short essay (800 words) on a contemporary, contentious issue in Indonesian society or politics. A list of potential topics will be posted on Wattle at the start of the course, but students can nominate their own topics if they wish. The essay should provide a brief context to the topic before discussing recent controversies and what these might tell us about Indonesian society. The essay is due by 23:55 Tuesday 22 March 2023 (week 5).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 08/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 23/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Main Essay (35%)

The main essay is 2000 words and provides an opportunity for students to explore more deeply a topic of their choice. Students must choose a different topic for the main essay to that on which they wrote their short essay. A list of possible questions is given below, but students who wish to do so are welcome to devise their own questions in consultation with either Eve or Lila. The essays must be submitted via Turnitin (Wattle) by 23:55 on May 8 2023 (week 10)

Possible essay questions:

  • Were the Japanese liberators or oppressors during the Occupation period, 1942-1945?
  • ‘Ideology is dead in Indonesia’. Discuss with reference to Pancasila, nationalism and Islam.
  • Indonesia's transition to democracy came about primarily because Suharto lost the support of elites. Do you agree?
  • The Chinese in Indonesia have been described as a ‘pariah minority’. Does this term accurately reflect their role in politics and the economy?
  • What does the emergence of extremist groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah, Laskar Jihad and the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) since 1998 demonstrate about the character of Indonesian Islam and the broader democratic transition?
  • Why has corruption become so endemic in Indonesia and what are the obstacles to its elimination?
  • Democratic reform has ensured that the military are a spent force in Indonesia’s political landscape. Do you agree?
  • Political parties consolidate democracies (O’Donnell & Schmitter, 1986). Have contemporary political parties seen significant institutional reform and development since the 1950s to ensure the future of Indonesian democracy?
  • Before becoming president, Jokowi was widely seen as a reformist but some analysts now argue he is a status-quo politician, and a major reason for the declining quality of the country's democracy. Which characterisation do you find more compelling and why?
  • ‘The relative peace and success of democratic elections in Aceh and Papua in recent years shows that regional autonomy, not centralisation, is the best way to prevent separatism in Indonesia. ’Do you agree?
  • Why has democracy become entrenched in Indonesia over the past 20 years when it ‘failed’ in the 1950s?

Tip: The tutorial reading lists provide many references relevant to answering these essay questions. Please contact me if you are having trouble locating sufficient material for your essays.

Criteria for assessing written work

Essay writing is an essential part of the learning process and a vital medium through which your understanding of a subject can be assessed. Good academic writing usually contains the following attributes:

Arguments supported by reference to secondary and, if possible, primary material

Adequate range of sources

Central question or issue clearly defined and answered

Discussion of key issues and relevance of narrative

Logical flow of ideas and arguments

Evidence of creative thought and articulation of own ideas

Conclusions supported by evidence and argument

Contains introduction and conclusion

Fluent and succinct writing

Accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation

Neat presentation

When preparing essays, students should use the above list as a guide. It is particularly important to engage critically with source materials. Do not accept without question the views or interpretations given in the works which you read. Use them rather as a means of finding your own way into the problem at hand. Your essays should be more than simply a report on other people’s views but instead you should demonstrate your own understanding of the question or issue.

All written work is to be submitted in not less than a 12-point font and with 1.5 or double line spacing. Essays must be fully referenced, using footnotes and a bibliography, and be submitted with a cover sheet which records the word count.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 09/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Take-Home Examination (35%)

The final assessment for this course will be a take-home examination. It comprises two mandatory parts. Part One requires students to answer five short questions from a list of 10 on specific facts, terms or concepts relating to Indonesian history and politics. Part Two contains a list of questions, of which students must answer ANY TWO, except for questions on the same topic as their short or main essay. Exam questions will draw directly on lecture material and tutorial discussions, so regular attendance at both will be a distinct advantage. The maximum length of each answer to the Part Two questions is 1000 words.


(1) Do not assume that the take-home format makes revision redundant: students who do best on this assessment item are those who engage consistently throughout the course.

(2) Prepare ahead of time by taking notes and collecting ideas through the course of the semester.

(3) Start early: take some time to consider and draft your answers. Your submission should be of a higher standard than you would expect to produce during an in-class exam.

The Examination Questions will be posted on Wattle at 12.00 on Tuesday 6 June 2023 and answers must be submitted by 12.00 Friday 9 June 2023.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Where possible, student work will be returned during tutorials, but where necessary, assessment can be returned by email or during a face-to-face meeting outside of tutorial sessions (appointments must be made prior to the meeting).

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Only in the most exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to resubmit an essay.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Eve Warburton

Research Interests

Indonesia; Southeast Asia; democracy; political economy of policymaking; political representation

Dr Eve Warburton

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Eve Warburton

Research Interests

Dr Eve Warburton

By Appointment
By Appointment

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