First Advisor

Amanda Smith Byron

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors




Conflict management, Peace-building, Political crimes and offenses -- Indonesia, Reconciliation -- Social aspects -- Indonesia, Reconciliation -- Political aspects -- Indonesia, Indonesia -- Politics and government -- History




Truth and Reconciliation processes are key to rebuilding societies damaged by broad-based, government-sanctioned violence by revising dominant cultural narratives of the violence. In Indonesia, there has been no such process following the killings of between 500,000 and 2 million suspected communists in 1965-66. This paper is an exploration of conflict transformation theory, and of what form a truth and reconciliation process might take in Indonesia following 50 years of impunity. Using Joshua Oppenheimer's 2012 and 2014 documentaries The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence as primary reference points, I use critical discourse analysis to look at how the dominant narrative of the killings is upheld and discursively constructed, and at what counter-narratives might be emerging that could give rise to conflict transformation and reconciliation. I ultimately offer an assessment of the readiness to take on such a process, based on analysis of the films and other contextual materials, including journalism and official documents regarding the killings.


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