dr. S. (Sadiah) Boonstra

Sadiah BoonstraSadiah Boonstra enrolled in 2008 in the Sites, Bodies and Stories research project as a PhD Candidate at VU University Amsterdam, in the Department of History. Her research focused on intangible heritage, and more specifically on dynamics of heritage formation and performance practices of the wayang puppet theatre in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. She obtained both an MA in History (Leiden University) and in Curatorial studies (University of Amsterdam). Previously, Boonstra worked as a curator and an exhibition maker at the Tropenmuseum, the National Institute in the Netherlands Slavery past and its Heritage, and the National Prison Museum.

PhD research: Performing identity, shaping heritage. Wayang puppet theatre and the dynamics of heritage formation in contemporary Indonesia (2008-2014)

Heritage as a concept is a relatively recent phenomenon, but heritage practices existed long before as people have always tried to give meaning to the past in the present, thereby valuing and using the past. My PhD research entitled 'Changing Wayang Scenes. Dynamics of heritage formation in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia' concerns the dynamics of heritage formation and current wayang performance practices in contemporary Indonesia in relation to the colonial and postcolonial past. It studies the relationship between the creation of heritage in written and museum discourse, the notion of 'intangible cultural heritage', and contemporary performance practice. Drawing on historical research it traces discourses of wayang in academic writings, museum displays, and current UNESCO heritage discourse. This authorized wayang discourse is then contrasted with wayang performance practices of three superstar dalangs, or wayang puppeteers during 14 months of fieldwork in Indonesia.

E-mail: s.n.boonstra@vu.nl