dr. Y.M. (Yatun) Sastramidjaja

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Room number: B 5.05
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15629
    1001 NC  Amsterdam
  • Y.Sastramidjaja@uva.nl
    T: 0655406340

Yatun Sastramidjaja holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, where she also obtained her Master’s in Anthropology. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology and the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (ASW) program at the University of Amsterdam. Previously she held research and teaching positions at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Yatun’s main research interests include youth and student activism, youth cultures and citizenship, urban cultures and place-making, heritage and memory cultures in Indonesia and more broadly Southeast Asia in a transnational context. In her PhD project, titled Playing politics: Power, memory, and agency in the making of the Indonesian student movement (publication forthcoming), she studied how political culture and socialisation, historical memories, and the personal narratives of student activists – as well as the interplay between them – affected the on-stage performances and off-stage dynamics of the student movement during, before, and after the New Order regime. She found that the student movement was significantly shaped by perpetual symbolic battles with the state, but also that the main significance of the student movement was not the political outcomes of these battles but rather the effects of participation on the student activists’ political sense of self and radical community.

In a current follow-up research, titled ‘Dedicated dissidents’, Yatun is examining to what extent the political sensibilities and connections previously established during student movement participation continue to inform the politicised careers and personal lives of this generation of activists at present. Yatun is currently also preparing a comparative research project on youth citizenship and multi-mediated dissent in Southeast Asia, which focuses on recent forms of youth civic dissent occurring at the interface of virtual and material spaces in urban Southeast Asia. The main question addressed is to what extent these novel forms of youth civic dissent destabilise established notions of citizenship, and how regional cultures, conditions, and connections shape the emergent modalities of ‘activist citizenship’ that they represent.

Yatun’s fascination with the cultural politics and political cultures of youth was aroused during her Master’s research on modern youth lifestyles in Indonesia during the final years of the New Order, which resulted in an award-winning thesis, Dromenjagers [Dream Hunters] in Bandung. Her fascination with youth agency also informed her postdoctoral research, at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, on the evolution of Indonesia’s ‘heritagescape’ in the context of globalisation; the final chapter of the resulting book, titled Performance of the past: Politics and practices of heritage in globalising Indonesia (forthcoming), is dedicated to the playful memory practices of youth heritage communities, in which the suppressed memories of the colonial past become a resource for critical awareness in the present. Furthermore, Yatun is a passionate teacher of Youth Cultures in a Transnational Context and other courses highlighting the experiences of youth.

Yatun is also a member of the editorial collective of Inside Indonesia, editorial assistant at American Ethnologist, and Member of the Board of the Antropologenberoepsvereniging (Dutch Anthropological Association).


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (Accepted/In press). From Vanguard to Orphan: Student Movements and Indonesia’s Democratic Transition. In T. Dibley, & M. Ford (Eds.), Activists in Transition: Contentious Politics in the New Indonesia Cornell Southeast Asia Program.
  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (Accepted/In press). Youth “Alienation” and New Radical Politics: Shifting Trajectories in Youth Activism. In M. Lane (Ed.), After Reformasi: Changes in Political and Ideological Contestation ISEAS Press.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2014). "This is Not a Trivialization of the Past": Youthful Re-mediations of Colonial Memory in Jakarta. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 170(4), 443-472. DOI: 10.1163/22134379-17004002 


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2006). Memories of Protest: Students, History, Space, and the Loss of Agency in Post-Suharto Indonesia. In H. Schulte Nordholt, & I. Hoogenboom (Eds.), Indonesian Transitions (pp. 249-287). Leiden: KITLV Press.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2017). Activist Archives: Youth Culture and the Political Past in Indonesia by Doreen Lee (Review). Contemporary Southeast Asia, 39(1), 220-222.
  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2017). In Search of Young Citizens (Review Essay). Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 173(4).


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2011). Virtual identities and the recapturing of place: Heritage play in Old Town Jakarta. In M. Halbertsma, A. van Stipriaan, & P. van Ulzen (Eds.), The Heritage Theatre: Dynamics of Cultural Heritage in a Globalizing World (pp. 189-214). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2002). Indonesian youth and Islamic revival. ISIM Newsletter, 9, 15.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2000). Dromenjagers in Bandung: Twintigers in het Moderne Indonesië. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M., & Naafs, S. (2015). Youth employment prospects and aspirations (Introduction to Special Edition). Inside Indonesia, 120.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2011). Being Indo (Introduction to Special Edition). Inside Indonesia, 103.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2010). Playing with the past. Inside Indonesia, 101.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2001). Sex in the city: Between girl power and the mother image, young urban women struggle for identity. Inside Indonesia, 66.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2000). Internetjeugd in Jakarta. Archipel Asia-Pacific Magazine.


  • Sastramidjaja, Y. M. (2016). Playing politics: Power, memory, and agency in the making of the Indonesian student movement [details] 
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