StrasslerKaren StrasslerStrassler Book
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 am currently completing 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 (Duke University Press, 2010) examined the role of popular photography in the making of national subjects and postcolonial Java. A recent project explored the transformation of a powerful Javanese spirit queen into a national icon featured in modern paintings, film, and popular art.  I am beginning work on a new project on memories of violence against the ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia. I am interested in how contemporary artists are giving visual form to memories that have been excluded from public discourse and official by mining overlooked material artifacts of violence. I teach at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Selected Publications

“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, Objects/Histories series April 2010.

"The Face of Money: Crisis, Currency, and Remediation in Post-Suharto Indonesia" Cultural Anthropology 24(1), February 2009.

"Cosmopolitan Visions: Ethnic Chinese and the Photographic Envisioning of Indonesia in the 1950s" The Journal of Asian Studies, 67, May 2008: 395-432.

"Reformasi Through Our Eyes: Children as Witnesses of History in Post-Suharto Indonesia," in Visual Anthropology Review, 22(2), September 2006: 53-70.

"Material Witnesses: Photographs and the Making of Reformasi Memory," in Mary Zurbuchen, ed. Beginning to Remember: The Past in Indonesia’s Present. University of Washington and Singapore National University Press, 2005.

 “Gendered Visibilities and the Dream of Transparency: The Chinese Indonesian Rape Debate in Post-Suharto Indonesia,” Gender and History, 16(4) 2004:  689-725.

"Currency and Fingerprints: Authentic Reproductions and Political Communication in Indonesia’s ‘Reform Era,’" Indonesia 70 (October 2000).

"Castings for the Colonial: Memory Work in New Order Java," co-authored with Ann Laura Stoler, Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 42, No. 1 (January 2000).


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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