Michael Bodden

Michael  Bodden
Professor; Graduate Program Advisor; Southeast Asia - Southeast Asia-Oceania Languages Coordinator & Advisor
Pacific and Asian Studies
Office: CLE C218

PhD, University of Wisconsin

Research Interests
  • Indonesian-Malay Language
  • Southeast Asian Culture & Literature
  • Indonesian Theatre & Literature
  • Southeast Asian Cinema
  • Graphic Narratives from and About Asia and Asians
  • World History, Globalization, Cosmopolitanism
  • Human Rights and the Arts

I took my PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin. The subject of my thesis was The Appropriation of Bertolt Brecht's ideas of theatre in Grassroots Theatre Movements in Indonesia and the Philippines.

My current projects involve a study of the theater and drama work of party-affiliated cultural groups during Indonesia’s Soekarno era (1950-65), and an examination of the connections between cosmopolitanism and commitment to nation in recent Indonesian fiction, film, performance, and graphic narratives. I have also translated and published the work of several Indonesian writers-poetry by Saraswati Sunindyo, Nurhidayat Poso, and Afrizal Malna; plays and short stories by Putu Wijaya; short stories, plays, and essays by Seno Gumira Ajidarma; and most recently, six plays by a variety of writers for the three-volume The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama.
I am interested in the way art and culture are intertwined with social and political discourses and contexts, and am particularly drawn to the creative responses culture can make to oppressive social conditions, as well as the ways it engages with, resists, or attempts to adapt to globalization and the now dominant neo-liberal economic ideology.

Selected publications
Resistance on the National Stage Resistance on the National Stage: Theater and Politics in Late New Order Indonesia (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2010)
The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama, Volume 2: Building a National Theater (editor and translator for 5 of 13 plays included) (Jakarta: Lontar Foundation, 2010)


  • “Seeing the Global through the Local: Indonesian Fiction’s World Travels,” in Jan van der Putten, Monika Arnez, Edwin P. Wieringa, and Arndt Graf, ed., Traditions Redirecting Contemporary Indonesian Cultural Productions (Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2017): 177-199.
  • Cosmopolitanism, Nation, and the Urban-Rural Split in the Novels of Ayu Utami,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 172 .4 (2016): 1–28.
  • “Making Circles of Steel and Castles Of Vanity Possible: The Cold War In The Long Durée of "Modernity," Journal of Asian Studies 75.4 (November 2016): 1019-1029.
  • “Modern Theatre in Maritime Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore,” in Siyuan Liu, ed., Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre (London: Routledge, 2016): 370-390.
  • "Voice Upon Voice" (a play by Lena Simanjuntak and Teater Perempuan Independen, co-translated with Saraswati Sunindyo) in Theodore W. Goossen and Anindo Hazra, ed., Human Rights and the Arts in Global Asia: An Anthology (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014): 171-212.
  • "Universal Rights and Separate Universes: Local/National Identities, Global Power, and the Modeling and Representing of Human Rights in Indonesian Performance Arts" in Susan J. Henders and Lily Cho, ed., Human Rights and the Arts: Perspectives on Global Asia (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2014): 221-239.
  • "Regional Identity and National Theatre in South Sulawesi," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 44.1 (February 2013): 24-48.
  • "The Dynamic Tensions of Lekra's Modern National Theatre," in Jennifer Lindsay and Maya H.T. Liem, ed., Heirs to World Culture: Being Indonesian 1950-1965 (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2012): 453-484.
  • “Things Growing on the Table.” Translation of an Afrizal Malna play in Cobina Gillitt, ed., The Lontar Anthology of Indonesian Drama Volume 3: New Directions, 1965- 1998 (Jakarta: The Lontar Foundation, 2010): 435-449.
  • “Modern Drama, Politics, and the Postcolonial Aesthetics of Left-Nationalism in North Sumatra: The Forgotten Theater of Indoensia’s Lekra, 1955-65", in Tony Day and Maya Liem, eds., Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2010): 45-80.
  • “Membuat Drama Asing Berbicara kepada Penonton Indonesia: Univeralisme dan Identitas Pasca-Kolonial dalam Teater-Seni Indonesia Modern” (How to Make Foreign Plays Speak to Indonesian Audiences: Universality and Postcolonial Identity in Indonesian Modern Art Theatre) in Henri Chambert-Loir, ed., Sadur: Sejarah terjemahan di Indonesia dan Malaysia (Adaptation: The History of Translation in Indonesia and Malaysia) (Jakarta: Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, Edole francaise d’Extrreme-Orient Forum Jakarta-Paris, and Pusat Bahasa, Universitas Padjadjaran, 2009): 911-929.
  • "Introduction" to Special issue of Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs on New Writing and Theatre by Women in Indonesia, co-authored with Tineke Hellwig, 41.2 (2007): 1-24.
  • "Shattered Families: 'Transgression', Cosmopolitanism, and Experimental Form in the Fiction of Djenar Maesa Ayu," Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs 41.2 (2007): 95-125.
  • "Languages of Traumas, Bodies, and Myths: Learning to speak again in post-1998 Indonesian Theater." in Arts, Popular Culture, and Social Change in the New Indonesia, Michael Leaf and Kusno Abidin, ed., 119-151. Vancouver: UBC Institute of Asian Research, Centre for Southeast Asian Research. 
  • "'Tradition', 'Modernism', and the Struggle for Cultural Hegemony in Indonesian National Art Theatre", Indonesia and the Malay World Vol. 35 No. 101 (March 2007): 63-91.
  • "Rap in Indonesian Youth Music of the 1990s: "Globalization", "Outlaw Genres", and Social Protest," Asian Music (Summer/Fall 2005): 1-26.
  • "Satuan-Satuan Kecil and Uncomfortable Improvisations in the Late Night of the New Order: Democratization, Postmodernism, and Postcoloniality" in Keith Foulcher and Tony Day, eds., Clearing Space: Postcolonial Readings of Modern Indonesian Literature (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2002): 293-324.
PAAS 100:  Introduction to Pacific and Asian Studies
PAAS 120:  1st Semester Indonesian-Malay
PAAS 121:  2nd Semester Indonesian-Malay
PAAS 206:  Comics and Graphic Novels in Asian and the Pacific
PAAS 302:  Literary and Cultural Theory in Pacific and Asian Languages and Literatures Studies
PAAS 309:  Human Rights and Cultural Expression in the Asia-Pacific Region
PAAS 370:  Indonesian and Pacific Literature
PAAS 371:  Narrating Southeast Asia: Novels, Films, and History
PAAS 372:  Southeast Asian Cinema
PAAS 373:  The Theatre of Indonesia
PAAS 406:  Ideology and Cultural Conflict in Asian and the Pacific
PAAS 409:  Globalization, Cosmopolitanism, and Asian-Pacific Cultures
PAAS 501:  Cultural, Linguistic, and Literary Theories in Asia-Pacific Studies