In 2022, UCLA graduate students continued to conduct their research projects sponsored by the Indonesian Studies Small Grants under CSEAS.

Onny Marawayana
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Although a major focus of biodiversity studies in Indonesia have been fishes and the biodiversity in shallow coral reefs, little is known about fishes that live deeper on the reef, particularly in the mesophotic zone. In this study, we focus on 3 main research questions whether (1) the Indonesian coelacanths can be effectively detected using environmental DNA method, (2) patterns of the mesophotic fish biodiversity parallels to the diversity of shallow water reef fishes, and (3) mesophotic fishes displays similar phylogeographic patterns to shallow water marine species, particularly population differentiation across the Maluku Sea. To address the research questions, in Summer 2022 supported by this grant, we successfully collected eDNA samples, in duplicate, from 7 sampling sites in a coastal area of East Waigeo district, Raja Ampat, West Papua. 

Glenn Maur

With the generous support of the Indonesian Studies Grant, I was able to begin work on an article tentatively titled "Kapten Mar and the Early Years of Indonesian Superhero Comics, 1954-1972." My work seeks to explore reimaginings of American superhero comics written and drawn by Indonesian artists both as Cold War media and as a product of Indonesia's unique positioning in global politics. The rise of western-inflicted comics in Indonesia overlaps with the Bandung Conference in 1955, the 1965 coup, the fall of President Sukarno in 1968, and the establishment of the Orde Baru under the anti-communist regime of Suharto. Although almost entirely unknown to Western scholars, these comics provide a nitherto untapped archive for understanding Indonesian popular culture during one of the most consequential eras in the history of the country. 

Kun Xian Shen
Asian Langauges & Cultures

The Indonesian Studies Small Grant for Summer 2022 enabled me to enroll in the third-year Indonesian language class at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the prestigious educational program for Southeast Asian languages where many like-minded students gather to study. While my doctoral research does not comprise many Indonesian-language materials, I find the study of the language to be rewarding for the historical and contemporary worldviews that it opens up. Such training allowed me to progress from a "medium-medium" level to an "advanced-low" level as determined by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) exams, a significant improvement acknowledged by the instructors and the program. I hope to continue to learn the language along my research career, and to use it one day in my fieldwork if my research brings me to an Indonesian community. 

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Published: Monday, October 11, 2021