The Nordic Asia Podcast

Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts with Pauline Stoltz

November 20, 2020 NIAS and its academic partners Season 2 Episode 7
The Nordic Asia Podcast
Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts with Pauline Stoltz
Chapters
The Nordic Asia Podcast
Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts with Pauline Stoltz
Nov 20, 2020 Season 2 Episode 7
NIAS and its academic partners

In this recording from a book launch that NIAS arranged together with FREIA (Aalborg University), Researcher Pauline Stoltz and Director of NIAS, Duncan McCargo, discuss her latest book: “Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts”. In the book, Stoltz analyses the politics of memories of three violent conflicts that took place in Indonesia, covering the period between 1942 and 2015. By highlighting how people’s memories and experiences of injustices are related to gender, ‘race’, sexuality, nationality, and generation, she addresses not only how these historical conflicts were the result of inequalities, but also how these inequalities still hurt today both in Indonesia and in other parts of the world. In the book launch, McCargo and Stoltz discuss her use of innovative transnational and gender approaches in the research fields of transitional justice and memory politics and an original approach to the narrative analysis of four major Dutch and Indonesian novels.

Show Notes Transcript

In this recording from a book launch that NIAS arranged together with FREIA (Aalborg University), Researcher Pauline Stoltz and Director of NIAS, Duncan McCargo, discuss her latest book: “Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts”. In the book, Stoltz analyses the politics of memories of three violent conflicts that took place in Indonesia, covering the period between 1942 and 2015. By highlighting how people’s memories and experiences of injustices are related to gender, ‘race’, sexuality, nationality, and generation, she addresses not only how these historical conflicts were the result of inequalities, but also how these inequalities still hurt today both in Indonesia and in other parts of the world. In the book launch, McCargo and Stoltz discuss her use of innovative transnational and gender approaches in the research fields of transitional justice and memory politics and an original approach to the narrative analysis of four major Dutch and Indonesian novels.

D. McCargo: [00:00:02] This is the Nordic Asia podcast.

 

D. McCargo: [00:00:07] Welcome to the Nordic Asia podcast, which is a collaboration bringing together expertise on Asia across the Nordic region. And this particular episode is an extract from a book launch with Aalborg University researcher, Pauline Stoltz talking to me, Duncan McCargo. I'm the director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, professor of political science here at the University of Copenhagen. We're discussing Pauline's new book, Gender, Resistance and Transnational Memories of Violent Conflicts, which is a book about how memories of violent conflicts that took place in Indonesia decades ago still continue to have an impact today, both in Indonesia and in other parts of the world.

 

D. McCargo: [00:00:48] This is an academic book Pauline, but I was also struck from the very opening pages by the fact that it's an academic book that begins with a personal story. You've had a very international life coming from the Netherlands, living much of your life in Sweden, teaching in Denmark, but you also have this family connection to Indonesia. So perhaps you could tell us something about the personal story behind the book and how you came to write it.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:01:12] Well, it is a bit like you say, I'm a bit from all over the place if you want to. And the thing about writing this book is that there were a lot of things that I didn't know, and I wanted to know something more about. And I felt that I needed to know more about it. They had a lot to do with my family. And like you said, my family. I'm born in the Netherlands and my mother's part of the family is from Indonesia. We mixed race Dutch, Indonesian and other types of backgrounds. And the thing is, my mother was born in 1935 in Jakarta and she had a white Dutch father who had moved to Indonesia, worked in the military, met my grandmother, who was a teacher at one of the schools there, and headed that school for a while. And they had four children and my mother was one of them. And then he died three months later after my mother was born, she lost her father. So that was 1975. And the thing is, it took me a really long time in my life. I was like in my 30s before I realised that when my mother was, young, there were two wars going on and I didn't know anything about those wars. I know that my grandmother and those four children and some other relatives as well had moved to the Netherlands in 1950. But I didn't know that much about Indonesia, about the Japanese occupation of the Dutch Indies. Indonesia was a Dutch colony at the time. And then when the Japanese lost war, Indonesian nationalists who declared independence from the Netherlands immediately overnight.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:02:47] So the conflict continued for a couple of more years. So, throughout the 40s, you had all this war going on. And my mother and my relatives lived in that and I didn't know anything about that. That sounds really weird, but that was kind of a starting point for this book. And the thing is as well, that said, you can always say that while you have relatives that don't talk fine, but then you have a whole society around you that can speak about. I knew that somewhere that the Japanese had occupied the Dutch Indies. Right. I knew that there had been a war going on, that Indonesia was independent. I just didn't make the connection between the two. And why was it that I didn't make that connection? So, one of the things that happened in the 1990s was that I read this novel and was a novel called Indies Down by a Dutch author Adaiah. And he talked about his family that was quite similar. That whole narrative was quite similar, but he was also very upset about that. He didn't know anything about it. And suddenly I was like, hold on, you're talking about me here. And there is there is something fishy about not knowing, because that was what he was struggling with, is why don't I know whom can I ask and should I ask my relative, is there anybody else in society that I can ask about this? Because it has to do with me. And then I'm a political scientist by training.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:04:08] And I've always been working from a gender perspective. So, I'm interested in politics. And one of the things that I realised eventually was also that you have within political science this whole idea about non-decision making, governments that do not take any decisions about an issue. And I was a bit like, why aren't there any decisions about the violence that took place there and how they are remembered? There are all kinds of issues in Dutch society that are related to, for example, inequalities and racism and things like that. So why is nobody talking about the Indonesian parts in relation that. Why about weren't there any? There must have been a lot of violence. Weren't there human rights abuses? And the thing is, there is this there is this. If you go back 20 years ago or so, they started to emerge a lot of interest in terms of how you relate to that, to genocide, to mass violence, and you have that already directly after the Second World War in Toronto, for example, the genocide convention. So, you have these norms became stronger and stronger and stronger. So I started to wonder why nobody reacted and why that connection between why I didn't know anything and why nobody reacted and wasn't there any resistance to where it's all these silences and what I presumed were denials of responsibility for things that happened that were done by both parties in Indonesia and in the Netherlands. That is more where I started me for me that the starting point of knowledge there were novel.

 

D. McCargo: [00:05:49] This is the next thing I was going to ask you about, because the title, we've got Gender, Resistance, Transnational memories of violent conflicts.

 

D. McCargo: [00:05:57] But, well, I'm a Southeast Asian, so I was kind of looking for the word Indonesia and the Netherlands could have been mentioned in there. And then transitional justice actually keeps popping up. And then the novels and the fiction stuff and then a theme of denial. And as you just said, you're really interested in politics. So why are these words in the title? Not always others? Because for those who haven't read the book, there's an awful lot going on here. How do you decide that the words you wanted to highlight; you don't have a subtitle either? A lot going on in your book dispensed with the luxury of a subtitle. So, can you just say something about that, especially about the fact that you use literature as a frame, but you don't really highlight Indonesia as a subject matter?

 

P. Stoltz: [00:06:35] Coming up with titles is really difficult. And I like subtitles, but I also think that they come too much. You don't remember them anyway, so if you have a title, keep it short and sweet. I think the reason why I used these words was very much that those were the key things that I wanted to put in focus. And then the other things that you mentioned are very much articling in the background. And that also has a lot to do with how I started to do research, because working with novels as a political scientist is perhaps not the most obvious source to go to. If you go to memory studies, you have a lot of people from the humanities and from literature. They are the ones that really know a lot about novels and literature. And I was very reluctant to do anything with that. And then at the same time, I had one of the only sources that I could find initially were actually adult novels. And what is good about those novels is that they gave me an opportunity to link all these personal narratives of people that in different ways tried to resist silences. They wanted to resist denials and was an everyday type of resistance, and it took many different shapes and forms. So how then was that related to the narrative that you could see are present about how people in The Netherlands look at conflicts, how as a collective, as a society and the same in Indonesia, but also globally, how do we think we in the world think about how we should deal with the past? Now, I didn't want to put in the novels because I didn't want to push the novels to make people think that I was from literature.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:08:18] The word resistance and violent conflict really pushes the politics of the memories. For me, it took a really long time to figure out how I would combine this knowledge from novels with, for example, what I could find out about what the Dutch governments have been doing over the decades, what Indonesian governments had been doing, what the U.N. had been doing. And then when I had started to figure that out, I was like, how interesting is that? Well, perhaps that is not the main issue here, that politics goes on somewhere else as well. And if you go to international relations at the moment into peace and conflict studies, there is also this practice turn these turns to looking at things that are everyday that in many ways represent the everyday experiences of war and what happens after conflict. So that's why words like transitional justice get in the background, because I think would it would signal something else that I then what I was trying to do, including that I tried to bring together the political and legal aspects that you can find in international relations with actually these memory studies that are very interdisciplinary as well, and definitely including social scientists like myself, but are still very dominated by people from the humanities. And I try to bring that together, which also means that the book series is covering both. So, I was really happy.

 

D. McCargo: [00:09:48] Yes. Yes. There was somebody who started off in English literature and took a wrong turn and ended up passing myself off as a political scientist for some time. While I understand the novels, maybe you could tell us a little bit about the four novels and briefly, maybe give us an example of one of the novels and why the novels are so invaluable as a way into this topic that you've been exploring the book.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:10:12] Well, if we can take the example of I had like two Indonesian and two Dutch novels, I started out with the Dutch novels and for a long time I thought, I'll keep it at a discussion about what is going on in the Netherlands and with these Dutch novels. And then I found out that there is no way I can talk about conflict in Indonesia and not let have Indonesian voices being there, even if it really felt difficult for me, because that was something that belonged to my mother and not to me. So, it took a while before I dared do that. So, the first novel that I talked about was the novel by Adian Van Dis from this and the way I work with that novel is to uncover these ideas of what is silence here. Why is it that people in the Netherlands walk around and say that they don't know anything about what happened in Indonesia? What is that all about? Is that really silence or don't they really know? And for me, that was what his book did when he talked about this is an autobiographical novel, but it is very much a novel. It is about this man who has been born in the Netherlands and his mother and sisters had moved from Indonesia, having pretty much the same background as I have. They have been through these wars and is trying to figure out what had happened. Right. So, what he does in this novel is in the 1990s, when the novel came out, two of his sisters were sick in cancer.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:11:42] One of them died. But around the time, they started to talk to each other about what happened in the past. What you don't get is that he tries to figure out what had happened to his father, who was a military, a prisoner of war, etc. But also, what I found more interesting, what happened to his sisters and mother who had been in a Japanese camp and might or might not have been, for example, the victim of sexual violence. So, he tries to trace that. And from his position as this, he is described as a journalist, as a well-known journalist, so he can access people in quite easy ways. There are certain things that he very easily can find out if he really starts to for example, it's very easy to find things about the ship that his father was on and that almost sank and where it ended up. There are records which you can trace. It was a lot more difficult. This is my reading of the novel. It was a lot more difficult to figure out how his sisters, for example, had gone through conflicts and their experiences. And he had one sister that wanted to talk a lot and the other they didn't and one that didn't.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:12:57] There was the suspicion of sexual violence. So, what you get then is this discussion of can you talk to a brother who hasn't been there about these issues? Can you talk as a woman to a man about sexual violence? Because you don't necessarily want to do that. You can't protect yourself from anyone from talking to anybody about it. That can be a form of protection. And then there are other people that really want to talk to this whole notion of silence. There are different layers, because silence can be very much an agency of the sister, for example. She can use it as protection against things she wants to deal with herself and only do that with people, deal with that with people that she trusts, which means that whereas at the same time also can be a protection of perpetrators, silence can protect perpetrators as well. But notions of voice, of speaking up, of telling them. There are nuances to that, the nuances to where their voice is good is necessary, or if it is bad and not something that is desirable. So, and those nuances you can have thoughts about on a personal level, such as in this novel where you have these relatives talking to each other or not, you can also link that to whole societies, like what should societies talk about or not? What is forgotten or not? Why is it forgotten? And is it really forgotten or are there perhaps stories that nobody wants to listen to, because they're marginalised? And so in that particular novel, that was the big thing, that was the issue about silence and about also saying that while we have people that have moved to one part of the world to another and maybe in that other part of the world, nobody wants to listen to them because they have other things going on.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:14:46] And in the Netherlands, for example, that was related to a different part of the Second World War where the Germans had occupied the Netherlands and a lot of things for a long time were focused towards the ways in which Dutch resistance fighters had fought the Nazis, because that was the story of heroes instead of perpetrators. And this whole idea of that people and societies are either victims or perpetrators, I really challenge that in this book because that is extremely simplistic and universalising of feelings against groups of people, also because all of them should be in one way that doesn't really help if you want to move forward.

 

D. McCargo: [00:15:29] I'm familiar with that kind of problem, too. And looking at Cambodia, I live for a year and have precisely the same kinds of debates.

 

D. McCargo: [00:15:36] How can you distinguish between victims and perpetrators? Something that many of the people who receive editorialised in the Tolstoi Imagine were in fact members of the regime that participated in the abuse of other people or even the murder of other people killed as this very, very dark. And something about the novel that helps you with the personal stories and the narrative purpose to be a memory, to explore some of those nuances and of course ambiguity, which is at the core of a lot of this. And that comes through very clearly from your book.

 

D. McCargo: [00:16:05] So the first word going back to the title, which I'm obviously overly fixated with the first word of your title, is gender. You've mentioned gender a few times, and you obviously think of yourself perhaps almost primarily as a scholar of gender. So, what's the gender piece here? What does the gender lens and or bring to this discussion about all of these other key words that you're talking about?

 

P. Stoltz: [00:16:28] Well, if we say that one of the things that really struck me was that when you talk about victims or perpetrators or for that matter, bystanders or observers, that you have one dimensional ideas about or if and that's the same when you talk about gender, it can come very simplistically. And we have the women and all of them are victims here. We have the men and all of them are perpetrators. And if you go to gender studies or gender perspectives on political science, for example, one of the things that are very valuable with that tradition is that it has developed tools that can uncover nuances in narratives like that. Intersectional approaches, queer approaches where you go like, ok, if we look at the conflict in Indonesia. And the thing is, you asked earlier about why Indonesia wasn't in the title, but a lot of you are immediately reacting like I have another conflict that it fits with. The good thing about these gender approaches, I think the intersection approaches, the queer approaches is that they can cover these inequalities, these marginalisation’s that can be quite structural and quite old as well, and linger on from periods when there was more direct conflict to transformations where there is less. But when you see this marginalisation still can be recognised and still can be quite problematic and still in need of attention because you have people that suffer on them. So the word gender in the title is a way of pointing towards those types of approaches, because I also think that there are a lot of things that are a lot of research about Indonesia and about the different conflicts, not only the ones in the 1940s, but also the genocide that took place in 1965.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:18:21] That is really prominent in a lot of Indonesian research. A lot of good things are being done there, but it is not necessarily done from if it is done from a gender approach. Very often it becomes from the perspective of women, women as gender. And that is way too simplistic, I think. So, these intersectional approaches, these queer approaches can help say that, look, not all the women are the same. Not all the men are the same. This also has something to do with other categories. It has something to do with categories of race, of nationality. It can have to do with categories of generation of sexuality. And what is it we are talking about this particular aspect of this particular conflict or how they are related to each other that makes that we come further in our thinking about strategies for the future. If we have a more nuanced discussion about who the victims are and that they have the same time can be perpetrators or different periods of their lives, they are one or the other or both. How can we bring those nuances in in order to look forward? And that is both. I think that that is a contribution to study in transitional justice as well as memory studies where much more work needs to be done.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:19:35] And in that sense, I also hope that people that are interested in other conflicts will read the book and find some inspiration in it, because it's never been my intention to come with. For example, I can walk around here and say that I don't understand why people aren't reacting. Oh, by the way, now I found some people who have reacted. Nobody's listening to them coming from there and then saying that this is the exact solution to how everything will be alright, everything will be solved. That's not my intention. Because I don't think that works, and if you look at, for example, research in transitional justice, there's quite a broad agreement that you can't have this one policy, for example, that fixes everything, everywhere, all the time. You need to kind of figure that out in individual cases and then really try to work your way forward. But I think by bringing in these nuances in the analysis of the way in which societies transform how memories of the past not only can be found within specific societies, I mean, it's very clear that what happened in Indonesia during these three conflicts also affected people in other parts of the world and in the Netherlands as well. It's very difficult to think about the Netherlands and then just ignore that it was a colonial history or that there were any connections at all.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:21:01] So you need to give it a place. And as a global society, I think it's also important to say that while there were human rights abuses throughout the three conflicts that need attention, why hasn't there been more attention towards them? There is also I mean, this one of the things that I found interesting these days, because I stopped this study in 2015, the period that I cover in the book is from 1942 when the Japanese occupied the Dutch Indies, until 2015, when there was a commemoration of 70 years of Indonesian, independence, and it was 50 years since the genocide of 65. So that was a moment in time when, there suddenly became more interest, became more political attention. What I find interesting today, five years later, is the way in which, for example, Black Lives Matter have made that a lot of these issues have become extremely topical, brought up discussions all over, like how do we relate to racial injustice in different parts? Where did that come from, that racial injustice? What did it have to do with colonialism? But also, I think that a lot of the discussions about what happened in 1965 have come up in a different way now.

 

D. McCargo: [00:22:28] Yes. Let's jump to the end, if we can. Yesterday, we had a conversation. You said the book, in a way, is I think this of it set me off thinking again of my reactions to it. You don't have a concluding chapter, for say, last chapter sort of ends in itself and some readers might be forgiven for slightly left hanging. And I was hoping that, you know, I do like this kind of framing. I did go back at the end to the personal journey that you start at the beginning and tell us something about how, having gone through these novels, looked at these three different conflicts from these different perspectives and used all these different conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Had you reached any conclusions yourself about questions that you were trying to answer personally, or would you want to end the book in terms of setting a future agenda for other people's research, so what kind of concluding remarks you make it or leave that at the end of the book itself, especially if you have some thoughts about how to link where you started?

 

P. Stoltz: [00:23:34] Yeah, this is a book that took a very long time to write. So, it's ironic that in that sense, I didn't end it with a conclusion and a personal note in the end as well. That also made that the publishers were like, we want the manuscript now. We know you can go on forever, which sure. And that also had to do with issues about marketing in relation to this year where you have these commemorations of seventy-five years of Indonesian independence. So, could it be related to things like that, perhaps, which make a lot of sense and which I absolutely could agree with. But it did mean that I got into problems with my timing in the end, and it was like, OK, I'm not going to be able to keep their deadline. But these is a very pragmatic answer to why it looks the way it does. Right. But I can, of course, say something now.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:24:33] So now, like I said, in terms of not being any, I don't want to point out this is the strategy that people should be taking in terms of research agendas. I do think it would be very good if people within transitional justice, research and memory studies would take on intersectional and queer approaches a lot more than they're doing, because I do see when I think that happens, slightly more international justice, research and peace and conflict research feminist security studies.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:25:06] It happens more there than in memory studies where I think that there's definitely a need of going further with that and where I think I gave some tools to continue discussions to have started there then include that the whole notion of transnational memories, which I haven't been talking too much about today, but that actually is also one of those up and coming research areas that is potentially very important, I think, because it does point out the way in which we think about connections between different parts of the world and how we should think about it in also in a very practical manner.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:25:48] Now, on a personal note, since you asked about that as well, this has been a process of mourning. So, let's keep it at that.

 

D. McCargo: [00:25:56] Yes. No, that makes total sense. Thank you so much.

 

D. McCargo: [00:25:59] How experienced gender resistance and transnational memories of violent conflicts affect when these women have migrated to a democratic society such as, I'm just abbreviating slightly, such as in Europe? How can we influence their memories and break down the silence that they are still wary about these experiences in the confines of their home without talking to anybody? I mean, these memories of strict patriarchal norms being normalised within these women and we're still all the violence that we're experiencing here in Europe. How should they be convinced, encouraged to talk to transplanting to the European context?

 

P. Stoltz: [00:26:32] And like I said, that can be a lot of strength in not talking as well and talking only to people with whom you feel safe.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:26:41] So to say that per definition of the experience would be one of you need to talk. Well, that depends. If people do not want to talk can be good reasons that they can manage anyway. Now, it is not necessarily the case that everybody doesn't talk, also necessarily relate that to very patriarchal things. It can also have a lot to do with racist structures that make that you don't want to talk. And in, for example, the book, the person that didn't talk, moved to another country as well, because they didn't really like the society in the Dutch society in which they found that they couldn't breathe. So, they went somewhere completely different. They moved to Canada. I find it really difficult to say something that general about individual people. And then it's also because I'm not a psychologist that works with individual people. I'm a political scientist that looks at the political dimensions of it. And then it becomes more a matter of what kind of politics are going on. The link from going to between people that have individually are vocal and protest in their families, in their neighbourhoods. There's not necessarily a direct link between that and participating in organised resistance organisations or movements that don't like, OK, the government should do this or that. But that is more or less what I'm trying to trace as well. How do these mechanics help? What is very difficult to give a straight answer to that question, because, like I said, I tried to figure out the nuances of those silences. When is there a thing? When is there not?

 

D. McCargo: [00:28:28] I should have said, by the way, that question came from Malia. And I have another one in there right now. But I have more questions I wanted to ask myself. And you did touch on this. But maybe to explain a bit more, particularly in Chapter six, you talk about flying queer theory, destabilising regimes of the normal and querying narratives of national identity. And I found that very intriguing, this method. Could you just explain a bit about this idea of sort of transforming our understandings of what is normal and applying that to an idea like yours? You're appropriating an idea from one area and very much for use in a way that might be unfamiliar to some people. So, it's very playful. So perhaps you could explain a bit about how that works.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:29:06] Well, that particular chapter is if we think about national identity, how do we think about it when we in Indonesia, which is what this chapter is about, Indonesian national identity and nation building. The thing with that particular chapter is that it is based on a book by Mongered Vijaya who wrote a book called Douga Imagine. This was written in the 1990s and that particular book is trying to deal with the history of Indonesia from the 40s until that time. So, it covers all the three conflicts that I've been talking about. Now these conflicts have been tearing apart Indonesian society in different ways. You had the Japanese coming, you had the Dutch there and disappearing. You had the genocide of sixty-five where there was a genocide upon the.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:30:00] People that were communists were accused of being communists in the middle of the Cold War, where there were all kinds of ties to U.S. and other parts of the world, but where it still was very much an Indonesian affair. And in the 1990s, Indonesia had a military dictatorship which had started after that particular genocide, military had taken charge. So it wasn't that easy to be critical of that particular regime because you could end up in trouble. And there were a lot of people that ended up in trouble and it was still extremely anti left. He wanted to think about how Indonesia as a society could move forward. What would you need? How would we need to think? And the only way he could think about it is to say that, well, we are all of this. We are both good and bad. We are partly Dutch, because we have been colonised by the Dutch and we are partly communist and partly not communist. And we're perpetrators with victims where all of this we're bystanders, we're the lot. So, in a sense, he was trying to be very inclusive, if you want, during a period where inclusive, he was not very wanted.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:31:12] So he couldn't speak out openly. What queer theory does he say that instead of these binary men, women and communism and anti-communist, victim, perpetrator, et cetera, how about thinking about all these things as fluid as what the norms are? Think about outside those norms. Think about how we can rethink what is normal, what he tries to do in this particular book by challenging what is normal at that time during the military regime is to rethink Indonesian identity by creating a main character who encompasses all these identities and changes these identities. And he does that in a very playful and very intriguing way that is very difficult to explain very shortly. But using traditions of Vianne theatre and tradition of telling stories in Indonesia where you can consider different political and moral issues by means of poppets, and then at the same time telling the history of Indonesia on another level. So, it's a very intricate novel in that sense. But I do think that the queering thinking outside of the box, thinking outside of what is normal in order to say that we should all be able to move forward there, can that particular type of approach help a lot? And he is trying to do that.

 

D. McCargo: [00:32:36] In another realm of ambiguity or intersection, which you go into quite a bit and places in the book is a question of what is it to be implicated? And obviously we ask ourselves questions like those of us who grew up in Western European countries, how far are we implicated in the colonial projects that preceded us, that were carried out by maybe our family members and maybe not countries that we currently living in, and are citizens of. Or in the Indonesian case of our people implicated in the events say, of nineteen sixty-five, which they may not have actively participated in, but nevertheless on some level were a party to. Could you talk a little bit about the complication of the notion of being implicated? Because again, we might tend to assume that you either are or not implicated in this, but there are more and more possibilities in that room.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:33:25] Well, in a sense, if we say that human rights are really important around the world, we subscribe to that, then we should, in a sense, also subscribe to well, then we should go after breaches of that. And in that sense, we are all implicated in seeing to it that that happens. There is one very simple way of talking about it when it comes down to it. A lot of us or any of us, we cannot be interested in everything, everywhere, all the time. That's just not possible. And then makes it also interesting to see how come that certain conflicts get a lot of attention and others do not. So, there's where my question, you know, in the study also comes up, because, for example, the genocide in 1965 in Indonesia happened at more or less the same time as there were a lot of struggles going on in Vietnam. And there was so much global attention to what was going on in Vietnam. But there was a lot of attention to what was going on in Indonesia. And it wasn't as if people didn't know. I mean, you can trace that. But sometimes you need a lot of people on the streets to remind people empowered to take action.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:34:34] One of the things that I'm trying to do in that final chapter when I go like, OK, if I have been saying all along, don't generalise about victims, don't generalise about perpetrators or bystanders even that were there, but then you also have these other people, these observers. How come we cannot really generalise about everybody should be engaged, but it would be really good. If we do not universalise all these emotions and feelings because very often it is related to emotions and feelings. I mean, the example that I use in the novel, the final novel that I'm analysing is also one of the characters is a woman who is in Paris, a French woman who was in Paris and during an anti-Vietnam demonstration and meets this Indonesian refugee. And because she meets that in your refugee and falls in love with him, she gets involved. Of course, she does them because then it becomes something personal to somebody else in France, not necessarily related to the ties between France and Vietnam are different than the ties between Indonesia and France.

 

D. McCargo: [00:35:46] Because we now have a couple of questions. Monserrat Fernandez says, congratulations, Pauline. Definitely very interesting topic and a brave approach. But she asked whether there was some other issue or question that you wanted to consider. But were not able to because of lack of information simply for the next research. I guess it's back to that conclusion question. Where do we go from here? Another question from Johanna Massa, how you conceptualise your research agency in a conflict situation but goes beyond the dichotomous oppressor victim framework and highlights the gender dimension of how does the memory dimension influence this?

 

P. Stoltz: [00:36:20] Well, if we take the first question, what would I like to continue with? There are issues related to memories of well, that is actually getting back to be a political scientist. Again, I would find it really interesting to look at memories of politicians and diplomats and how they could or could not work with issues like this, because what they could and couldn't raise and there was just no time and place to do that in this particular study. So really going to my politics around.

 

D. McCargo: [00:36:54] The memoirs and the oral histories, perhaps.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:36:57] Yes. And perhaps also looking at newer conflicts and seeing how people that are still alive can talk about that today. And then there was a question about agency and memory.

 

D. McCargo: [00:37:09] How are you conceptualising your research agency, going beyond the oppressor victim framework and highlighting the gender dimension of how does the memory dimensioned influence that.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:37:19] My agency, god that has changed over the years? Definitely. If I say this was a process of mourning, it has also meant a lot in terms of how I think about myself in relation to different parts of the world. Relatives. It meant, in a way, during this talk, I try not to be too academic, but. But you can talk about decolonising your mind, see the implications of a colonial system upon me have and then see how can I think about myself beyond that has been really influencing me by connecting to, if you want to, my Indonesian roots, but at the same time being very careful about what I can and cannot say and how I can use the privileges that I have and where I could see my own privileges in a different way. Then when I started out and this is a lifetime struggle, more or less, but that has been part of working on this book. I think that that is the short answer I can give.

 

D. McCargo: [00:38:20] Yes, that's an excellent note to end this conversation on. And really, really interesting. And you're rather modest, I think, Pauline, about what you've done with this book, but it's really a very, very ambitious and interesting project and it takes us off in so many different directions. It's an extremely provocative book in terms of getting people thinking and getting us to reflect on ourselves and who we are and what we're doing in this world.

 

D. McCargo: [00:38:47] I know quite a long time working on it, but the fruits of the labour are that are really important and interesting book. So, I hope that going forward will be inspired to, first of all, to do more things along those lines. And those who haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, please do take a look at it and think about it. I'm also thinking about can I finally get around to connecting my real interest, which is novels to what I've been making a living out of doing, which is studying politics. I've been trying to square that circle for quite a few years now and it makes me think I should I should absolutely find a way to give it to everybody may take a different kind of inspiration. Now we're getting more questions, but we decided that we would keep this short and sweet. So, we can't hold our glasses up literally. This is a launch and it's a celebration. And there's a lot to celebrate with this book. So many very interesting things going on here, a fantastic job Pauline, we're really delighted to have had the chance to have this conversation with you today.

 

P. Stoltz: [00:39:45] Thank you. And yes, thank you so much. And thank you. Everybody listening as well. I'm very grateful for this opportunity, at least.

 

D. McCargo: [00:39:55] You have been listening to the Nordic Asia podcast.