Speaker: Dr. Taomo Zhou (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
This presentation traces an Indonesian woman activist’s life trajectory through different parts of the decolonizing world as a diplomat, a political exile and an asylum seeker. Francisca Fanggidaej (1925–2013) [pictured] was a left-wing intellectual and a member of the Indonesian Parliament. She was an activist in the Afro-Asian movements and a mother of seven children. She became a communist exile in China after the mass violence and regime change in Indonesia in 1965–1966 and endured a two-decade separation from her family. Based on a close reading of Fanggidaej’s dairy entries across four decades and more than 180 personal letters, this talk interweaves the public and private lives of Fanggidaej, thereby connecting the history of Third World internationalism to a global history of motherhood. It shows that the decline of Third World internationalism signalled not only a missed opportunity to reframe global geopolitics but also a lost moment to reimagine motherhood and restructure women’s relations with family and work.
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