For its Vol. 84 no. 1 issue, UNITAS launched a monograph titled “Reappropriating National Discourse: ‘National Allegory’ in The Weaverbirds and The Migratory Birds by YB Mangunwijaya” by Fransiscus Xaverius Siswadi on October 9, 2019 at the Universitas Sanata Dharma (USD), Jogjakarta, Indonesia. The late Fransiscus Xaverius Siswadi was the dean of USD’s Faculty of Humanities. The launch, which took place during the 7th Literary Studies Conference hosted by the USD, was attended by scholars from different countries.
The late YB Mangunwijaya, the author of the novels The Weaverbirds and The Migratory Birds, which were studied by Siswadi, is an important figure in Indonesian letters. He problematized in his writings the issue of Indonesian nationalism, and its intricacies, in the age of globalization. Despite his novel, The Weaverbirds, being translated into English, Mangunwijaya’s fame in the world literary space is overshadowed by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the representative author from Indonesia decreed by the world literary space.
Although Pramoedya’s Buru Quartet also problematizes nationhood and nationalism by providing an alternative history of Indonesia against the official history of Dutch colonialism and Suharto’s New Order, it is Mangunwijaya who continues to provide readers with an alternative discourse through the post-Independence and New Order Indonesia when Indonesia nationhood and nationalism are faced with the onset of globalization. Though the concept of “nation” is powerful in that it can unify, it also has the tendency to exclude others which do not fit the ideology that runs the concept. Mangunwijaya offers insight to this exclusionary tendency of the nation by arguing that the “nation” should not be above the human values of justice, democracy, and humanitarianism.
This monograph is in pursuit of the UNITAS journal’s aim, not only to publish international authors, but also to give platform to studies on important figureheads who deserve to be read and made available to a wider audience through the open access platform of UNITAS.