The study of Indonesian men

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Photographer Ivar Pel visits PhD candidate Desi Dwi Prianti at Gender Studies at Drift in the innercity of Utrecht. What does she do over there?

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Who are you and what do you do?
I am a feminist and a mother who also works as a PhD candidate of Gender Studies in the Department of Media and Culture Studies. The word gender does not necessarily means women, my research is focused more on the changing narrative of men and masculinity in Indonesia from the colonial period until contemporary period. As a discourse research in nature, in my research, I have to deal with a variety of corpus study, from president's speech, national law, traditional norms until contemporary text such as men's lifestyle magazine. By doing that I try to uncover the taken for granted knowledge in Indonesia's society for the sake of emancipation.

Where is the work-spot?
The place itself is the stairs in Drift 15. It's a lovely and a very comfortable building for me to work. To some extent, the building also is a reflection of my research. The building was built in 1800 and it shows how history or the past can still survive or be an important site if we take good care of it. As for the magazine in the picture, it is a showcase for the narrative of "what it means of being men" in contemporary Indonesia.

What is interesting about your research?
First of all, there is lack of men's studies, especially for Indonesian men. Men considered as the norm and it is always taken for granted, so there is no need to study them because they are already emancipated which is not entirely true.

Second of all, my research tries to explore how the post-colonialism experience collides with modernization and capitalism in changing a society especially Indonesia. Any society experiences changing, but by knowing the answer of what kind of changing and which kind of changing help us to understand what kind of option do we have. It will help us to turn off our 'automatic pilot' and started to see life from a different perspective. I know it is a rather philosophical matter, but it dealt a lot with how you live your life.

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