Behind the Postcolonial

Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia

By Abidin Kusno

© 2000 – Routledge

266 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415236157
pub: 2000-07-20
US Dollars$69.95
Hardback: 9780415236140
pub: 2000-07-20
US Dollars$165.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

In Behind the Postcolonial Abidin Kusno shows how colonial representations have been revived and rearticulated in postcolonial Indonesia. The book shows how architecture and urban space can be seen, both historically and theoretically, as representations of political and cultural tendencies that characterize an emerging as well as a declining social order. It addresses the complex interactions between public memories of the present and past, between images of global urban cultures and the concrete historical meanings of the local. It shows how one might write a political history of postcolonial architecture and urban space that recognizes the political cultures of the present without neglecting the importance of the colonial past. In the process, it poses serious questions for the analysis and understanding of postcolonial states.


'A rich and detailed analysis of Indonesian politician cultures and their inscription and shaping in urban space. Yet, without its theoretical base, elaborating the politics of architecture and urban space, this important book could not have been written this way, perhaps it could not have been written at all.' Journal of Southeast Asian Studies

'Unquestionably the most provocative assessment of architecture and urban design in Indonesia since Independence.' - Planning Perspectives

'Kusno has the merit of linking more traditional kinds of architectural and urban studies to one of the more pressing social and political issues of the day … This is an illuminating work.' - Journal of Urban History

Table of Contents

List of Figures. Preface. Acknowledgements. Part One: Architecture 1.Origins Revisited. 2.Modern Architecture and Traditional Policy. 3.Recreating Origins. Part Two: Urban Space 4.The Violence of Categories. 5.Colonial Replica. 6.Custodians of (Trans)nationality. Part Three: (Trans)national Imaginings 7.Professional and National Dreams. 8.Spectre of Comparisons. Conclusion. Notes. References. Index.

About the Series


The Architext series brings together recent debates in social and cultural theory and the study and practice of architecture and urban design. Critical, comparative and interdisciplinary, the books in the series will, by theorizing architecture, bring the space of the built environment centrally into the social sciences and humanities, as well as bringing the theoretical insights of the latter into the discourse of architecture and urban design. Particular attention will be paid to issues of gender, race, sexuality and the body, to questions of identity and place, to cultural politics of representation and language, and to the global and postcolonial contexts in which these are addressed.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Study & Teaching