Charles Coppel, born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1937. Ph.D. from Monash University, Melbourne. Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Melbourne.
Fellow (1 September 1995 – 30 June 1996)
I had two main goals for my NIAS year. The first was to write an article questioning the validity of J.S. Furnivall’s ‘plural society’ model and exploring the applicability of a ‘mestizo society’ model. This was completed and has been accepted for publication in 1997. The second was to write a book Colloquial Malay Histories, a genre of Malay-language stories set in Java which contain in their title a formulaic element such as `this story really happened’ in some named location. Although I made less progress in this than I ambitiously hoped, it was a productive as well as enjoyable year. The superb service provided by the NIAS library staff enabled me to read extensively in the secondary literature about Indonesian, Malay and Indian literature, and to read and think about narrative, whether factual or fictitious. In addition, I wrote or completed three other articles which are to be published within the next year, and prepared a conference paper. I gave lectures and seminars for several universities in the Netherlands, and profited greatly from discussions with colleagues there and at NIAS itself. The intellectual companionship across disciplines and fields of study which is so characteristic of NIAS embodies the universality of learning and scholarship which one should expect, but so rarely finds, in a modern university.