Augusta University Professor’s book has been recognized by the Indonesian University – Jaguir

Students on the other side of the world have a new connection with Augusta University, thanks to a book the professor started writing years ago while studying for graduate studies.

Dr. Andrew Josea professor of history at Department of History, Anthropology and Philosophy At Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, he was recently invited to discuss his work with students in Indonesia University of Ireland.

The Floracrats: State-sponsored Science and the Failure of the Enlightenment in Indonesia Explores the history of science in the world’s fourth most populous country. Gus first published the book in 2011. It was later translated into Indonesian and published again in 2014.

“It is one of the very few books on science and politics in Indonesia,” he said.

Jos said the virtual event in August was a student-led initiative, as undergraduate history students from the local chapter of the Indonesian Islamic Students Union at the University of Irlanga reached out to him to set up the discussion.

Joss, who hosted the discussion at night due to the 11-hour time difference, said the students were well prepared and organized. He said the turnout was greater than the students expected.

“To reach an audience that is so far away — it’s a very special experience,” he said.

picture book
Dr. Andrew Goss book,The Floracrats: State-sponsored Science and the Failure of the Enlightenment in Indonesiainto Indonesian. [Rakiyah Lenon/Augusta University]

At the meeting, Gus gave a 30-minute presentation on his work and prominent figures in science in Indonesia to about 60 students.

“They got their teachers involved, too,” he said. “It worked really smoothly. It was a fun way to connect with the readers.”

Airlangga University is the second oldest university in Indonesia. Located in Surabaya, East Java, the institution started as a medical college. It is known as one of the most prestigious universities in the region.

“It’s a very ambitious group of people who run it,” he said.

Joss said he could imagine Augusta University establishing a formal relationship with Erlanga in the future.

“I hope we can do more,” he said. “I think we have a lot in common. There might be an opportunity there.”

Gus became interested in Indonesian studies as an undergraduate at Cornell University in New York. He later began learning the country’s official language, Bahasa Indonesia, in 1993.

According to Gus, he began researching the topics discussed in his book in 1997 at the University of Michigan, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees. He spent some time studying in Indonesia and in 2001 lived in Jakarta, where he did much of the archival research for the book.

Goss said that when he began writing the book as a graduate student, his colleagues often wondered why he decided to write on a lesser-known subject.

“The challenge has always been to explain to my colleagues who have also studied Indonesian history that we should really pay attention to what is happening in the world of science,” he said. “Today there is much greater interest in the history of science in Indonesia, both within Indonesia and abroad.”

As a historian, Goss said the field advances through new research, ideas, and theories, expanding our understanding of the past as well as our present time.

“The past is full of interesting stories,” he said. “You have to explain why it is so important. Today we are making judgments about what we should pay attention to.”

This is not the first time that Gus’ book has been openly discussed in Indonesia. Three years ago, Joss said, Indonesian historians talked about his book in one of the country’s most important history museums. He was not able to attend in person at that time.

“He was very far away, and the only knowledge I had of the discussion was a press report about him,” he said. “The Zoom feature was there at the time, but none of us thought of using it.”

Although Gus has not traveled to Indonesia in 20 years, he continues to be influential, as his book is often referenced in other articles and magazines in the country. As an author, Gus said it is rewarding to read and study his book in a way that is different from a textbook.

“My book is still under discussion, and it continues to resonate, in part because my theory of science continues to attract attention in a way that people find it useful to refer to,” he said.

“It’s good that I can still get so many readers,” he added.

Jos expressed his gratitude to the students of the University of Irlanga for contacting him and showing their interest in their country’s history.

With Indonesian history being a niche area of ​​study among historians in the United States, and even globally, Joss said he wanted to continue the conversation. He has other related projects in the works.

“I can work with students, I can talk to students in a way that was not possible five years ago,” he said. “To have that connection with Indonesians who are more invested in their own history has been so much fun.”

The Floracrats: State-sponsored Science and the Failure of the Enlightenment in Indonesia By Goss Available at Amazon.

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