A public lecture by Geoffrey Robinson (UCLA).
In this lecture, Professor Geoffrey Robinson (UCLA) will discuss his newest book, The Killing Season. The Killing Season examines one of the largest and swiftest instances of mass killing and incarceration in the twentieth century—the shocking anti-leftist purge that gripped Indonesia in 1965–66, leaving some five hundred thousand people dead and more than a million others in detention. Challenging conventional narratives that portray the violence as arising spontaneously from religious, cultural, and social conflicts, the book argues that it was instead the product of a deliberate campaign led by the Indonesian Army. It also details the critical role played by the United States, Britain, and other major powers in facilitating the mass murder and incarceration – and the more than 50 years of silence and inaction that followed. In contrast to prevailing approaches, The Killing Season seeks to locate Indonesia’s experience in a comparative historical framework. In doing so, it engages wider theoretical debates about the logic and legacies of mass killing and incarceration, as well as the histories of human rights, US foreign policy, and the Cold War.
Geoffrey Robinson is a Professor of History at UCLA where he teaches and writes about political violence, genocide, human rights, and mass incarceration. He received his PhD from Cornell University. His major works include: The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali (Cornell, 1995); East Timor 1999: Crimes against Humanity (Elsham & Hak, 2006); “If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die”: How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor (Princeton, 2010); and most recently, The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66 (Princeton University Press, 2018). Before coming to UCLA, Robinson worked for six years at Amnesty International’s Research Department in London, and in 1999 he served as a Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations in Dili, East Timor. He is currently co-editing a book of photographs and images related to the mass violence of 1965-66 in Indonesia.