Cornell expert on Indonesia dies during visit to Java

JAKARTA • An expert on Indonesia from Cornell University in the United States has died during a visit to the island of Java, his adopted son said yesterday.

Dr Benedict Anderson died on Saturday at a hotel in Malang, East Java. He was 79.

His remains will be cremated tomorrow in Surabaya and his ashes scattered in the Java Sea.

"He told me last week that he was planning to visit several nostalgic places in East Java," said Mr Wahyu Yudistira, Dr Anderson's adopted son.

Dr Anderson usually made annual visits to South-east Asian countries, including Indonesia, during winter in the US, to lecture and travel. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in classics from Cambridge University and a PhD from Cornell's department of government, where he studied modern Indonesia under the guidance of American political scientist George Kahin.

During his life, Dr Anderson's works became reference material for scholars and students in Indonesia, such as Java In A Time Of Revolution, Debating World Literature and Language And Power: Exploring Political Cultures In Indonesia.

He was once banned from entering Indonesia for his analysis and critical views of the government of then Indonesian President Suharto. Dr Anderson was able to return to Indonesia only after Mr Suharto fell from power in 1998.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'Cornell expert on Indonesia dies during visit to Java'. Print Edition | Subscribe