Yatun Sastramidjaja is Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, where she also obtained her PhD and Master’s degrees in Anthropology. Previously she held research and teaching positions at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Yatun’s main research interests include youth and student activism, political culture, democratisation, citizenship, popular cultures, heritage and memory, and digital cultures and politics in Indonesia, and more broadly Southeast Asia, in a transnational context. Her current research focuses on two related topics: 1) youth activism in Southeast Asia, in relation to local histories of student protest and contemporary digital cultures of protest; and 2) the ambivalent relationship between digital technologies and fragile democracy processes in Southeast Asia. She investigates these topics in a number of ongoing research projects. The first, on “Viral Citizenship: Digitised Youth Activism and Reconfigurations of Democratic Citizenship in Southeast Asia,” explores the rhizomatic evolution and multi-mediated ecology of youth activism in Southeast Asia. This research was supported by a visiting fellowship at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore; a larger grant application for comparative research on this topic is underway. The second project (with Ward Berenschot, Wijayanto and Ismail Fahmi), on “Cyber Troops and Public Opinion Manipulation: A Mixed-Method Study of Social Media Propaganda in Indonesia”, was supported by the Anticipation Grant Indonesia-The Netherlands from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences / KNAW. The third project (with Julienne Weegels and Luisa Gonzalez Valencia), titled "P(R)OTESTAS: The Politics and Aesthetics of Digital Authoritarianism and Protest in the Global South," was a collaborative cross-regional research that examines the tension between digital democratisation and securitisation in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and seeks to analyse how the sociotechnological affordances of the digital sphere inflect the politics and aesthetics of authoritarianism and protest in specific political conditions in the Global South; this research was funded by a Global Digital Cultures grant from the University of Amsterdam. Currently, Yatun is co-coordinator (with Ward Berenschot) of a collaborative project on "Cyber Troops and Computational Propaganda in Southeast Asia: A Comparative Study of Public Opinion Manipulation", funded by a KNAW Insitutes Research Grant.
Yatun has authored several articles and book chapters based on her previous and current research. An edited volume, titled Between #Activism and @uthoritarianism: Digital Technologies and Democracy in Southeast Asia (Singapore: ISEAS Publishing), and a monograph, titled Playing Politics: Power, Memory and Agency in the Making of the Indoensian Student Movement (Leiden: Brill), are forthcoming.