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Norman Joshua, Ph.D.

  • Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow on Contemporary Asia, 2023-2024


Norman Joshua is a Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow on Contemporary Asia for the 2023-24 academic year. He obtained his Ph.D. in History fom Northwestern University. His research interests revolve around the histories of authoritarianism, civil-military relations, and economic history in Southeast Asia and East Asia. He is particularly interested in the relationship between historical experiences and the emergence or consolidation of authoritarian governance.

Norman’s dissertation and book project, “Fashioning Authoritarianism: Militarization in Indonesia, 1930-1965,” asks why and how the Indonesian military intervened in non-military affairs before the rise of the New Order regime (1965-1998). Using newly obtained legal and military sources based in Indonesia and the Netherlands, the project argues that the military gradually intervened in the state and society through the deployment of particular policies that were shaped by emergency powers and counterinsurgency theory, which in turn ultimately justified their continuous participation in non-military affairs.

His research highlights the role of social insecurity, legal discourses, and military ideology in studying authoritarianism, while also emphasizing the significance of understanding how durable military regimes legitimize their rule through non-coercive means.

Norman’s other works study revolutionary politics, counterinsurgency, military professionalism, intelligence history, and the political economy of petroleum in Indonesia. His first monograph, Pesindo, Pemuda Sosialis Indonesia 1945-1950 (2015, in Indonesian) examines the politics of youth groups in early revolutionary Indonesia (1945-1949).

At APARC, Norman is developing his dissertation into a book manuscript that transcends the boundaries of his initial study. By broadening the scope of his research, he aims to trace the historical and social contexts upon which military authoritarian regimes legitimize their rule through non-coercive mechanisms, thereby enriching our understanding of the long-term effects of colonialism, war, and revolution on societal norms, values, power structures, and institutions

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Norman Joshua

Postdoc Perspective: Norman Joshua

Norman Joshua, APARC’s Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow on Contemporary Asia for the 2023-24 academic year, reflects on his work and career path.
cover link Postdoc Perspective: Norman Joshua