SPORT AND LEISURE HISTORY SEMINAR 'SURFING'S FINAL FRONTIER: DISCOVERING PARADISE IN SUHARTO'S INDONESIA' Speaker: Dr Scott Laderman (University of Minnesota) This paper will examine American and Australian surfers’ embrace of Indonesian tourism – and their assistance to the Suharto regime in opening up the archipelago to Western travelers – shortly after the violent events of 1965 that brought Suharto to power. Indonesia, which in the 1950s had been a leading Third World proponent of nonalignment in the broader Cold War struggle, became, by the mid- to late-1960s, a staunch American ally in Washington’s ideological competition with China and the Soviet Union. It was in 1965 that Indonesia’s neutralist Sukarno government was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup that culminated in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The C.I.A., in a 1968 study, characterized this carnage as “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.” In the decades that followed, Indonesia stood out as a leading recipient of U.S. military aid and diplomatic support, whether in Jakarta’s brutal and consistent suppression of internal dissent or in its 1975 invasion and genocidal occupation of East Timor. It was also in the late 1960s and early 1970s that Indonesia began to capture the attention of American and Australian surfers who discovered amidst its thousands of islands some of the finest waves in the world. Surfing magazines regularly published features on Indonesian “surfaris” across the archipelago, while filmmakers captured the country’s waves and people in productions ranging from Morning of the Earth (1971), Uluwatu (1976), and Bali High (1981) to Storm Riders (1982) and Tales of the Seven Seas (1981). In such features, whether print or filmic, the nation was represented not as a site of dictatorship and state repression – which was how too many Indonesians experienced life in their country – but, rather, as an exotic paradise with primitive locals who celebrated the American and Australian surfers’ interest in their homeland. Part of a larger book project on surfing, surf culture, and U.S. foreign relations, “Surfing’s Final Frontier” will examine this discursive erasure and surfers’ collaboration with the Suharto regime, illustrating how the touristic impulse that is intrinsic to the sport of surfing has inevitably been imbued with political meaning. Scott Laderman is an assistant professor of history at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. The author of Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory (2009), his work has appeared in several edited collections and in the Pacific Historical Review, the International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, and a number of other publications. Time and Date: 5:15 PM, Monday, 25 October Location: Ecclesiastical History Room, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. All are welcome. For more information, please contact Dion Georgiou, at firstname.lastname@example.org.