Home Institution

Colgate University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change


Since Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the archipelago is repeatedly affected by tsunamis, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Indonesia has the most active volcanoes of any country in the world due to subduction zones between the Eurasian and Indo-Australian plates. The last major eruptions were in 2017 (Mt. Agung in Bali) and 2010 (Mt. Merapi in Central Java) which both required thousands of people to be evacuated from their homes. Since volcanoes have such a geological presence in the country, I was interested in investigating how aware the public is of volcanoes and their associated risks. Where and how do they get their information about them? How much of their knowledge is religiously, culturally, a/o scientifically rooted? Furthermore, I wanted to understand the dynamics between communities, government organizations, and academia when it comes to volcano monitoring, disaster mitigation, and rehabilitation efforts.

I believe it is important to understand public perceptions of volcanoes because that information can be used to modify disaster mitigation policies and practices. However, the purpose of this study was not to pass personal judgement, but rather gain insight into the various dynamics at play in areas frequently impacted by natural phenomena. Volcanoes have been pivotal in shaping Indonesia’s geological and socio-cultural history from its inception until now.


Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Emergency and Disaster Management | Organizational Communication | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Place and Environment | Volcanology


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