Home Institution

Macalester College

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


R.A. Kartini is an Indonesian national heroine, considered Indonesia’s founding feminist. Because of her inherently political status as a woman, a Javanese subject of Dutch colonialism, and an aristocrat, her memory has been used in diverse ways throughout history. In this paper I examine four main periods in which Kartini’s image has been dictated due to current political and social climates: Dutch imperialism, Indonesian independence, the New Order, and the present day. This paper is based on three weeks of research and fieldwork, including eight interviews with eleven informants, who had a diverse range of educational backgrounds and knowledge of history. My results attempt to identify trends in the use of the politics of memory surrounding Kartini and the reasons she is able to be contextualized in so many different ways.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology