Welcome to Perspectives on the Past. We’re a research and reading group within the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) at the University of Sydney, focused on new perspectives on the Southeast Asian past. Our disciplinary backgrounds are diverse: archaeology, history, oral history, heritage, performance studies, philology, art history and museology.

As editors of the Perspectives on the Past section of New Mandala, we aim to bring challenging and insightful reflections on the Southeast Asia past to our readers. You can read more about who we are and what we do here, and you can also join in the activity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’d also love to read your submissions! Email us at [email protected].

Breaking the Colonial Hypnosis: Radical Physicians and Medical Nationalism in the Dutch East Indies

Hans Pols proposes a new perspective on the history of colonial medicine from the viewpoint of indigenous physicians. The Indonesian medical profession in the Dutch East Indies actively participated in political affairs by joining and leading nationalist associations, by publishing in newspapers and magazines, and by becoming members of city councils and the colonial parliament.

Our Editors' Blog

Indonesia: The Years of Building Dangerously

A forgotten cultural frontier reveals Indonesia's version of mid-century modernism

Beyond Indonesianness in Indonesian Contemporary Art

Contemporary art can reveal insights into the friction between cosmopolitanism and tradition in Indonesia

The teka-teki of Indonesian

The second in a series of articles by veteran journalist Frank Palmos, reflecting on his time living and working in Indonesia in the early 1960s.