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Honoring the Lives of Dr. Jeffrey Hadler and Dr. Peter Boomgaard

January 14, 2017

The Southeast Asia Center is sad to report the loss of two prominent Indonesian scholars.  We offer condolences to their families and highlight their academic careers and contribution to Indonesian studies below:

Dr Jeffrey Hadler:

jeff hadler

Jeffrey Hadler, associate professor and chair of the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC – Berkeley, spent his life passionately conducting research in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. His research focused on violence and memory in modern Indonesia as well on specific communities including the Minangkabau and Jewish Indonesians. His work on Minangkabau communities, particularly their matriarchal systems, was awarded with the Harry J Benda Prize from the Association for Asian studies in 2011, only one of many awards and grants he was given in his lifetime. The awarded book, Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism (2008) was later revised and translated into Indonesian with a preface by Taufik Abdullah. From 2000-2001, Hadler was also a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah where he used historical theory and methodology to research anti-minority discourse in colonial and modern Indonesia. Other notable works include his articles “A Historiography of Violence and the Secular State in Indonesia: Tuanku Imam Bondjol and the Uses of History” (2008) and “Translations of Antisemitism: Jews, the Chinese, and Violence in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia” (2004). His work on Indonesian minorities was an important contribution to the research field.

His book: Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia Through Jihad and Colonialism.

Peter Boomgaard:


Peter Boomgaard, emeritus professor of Environmental and Economic History of Southeast Asia at the University of Amsterdam and senior researcher and former director at KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies), was a leading authority on environmental history in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. His book, Southeast Asia: An Environmental History (2006), was the only textbook of its kind on the topic. His other works are examples of his vast interests in the field, from his article “Rice, Sugar, and Livestock in Java, 1820-1940: Geertz’s Agricultural Involution 50 Years On” (2015) to his article “Land Rights and the Environment in the Indonesian Archipelago, 800-1950” (2015). Boomgaard was an ardent researcher who criticized older scholars like the likes of Clifford Geertz for their “Stufentheorie” (“stages theories”) with quantitative data that revealed the opposite. He was a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow in 2013 and a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences and Humanities (NIAS) in 1988, 2000, and 2003/4.

His book: Southeast Asia: An Environmental History