International Conference CCIS (Center for Chinese-Indonesian Studies)

CHINESE-INDONESIANS: Their Lives and Identities 
14-16 November 2013, Semarang – Central Java, INDONESIA


During the New Order era (1966 – 1998), because of their ethnic origin, the Chinese were not perceived as native to Indonesia despite their presence in the country for such a long time. This perception gave this group of people a permanent status of “essential outsiders” and a sign of “alienness” and “capital,”  due to their indispensable role in the economy of Indonesia during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Their dominance in the economy was used as the justification for the “native” Indonesians to monopolize political power. This situation instituted a mutual exploitation, in which the Chinese were expected to exchange wealth for political favors. The exploitation was intricately entangled in the social fabric of Indonesian society that it was difficult for both parties to get out of this situation. In this mutual exploitation, the Chinese suffered more than the natives, as proven by the anti-Chinese violence that took place in Indonesia and various discriminatory laws and practices that curtailed the civil and political rights of the Chinese. Given this fact, most studies on Chinese Indonesians usually focus on their precarious positions in Indonesian society.

The past fifteen years, since the demise of the New Order regime in 1998, have witnessed a significant emergence of new perspectives on the study of the Chinese in Indonesia. The fall of the authoritarian New Order regime brought about winds of change. The succeeding administrations have opened doors to the celebration of diverse ethnicity and cultures. Chinese Indonesians who used to feel suppressed during the New Order era found a channel to express themselves and take the opportunity to regain their sense of ethnicity.

The new political atmosphere has sparked the interest in Chinese Indonesian community and culture. Responding to this growing interest, the Center for Chinese-Indonesian Studies (CCIS) at Petra Christian University in cooperation with Soegijapranata Catholic University Semarang and Maranatha Christian University Bandung, will hold a conference on Chinese-Indonesians. The major objectives of this conference are challenging the ways people study and write about the Chinese in Indonesia and re-examining the studies of Chinese Indonesian community in light of the tremendous changes that affect this community.


Topics for Call for Papers should be aligned to the following sub-themes: (please read more descriptions at the end of this email)

a. Chinese-Indonesian Organizations
b. Chinese-Indonesian Education
c. Chinese-Indonesian Press
d. Chinese-Indonesian Diasporic Literature
e. Chinese-Indonesian Culinary
f. Chinese-Indonesian Businesses
g. Chinese-Indonesian Arts and Architecture

Papers can be WRITTEN and/or PRESENTED in ONE OF the following 3 (three) languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Mandarin/Chinese, and English (there will be three separate tracks based on language of presentation).

Regretfully the conference organizer could not accomodate simultaneous translations during the conference.


Deadline for Abstract Sumbission        31 July
Announcement for Abstract Acceptance    15 August
Registration (Early Bird)                15 September
Registration (Regular)                  15 October
Deadline for Full-paper Submission      15 October


Early bird:    Participant foreign USD 130  Indonesian Rp 1.000.000,-
Presenter  foreign USD 150  Indonesian Rp 1.200.000,-
Reguler:        Participant foreign USD 150  Indonesian Rp 1.200.000,-
Presenter  foreign USD 175  Indonesian Rp 1.500.000,-
Pay on site    Participant foreign USD 300  Indonesian Rp 2.500.000,-

Information on Registration payment will be provided soon at the CCIS website


  • Center for Chinese-Indonesian Studies (CCIS) at Petra Christian
  • University Surabaya in collaborations with Soegijapranata Catholic
  • University Semarang and Maranatha Christian University Bandung.


Semarang (hotel name will be announces at the CCIS website, as well as list  of alternative hotels or accomodations/see below)

There will be an OPTIONAL study tour to Lasem on Nov 16 (Saturday). Lasem is a small town in Central Java, believed to be the place where the first Chinese people who came to Java island lived. The town is now nicknamed ‘old China town” and is still preserved traditional
Chinese architecture and tradition. A place worth visiting for those who are interested in the studies of the lives of Chinese Indonesians.


– Phone: +62 (85) 696807247 (Priskila Adiasih) in English/Bahasa Indonesia
+62 (81) 65403318  (Elisa Christiana) in Mandarin/Chinese
– Email:
– Website:

Kirim email ke alamat di atas untuk Call for Papers versi Bahasa Indonesia. Send an email to the above address to request an Bahasa Indonesia version of this Call for Papers.

Descriptions of Conference Papers’ Sub-Themes

a. Chinese-Indonesian Organizations
Chinese organizations, together with Chinese media and Chinese education, are often regarded as one of the three pillars of Chinese community overseas. However, under the Suharto’s oppressive regimes, these pillars were destroyed. The social and political reforms
introduced by subsequent regimes triggered the interest among Chinese Indonesian community to establish their own ethnic organizations. As a result, many Chinese organizations – even Chinese political parties, which are now defunct – have sprung up. The re-emergence of Chinese organizations triggers some questions. What are the impacts of Chinese organizations on Chinese Indonesian community and Indonesian society? How do they contribute to the solutions of the racial problems Chinese Indonesians still have, despite tremendous improvement that the state makes? What role can they play in inspiring Chinese Indonesian to have a meaningful social and political participation? These are some
problems this panel wants to address.

b. Chinese-Indonesian Education
Chinese education in Indonesia could not be separated from the cultural, social, and political factors of Indonesian society. Due to power play in Indonesian politics in late 1960s, Chinese education was banned. The ban was lifted, following the transition from the authoritarian regime to a more democratic one. Since then on, Chinese education has come back to Indonesia. Papers in this panel will examine this new development and the future direction of Chinese education in Indonesia. They will discuss topics, such as problems Chinese education in Indonesia encounters pre-, during and post New Order, the state’s policies towards Chinese language and education in Indonesia, the position of Chinese language as a foreign language and as a heritage language of Chinese Indonesians.

c. Chinese-Indonesian Press
History showed Chinese press played an important roles in the lives of the Chinese in Indonesia. Charles Coppel writes that the spirit of Chinese Indonesian community depends on, among others, Chinese press. The publication of Chinese press obviously needs the state’s tolerance, which the Chinese community did not get. However, the regimes that succeeded the New Order permitted the Chinese community to publish their both Chinese and Indonesian language media. As a result, in major cities in Indonesia, people can find Chinese media. A local Chinese media expert calls this situation “the time when a hundred flowers bloom (baihua qifang).”  This panel tries to examine the existence of Chinese media after being absence for more than thirty years. What roles do Chinese media play in the lives of the Chinese Indonesian community? What are the hurdles they encounter? How do they solve those problems? How relevant are they with the younger generation of Chinese Indonesians? Papers addressing these problems are welcome in this panel.

d. Chinese-Indonesian Diasporic Literature
Besides Chinese press, literature written by Chinese Indonesians also flourishes. Chinese Indonesians are not new in the literary scene in Indonesia. It was the Chinese who pioneered the publication of literary work in Indonesia. Their works, including Cerita-cerita
silat, written in Sino-Malay, were published before the indigenous writers publish their work. However, their role in the literary scene receded. The openness and greater acceptance towards the Chinese spark the interest of Chinese Indonesians to write their literary works both in Chinese and in Indonesian. They also “appear” in the literary works written by writers from other ethnic groups, who feature them in a new and compelling way, not following the representation within the state’s discourse of assimilation. To date, not many researches have been conducted on these literary activities. Papers in this panel will attempt to fill the gap by exploring this new area of research, namely literary works written by Chinese Indonesians, both in Chinese and in Indonesian, as well as, the representation of Chinese ethnicity in Indonesian literary works after the fall of the New Order regime.

e. Chinese-Indonesian Culinary
The social and political reforms in Indonesia have ushered a renewed interest in Chinese Indonesian community. Various aspects of this community receive positive curiosity. One of them is Chinese Indonesian culinary heritage, as proven by the openings of various fine-dining restaurants offering peranakan cuisine. Although there have been some research on the role of Chinese culture on the food technology and culinary arts in Indonesia, this area of research has still a lot aspects to explore. How do China’s food technology and culinary practices influence Indonesian culinary culture? How do Indonesian culinary arts change the foodways of Chinese traditional rituals? What role can Chinese culinary arts play in the Chinese Indonesian identity construction? How are the relationships between peranakan foodways and the awareness of peranakan Chinese identity? These are the examples of some topics that this panel discusses.

f. Chinese-Indonesian Businesses
The end of New Order brought hope to end discriminative policies towards Chinese Indonesians. The political reforms have had impacts on economy as well, including the businesses of Chinese Indonesians. It is interesting to study the changes experienced by Chinese businesses in this reformation era. How does the reform affect Chinese big business or conglomerates who had close ties with President Suharto before 1998? Likewise, how do the medium or small-scale Chinese business thrive nowadays? Are there still any discriminations, whether it is politically, legally or socially? Papers discussing about Chinese family business, business inheritance or startups by younger Chinese generations, or the underlying philosophy in business strategy, such as the concept of guanxi, are also welcomed in this panel. Other topics include the shifting of economic power in the world. How do Chinese Indonesians business relate to China’s rise in economy, and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area?

g. Chinese-Indonesian Arts and Architecture
The long history of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia had brought additional color in Indonesia’s traditional culture. The arts and architecture of Chinese Indonesians, whether it is the  original Chinese culture or the mixture with local culture, are worthy of study and preservation. They are expressions of aesthetics and identity. The tangible heritage such as Chinese architecture, peranakan’s batik and kebaya, Wayang Potehi, Chinese calligraphy, and the intangible heritage such as Chinese lion dance (barongsai) and dragon dance, gambang kromong music, Chinese traditional music, had been handed over from one generation to the next. In this globalization era, how  are these arts preserved? Are there any ways to revitalize them for the interest of younger Chinese generation, in relation with their identity? How is the modification/localization/acculturation of ChineseArchitecture in Indonesia? How about the historical development of Chinese Indonesian architecture? How is the concept of space influenced by Chinese Philosophy? These are examples of the topics this panel wants to explore.