‘A Feminist Reframing: An interview with Intan Paramaditha’ by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

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In this article: Intan Paramaditha,
Written by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, and was originally published in The Lifted Brow,
Apr 24, 2018

Norman: You grew up in the middle and the twilight of Soeharto's New Order. How did it influence your upbringing? Intan: I was shaped by all the keywords thrown in the public sphere as soon as the authoritarian regime ended and the age of Reformasi (political reform) began in 1998: Freedom of expression; resistance; critical thinking. These were the mantras of the student movement, and it coincided with a lot of things. There was music (we all grew up listening to Cobain, so having a super optimistic view in life was not the norm), an oppressive father (whom I later made peace with), and my formal education, which played a big part. I was lucky to have been educated as a student of the English Department at the University of Indonesia. My advisor was feminist professor and activist Melani Budianta, and it was in college that I studied feminism, postcolonialism, and critical theory. Many of my generation in the late 90s did not have this luxury. Some programs would avoid teaching Marxist theories because the 1966 ban on Marxism and communism had not been lifted. A lot of university students would create independent study groups because schools in general were useless. My case was different. It was only a few years after Melani returned from her Ph.D at Cornell, so she introduced all the debates in the 90s – Judith Butler, Cultural Studies… We read Arundhati Roy and Jhumpa Lahiri, not just dead white male authors.

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