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Indonesian Literature


Admission requirements

Succesful completion of Indonesian 4. Please contact [Dr. Suryadi ](mailto:Suryadi, S. (Surya) )if you are interested in taking this course, but do NOT fulfill the abovementioned requirement.


This course introduces students to modern Indonesian literature. The course will cover modern Indonesian literary texts from different genres which cover socio-cultural and political contexts of late colonial and post-independence Indonesia.
Class discussion will mainly focus on reading and translating of texts, and their textual analysis from sociology of literature perspective using secondary and theoretical readings. The teaching material consists of selected texts in Indonesian (short stories, sections from drama scripts, sections from novels and dime novels, travelogues, poems, cultural essays, etc.) together with chosen secondary and theoretical readings. The students will also be introduced to history of Indonesian literary traditions.

Course objectives

By the end of the course:

  • Students will be familiar with advanced Indonesian written texts in literary field.

  • Students will be comprehended the history of Indonesian literature.

  • Students will be familiar with major themes, genres, and important authors in Indonesian literature in late colonial and post-independence Indonesia.

  • Students will gain a better insight of using tools of literary interpretation and textual analysis in order to understand the underlying socio-cultural and political context of late colonial and contemporary Indonesian society.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (One two hour tutorial every week.)

Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Being absent will result in a lowering of the In-class performance & participation grade with 0.5 for every absence after the first five (2) times.

Assessment method


Assessment consists of following components:

  • Attendance, class preparation and participation: 10% of final grade

  • Weekly assignments: 10%

  • A mid-term essay (interpretation of an Indonesian short story or poem prepared at home by student and to be uploaded by Turnitin on Brightspace: 30%

  • A final paper 3000-4000 words, exluding references (assessment of text and critical analyses prepared at home by student and to be uploaded by Turnitin on Brightspace): 50%
    In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of “5.50” (=6) or higher.


The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.


If you fail this course, you can resubmit an improved version of your final paper (60% of the final grade). In case of resubmission of this paper (insufficient final grade only). The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the paper.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Fery, Paul H. 2012. Theory of Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press.

  • Hall, John A. 1979. The sociology of literature. London [etc.]: Longman.

  • Varga, Károly. 2019. “The sociological approach of literature”, in: Lajos Nyiro (ed.), Literature and its interpretation , pp. 231-302. Berlin; Boston: The Gruyter Mouton [e-book version]

  • Teeuw, A. 1979. Modern Indonesian literature. The Hague: Nijhoff (2 vols.)

  • Foulcher, Keith. 1980. Pujangga Baru: literature and nationalism in Indonesia, 1933-1942. [Bedford Park, South Australia: Flinders University].

  • Foulcher, Keith. 1968. ‘Manifest kebudayaan’: the struggle for cultural and intellectual freedom and its relation to modern Indonesian poetry. Sydney: Department of Indonesia & Malayan Studies, University of Sydney.

  • Foulcher, Keith. 1982. Social commitment in literature and the arts: the Indonesia ‘Institute of People’s Culture’ 1950-1965. Clayton: Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University.

  • Hellwig, Tineke. 1994. In the shadow of change: of women in Indonesian literature. Berkeley, Califonia: Centers for South and Southeast Asia Studies, University of California at Berkeley.

  • Foulcher, Keith and Tony Day. 2002. Clearing a space: postcolonial readings of modern Indonesian literature. Leiden: KITLV Press.

  • Bodden, Michael H. 2010. Resistance on the national stage: theater and politics in late New Order Indonesia. Athens: Ohio University Press.

  • Danerek, Stefan. 2005. The short story genre in Indonesia: post new order literature. Lund: Department of East Asian Languages, Lund University.

  • Danerek, Stefan. 2013. “Cerpen koran: its canon and counter-world”, Indonesia and the Malay World 41 (121): 418-438.

  • Suryadi. 2019. “Roman Medan: the nature and socio-political context of a corpus in Sumatran popular literature, 1930s-1960s”, Malay Literature 32(2): 207-238.

The selected Indonesian literary texts (short stories, novels, poems, etc.) to be read are revealed in syllabus.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


Registration Contractonderwijs.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


For this course attendance and participation is essential. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment.

This course uses integrated communicative language learning method. Therefore, active participation in the classroom activities is essential for successful learning outcomes.