Mediating Asia| Enlightenment and the Revolutionary Press in Colonial Indonesia

Rianne Subijanto


In the historiography of Indonesian nationalism and the press, much has been made of the vernacular press and its role in the emergence of national consciousness. However, this work has not typically distinguished between the vernacular press and the self-identified “revolutionary press,” which emerged during the early communist movement of 1920–1926. This article recovers the tradition of the revolutionary press and situates it in the history of Indonesian national struggles by examining the production and development of the revolutionary newspaper Sinar Hindia. An investigation of the paper’s content, production, and distribution practices reveals how Sinar Hindia not only embodied the anticolonial national struggle but also became a voice for a project of enlightenment in the colony. By uncovering this “revolutionary” paper’s own discourses of enlightenment and revolutionary struggle, this study sheds light on the role of the press in the production of enlightenment ideas and practices in colonial Indonesia.


revolutionary press, enlightenment project, Indonesia, communism, social movements, communication history

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