Strassler Publications
StrasslerKaren Strassler
Ph.D, University of Michigan 2003

Professor, Department of Anthropology, Queens College-CUNY                                   

Office: Powdermaker Hall 315P
Phone: (718) 997-2859
Fax: (718) 997-2885

Research Interests

My research interests include images and visual culture, media and mediation, memory and violence, specifically in Indonesia. I recently completed Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation and Image-Event in Indonesia (Duke University Press, 2020), a book on the work of images in Indonesia’s post-authoritarian public sphere. I look at range of images—from political campaign stickers, to street art, to documentary photography, to contemporary art work, to youtube videos and selfies—that circulate in public giving form to people’s imaginings of Indonesia’s troubled past, its democratic transition, and its uncertain and contested future. My first book, Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java (Duke University Press, 2010) examined the role of popular photography in the making of national subjects and postcolonial Java. A current project explores visuality, violence, and the ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia. I am interested in how contemporary artists are giving visual form to memories that have been otherwise excluded from public discourse and official historical narratives. I teach at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Selected Publications

Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event in Indonesia, Duke University Press, 2020.

"Zones of Refuge: Excavating Memories of Violence in the Work of FX Harsono," History of the Present, Vol 8 (2), Fall 2018: 177-208.

“Beyond the ‘Savage Slot’: Ethnography and the National Identity Photograph,” in Photography, History, Difference, edited by Tanya Sheehan, Dartmouth University Press, 2015. 

“Modeling Modernity: Photography, Ethnic Chinese, and the Ethical Gaze,” in Photography, Modernity and the Governed in Late-Colonial Indonesia, edited by Susie Protschky. Amsterdam University Press, 2015.

“Seeing the Unseen in Indonesia’s Public Sphere: Photographic Appearances of a Spirit Queen” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 56(1), January 2014: 1-33.

Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java, Duke University Press, 2010.

Courses Taught:
  • Intro to Cultural Anthropology (101)
  • Essentials of Cultural Anthropology (201) 
  • Peoples of Southeast Asia (208)
  • Photography and the Visual World
  • Cultures of Commemoration: The Anthropology of Memory
  • Anthropology of Violence
  • Anthropology of Media
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