This seminar focuses on reading Indonesian texts from a variety of perspectives.  We will develop a set of methods and tools to help us read, analyze and interpret a variety of texts in Indonesian and/or Malay.  We will approach the text as a link between author and audience against the broader social, cultural and political environment.

Language instruction is generally conducted on the notion of legibility and a semblance of transparency.  Yet, ambiguity, concealment, imitative malfunction, and even outright dissemblance are all ingredients involved in the discursive act and contribute to the richness of a language.  Irony, parody and humor often present some of the greatest obstacles to comprehension:  is there a "grammar" of irony (or parody, sarcasm, even humor) that would help us overcome this obstacle?

Readings: we will begin with a selection of essays in contemporary Indonesian including material from journals like Tempo, and the newsmedia (print, online).  We will look at how arguments are formed, what assumptions are made, and discuss local techniques of persuasion and what happens when persuasion begins to break down.