Wacana, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia is a scholarly journal accredited by Decree of the Directorate General of Research Reinforcement and Development, Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia No. 60/E/KPT/2016, 13 November 2016. This journal of the Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia, is a medium for scholarly discussion, description, and surveys concerning literature, linguistics, archaeology, history, philosophy, library and information studies, religion, art, and interdisciplinary studies. The journal is published twice a year.


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Call for papers for the upcoming issues (2022 and 2023)


Articles submitted have to be written in English, have not been published elsewhere and are not under review for possible publication elsewhere. The article should be provided with an abstract and keywords. For more information please e-mail us at: wacana@ui.ac.id

Wacana, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia Vol. 23 Nos 1 and 2 (April 2022): “The natural world in the arts of Indonesia and mainland Southeast Asia”. Submission deadline: 1 June, 2021.

The preparation of this publication is the joint responsibility of Wacana in cooperation with Professor Melani Budianta (Literary and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities - Universitas Indonesia) and Dr Dick van der Meij (Liaison Officer and Academic Advisor DREAMSEA/Digital Repository of Endangered and Affected Manuscripts in Southeast Asia).

Throughout the ages, the natural world has played an important role in an abundance of artistic expressions in Southeast Asia. In literary works, on temple reliefs and in many other forms of artistic expression, animals, plants and other aspects of the natural world are portrayed and admired. The natural world has been the inspiration for the people not only who inhabit the vast area of Southeast Asia but also for people from far beyond, whether they have been Europeans or other Asians like the Chinese and people from India. This tradition has a very long history with its roots sunk deep in the historical past and it still continues to exert its fascination. We only need to think of the huge number of people who have been involved in the depiction of Bali alone to get some idea of the immensity of the present subject.

     Curiously, no attempt has yet been made to study the way the natural world has been used in the arts in the area. This is an extraordinary anomaly as nature in all its aspects has been a never-failing source of inspiration for the arts in the region. It is hoped that the issue will cover as many aspects of the natural world as possible in the visual arts, literature, the way outsiders have studied the natural world and how they have reported their findings. Scholars from the entire spectrum are invited to contribute and we are particularly interested in contributions which will share many illustrations with the public. We are thinking about articles on literature and the specific role of the natural world as portrayed in literary products, theatrical performances in which animals and plants play important roles, the specific reliefs on temples from the past but also on modern reliefs on temple walls, for instance, in Bali. We are keen to discover in the way volcanic explosions and tsunamis have been depicted and used in literature in the past and the present.

     In short, we are open to contributions which will entice readers to conceptualize on the role, philosophy, or aesthetic expressions of the arts of the natural wonders in the region, and how the representations have or have not changed over time.


Wacana, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia Vol. 23 No. 3 (October 2022): “Contextualizing Netherlands-Indonesia transnationalism”.  Submission deadline: 1 October, 2021.

The preparation of this publication is the joint responsibility of Wacana in cooperation with Professor Fridus Steijlen (Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences of VU University, Amsterdam and Senior Researcher at KITLV). 

The Netherlands is home to a variety of people with Indonesian roots. They might be migrants who left Indonesia after independence, Indo-Europeans and Moluccans from the former colonial army, or perhaps Surinamese Javanese who left Suriname. The Netherlands also became home to Indonesian exiles after the change of power in the mid-1960s and, later, to more recent Indonesian migrants who organize themselves along ethnic or regional background lines, like Balinese or Batak.

     All of them, in one way or another, as individual or as group relate themselves to Indonesia. This might be because they are searching for identity or cultural inspiration or because they feel politically connected. These transnational relations are neither formulated nor shaped in a vacuum and they change continuously. They are very much influenced by colonial history and contemporary discussions about the colonial past and the relationship between the Netherlands and Indonesia. By focusing on the mechanism of how these different transnational relationships work and how, for example, the same discourses might work out differently for different groups in Dutch society, can help us to understand the mechanism of transnationalism better.

Wacana, Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia Vol. 24 No. 3 (2023) “Locating Indonesia’s cultural archive; Towards decolonial and intersectional histories of Indonesia”. Submission deadline: 1 October, 2022.

The preparation of this publication is the joint responsibility of Wacana in co-operation with Dr Sadiah Boonstra (Melbourne University) and Dr Caroline Drieënhuizen (Open University in the Netherlands) to gather critical, decolonial and intersectional histories of Indonesia.

After the Indonesian nation-state was born it became the frame for the history of colonialization and decolonization of this country. The rub is that national narratives constructed around specific moments in time and place run the risk of reducing decolonization to a political moment in history; the moment former colonized people took hold of the state. This approach obscures the cultural, political, sexual, racial, violent and transnational nature of colonialism and the way it still affects Indonesian society today.

     We propose to understand decolonization as a continuous ongoing political, social and cultural process which has continued to affect Indonesia profoundly up to the present day. This Wacana issue seeks to explore Indonesia’s ‘cultural archive’ as outlined by Gloria Wekker in her book White innocence; Paradoxes of colonialism and race (2016), and Edward Said (Culture and imperialism, 1993): ‘A particular knowledge and structures of attitude and reference’ which ‘has influenced historical cultural configurations and current dominant and cherished self-representations and culture’. Although Wekker focuses on the culture of the colonizing countries, we would like to redirect our focus on to the former colonized country, as the cultural archive is formed in the colonial-metropolitan contact zone. We wish to examine the effect of the culture of colonialism on Indonesian society today from historical perspective, affecting memories, knowledge and identities. We do not imply that the cultural archive has remained the same nor that it remains uncontested. On the contrary, we suggest reading colonial continuities back into cultural, social and political phenomena, paying special attention to the way in which through a historical lens the cultural archive, continues to influence Indonesian society today.

     Understanding that colonial determinism lurks around the corner – the danger that we look at society exclusively through a colonial lens – we propose the concept and praxis of decoloniality as a remedy. Influenced by Aníbal Quijano and Walter Mignolo, we seek to shift the perspective, gaze and experience to a decolonial stance in a reconsideration of colonialism and coloniality in Indonesian history. Quijano postulates that there is no modernity without coloniality and that coloniality is a necessary component of modernity. Therefore, coloniality cannot be ended if global imperial structures continue to exist. Decoloniality means detachment from structures of coloniality in order to (re)establish old and new ways of thinking, languages, ways of life and being in the world which coloniality implements and the rhetoric of modernity disclaims. 

     The complex, multi-faceted character of coloniality and its reciprocal relationship with the Indonesian cultural archive can only be analyzed by writing histories from different perspectives. We therefore turn to an intersectional approach to see how racial, gendered, sexualized, classed, religious and regionalized differences intersect and are rooted in the cultural archive. 

     The co-editors of this Wacana issue invite contributions taking a historical, decolonial, intersectional approach to the construction and working of Indonesia’s cultural archive. We encourage interdisciplinary methodologies, making use of insights from gender and sexuality studies, social and political science, discourse, narrative and visual analysis, post- and decolonial theory and praxis. Contributions can take any one of the following formats: 1) new refereed research articles; 2) book review(s). 

     Possible topics and areas of interest for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • decolonial historiography;
  • constructions of race, gender, class, ethnicities in the cultural archive;
  • conceptualization and representations of race and ethnicity in history and art;
  • (de)coloniality of knowledge, heritage and museums;
  • (de)coloniality in literature, memoirs and interviews;
  • decoloniality as praxis inter-Indonesian dialogues, encounters, historical imaginaries.

Please submit a (provisional) title and 150-word abstract of your proposed contribution to wacana@ui.ac.id or moeimam@gmail.com

Posted: 2020-12-30
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Vol 21, No 3 (2020): The art of giving meaning in translation

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