An American in Jakarta – Fieldwork During a Time of Conflict

An American in Jakarta
SWS Member, Rachel Rinaldo writes about her dissertation fieldwork that she later turned into her first book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia. Beginning in fall 2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia, just as she was getting into the flow, the Bali bombing happened and nearly 200 people were killed. It was very disruptive to her fieldwork as the US embassy was telling Americans to leave Indonesia for safety reasons. Rachel chose to stay, but spent about 6 weeks “lying low” until things felt calm enough to return to the research sites. Mainly, that meant spending a lot of time in her apartment and the vicinity. She was able to finish out the year there, though there was another bombing in Jakarta not long before she left. It definitely affected her research in all sorts of ways — she made efforts to keep a fairly low profile as an American, and she was careful about how she traveled around the city and the country. In the end, she did finish the dissertation and turned it into a book and she continues to do fieldwork in Indonesia.
Rachel wrote about those experiences for the Gender & Society blog a few years ago:
Rachel Rinaldo

Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder