A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
(Anthropology and History)
in The University of Michigan
In this dissertation, I have attempted to write an ethnography of the experiencing of historical and epistemological uncertainty. In seeking to understand the ways in which historical and social actors accept or construct certain narratives of the past, we may pay insufficient attention to the ways in which these actors experience the past as unknown, up in the air, of uncertain significance. In examining the experiences, practices, and selfpresentations of eks-tapol and anak korban—and the public renderings of the threatening or redemptive figure of the “anak PKI, ” I have sought to understand what actions can be taken, what identities assumed, and what affinities and relationships made in the face of demonstrated inaccessibility of knowledge, or a knowledge that reveals itself circuitously.