[URBANTH-L]Aceh, Indonesia -- a New Book from Penn Press

Stephanie Brown browns2 at pobox.upenn.edu
Thu Jan 31 13:58:19 EST 2008

The University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the release of 
/Aceh, Indonesia: Securing the Insecure State/ by Elizabeth F. Drexler.

Penn Press <http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/>
*New in Political Science | Anthropology*
Aceh, Indonesia* Aceh, Indonesia: Securing the Insecure State* 
Elizabeth F. Drexler
296 pages | 6 x 9 | 9 illus.
Cloth 2008 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4057-3 | $59.95 | £39.00
A volume in the Ethnography of Political Violence 
<http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/series/EPV.html> series

"A needed critique of the often-romanticized vision of 'reconciliation 
through truth commissions' for nations caught up in historical cycles of 
violence."--Susan Rodgers, College of the Holy Cross

"Elizabeth Drexler's sensitive treatment of Aceh's recent history is an 
invaluable contribution to the debate."--Goenawan Mohamad, author 
of ///Conversations with Difference/

In 1998, Indonesia exploded with both euphoria and violence after the 
fall of its longtime authoritarian ruler, Soeharto, and his New Order 
regime. Hope centered on establishing the rule of law, securing civilian 
control over the military, and ending corruption. Indonesia under 
Soeharto was a fundamentally insecure state. Shadowy organizations, 
masterminds, provocateurs, puppet masters, and other mysterious figures 
recalled the regime's inaugural massive anticommunist violence in 1965 
and threatened to recreate those traumas in the present. Threats 
metamorphosed into deadly violence in a seemingly endless spiral. In 
Aceh province, the cycle spun out of control, and an imagined enemy came 
to life as armed separatist rebels. Even as state violence and 
systematic human rights violations were publicly exposed after 
Soeharto's fall, a lack of judicial accountability has perpetuated 
pervasive mistrust that undermines civil society.

Elizabeth F. Drexler analyzes how the Indonesian state has sustained 
itself amid anxieties and insecurities generated by historical and human 
rights accounts of earlier episodes of violence. In her examination of 
the Aceh conflict, Drexler demonstrates the falsity of the reigning 
assumption of international human rights organizations that the exposure 
of past violence promotes accountability and reconciliation rather than 
the repetition of abuses. She stresses that failed human rights 
interventions can be more dangerous than unexamined past conflicts, 
since the international stage amplifies grievances and provides access 
for combatants to resources from outside the region. Violent conflict 
itself, as well as historical narratives of past violence, become 
critical economic and political capital, deepening the problem. The book 
concludes with a consideration of the improved prospects for peace in 
Aceh following the devastating 2004 tsunami.

*Elizabeth F. Drexler* teaches anthropology at Michigan State University.

Book reviewers: to request a press copy, contact Ellen Trachtenberg at 
ellenpt at pobox.upenn.edu <mailto:ellenpt at pobox.upenn.edu>.
Educators: to request an exam copy for course use consideration, click 
here <http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/review.html>.

Stephanie Brown
Electronic Promotions Coordinator
University of Pennsylvania Press
3905 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4112
browns2 at pobox.upenn.edu


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