CSEAS Online Seminar on Indonesia

You are cordially invited to our online seminar on Indonesia. The topics are Transitional Justice and Subnational Authoritarianism.

Time and Date: 16:00 to 17: 30 (Japan Time) on November 24, 2021
Registration from the URL below:

1st Presentation: Domesticating Transitional Justice
Speaker: Ehito Kimura (University of Hawaii, the US)
Commentator: Suh Jiwon (Seoul National University, South Korea)
Moderator: Matsuno Akihisa (Osaka University)

2nd Presentation: Limitations to subnational authoritarianism: Indonesian local government head elections in comparative perspective
Speaker: Michael Buehler (SOAS, the UK)
Commentator: Morishita Akiko (Ritsumeikan University)
Moderator: Wahyu Prasetyawan (Islamic State University of Syarif Hidayatullah)

The presentations’ abstracts and the presenters’ bio are as follows:

Abstract of 1st Presentation:
Indonesia’s transition in the late 1990s led to calls for an international tribunal akin to the ones that had been organized for the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda just a few years earlier.  The country dodged this fate by committing to establish measures that would try alleged perpetrators within its own justice system. By keeping transitional justice initiatives within Indonesia, I argue that transitional justice came to be domesticated. At the same time activists and advocates of transitional justice have sought to break out of this domestication by deploying alternative forms of transitional justice sited outside of official state spaces. Some advocates have gone “upward” to the international level, to look for symbolic victory and international support.  In other instances, activists have gone ‘outward’ to social groups throughout the country to bring their stories forward.  And some activists have gone ‘downward’ to the local level and sought to push for initiatives using those as a kind of laboratory or experiment to replicate elsewhere. Thus rather than outright failure, I suggest transitional justice be characterized as an ongoing struggle for activists, advocates and survivors of state violence.

Abstract of 2nd Presentation:
In recent years, a sizeable literature on subnational authoritarian regimes in democracies has emerged. In some countries local authoritarian enclaves have persisted despite the democratization of politics at the national level. Even more intriguing, new subnational authoritarian regimes have emerged in the context of national level democratization. Finally, scholars have noted that there is considerable variance in subnational authoritarian regime durability between and within countries. This article will examine why subnational authoritarian regimes have not emerged in Indonesia. Arguably, the difficulties of subnational elites to concentrate control over local economies; the high economic autonomy of voters; and the rigid institutional framework of Indonesia’s decentralized unitary state have inhibited the rise of durable subnational authoritarian regimes in the world’s third largest democracy. One of the first studies on subnational authoritarian regimes in a decentralized unitary state, the article engages and informs the broader literature on subnational authoritarian regimes.

Bio of the 1st Presenter:
Dr. Ehito Kimura (  is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research interests lie at the nexus of political change and Southeast Asian politics. His first book manuscript entitled “Provincial Proliferation: Territorial Politics in Post-Suharto Indonesia” (Routledge 2012) explores the changing dynamics of territoriality after the fall of authoritarianism and the rise of democracy and decentralization in Indonesia. He has also written several articles about political change and democratic transition in Indonesia. More recently, he has been working on a project looking at transitional justice in Indonesia in comparative perspective.

Bio of the 2nd Presenter:
Dr. Michael Buehler ( is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).  Michael specializes in Southeast Asian politics with particular reference to state-society relations during democratization and decentralization. He published a book with Cambridge University Press titled The Politics of Shari’a Law: Islamist Activists and the State in Democratizing Indonesia; articles in disciplinary journals such as Comparative Politics and Party Politicsarea studies journals such as Third World Quarterly and South East Asia Research; chapters in Beyond OligarchyProblems of Democratisation in Indonesiaand Deepening Democracy in Indonesia; as well as on-line contributions to AljazeeraInside IndonesiaThe DiplomatThe Financial Times, and New Mandala.

Contact: Okamoto Masaaki (, Kyoto Univeristy, Japan) 

Online Seminar on Indonesia