Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Spatial and Demographic Aspects of the Anti-Communist Killings of 1965-66 in Central Java, Indonesia

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Mahogany, First Floor

The killings of 1965-66 constituted the most violent political event in independent Indonesia, with a consensus estimate of approximately 500,000 deaths. The aim of this paper is to provide, for the first time, a systematic characterization of the killings of 1965–66 in Central Java, one of the four provinces that bore the brunt of the violence. Applying demographic methods to data from the Indonesian censuses preceding and after the killings, estimates of population loss for the various regencies (kabupaten) and districts (kecamatan) are computed. Next, these estimates are compared with existing accounts on the killings, which have hitherto relied exclusively on the anecdotal material, with the intention of complementing this already-rich literature. While some findings align with prior research, others provide a new perspective on this tumultuous period in Central Java, thereby contributing to and indicating areas for further research. Examples of new findings include evidence of systematic migration during the time of the killings, which appear as unexpected one-time increases in population in some areas of the province, as well as geographic contrasts in the severity of population effects between northern and southern areas and rural and urban areas. The findings on Central Java are also compared with findings from a similar analysis of the neighboring province of East Java, showing contrasts in the association between the local political milieus in the two provinces and the severity of population loss.

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4 - Spatial and Demographic Aspects of the Anti-Communist Killings of 1965-66 in Central Java, Indonesia



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