Hefner Discusses Indonesia’s Democracy During “Unfinished Indonesia” Screening

On January 26, 2022, Robert HefnerProfessor of Anthropology and of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, joined Ahmet Kuru, professor of political science at San Diego State University (SDSU), for a screening of Unfinished Indonesia and lecture on Indonesia’s democracy hosted by the Center for Islamic and Arab Studies at SDSU.  

Unfinished Indonesia – co-produced by Hefner and Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir – explores Indonesia’s democracy and how, despite continued contention from religious nationalists, the core of the country’s system has held over the years. In his introduction to the film, Hefner discussed Indonesia’s transition to democracy, how it stands alone as the only Muslim majority country to make a successful transition to democracy, and forces that threaten that democracy.

After the film presentation, Bagir gave an update on developments in Indonesia over the last year. He emphasized that although majoritarian currents still remain active, Indonesia’s legacy of inclusive citizenship has held its own, offering an unfinished but still hopeful beacon for the Muslim world – and for countries in the democratic west experiencing their own exclusivist challenges.

A recording of the lecture can be viewed below. Unfinished Indonesia is part of the “Indonesian Pluralities” film series. Details on the film and series as a whole are available online.

Robert Hefner has directed 19 research projects and organized 18 international conferences, and authored or edited nineteen books. He is the former president of the Association for Asian Studies. At CURA, he directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary research and public policy programs on religion, pluralism, and world affairs; and is currently involved in two research projects: “The New Western Plurality and Civic Coexistence: Muslims, Catholics, and Secularists in North America and Western Europe”; and “Sharia Transitions: Islamic Law and Ethical Plurality in the Contemporary World.” Read more about Professor Hefner on his faculty profile