Susan Rogers interviewed Gerdy Ungerer

Gerdie and Daniel Ungerer

Meity and Daniel Ungerer

In 2004 Susan Rogers, Ph.D. in anthropology who has made studies and explored issues of state power and indigenous arts on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, met with Gerdy (Meity) Ungerer and interviewed her about her life history as a Eurasian. Today she is a Californian, but born in 1928 to Eurasian parents in a West Sumatran coal mining town called Sawahlunto. She describes her very secured years that got severely disrupted by the Japanese invasion during World War 2 in Bangkinang, a harsh Japanese concentration camp with other Dutch-Indies of Sawahlunto.

Read her article.

Susan Rodgers received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1978, after conducting two and a half years of fieldwork in Sumatra on issues of ethnic identity construction, ritual oratory, indigenous print literatures, and minority/state relations. She taught at Ohio University from 1978 to 1989, when she came to Holy Cross to help found an anthropology program. She has returned to Indonesia numerous times, to explore issues of state power and indigenous arts. Translating modern print literature from the two languages she uses in fieldwork (Indonesian and Angkola Batak) is a special interest. Her articles on art and power issues have appeared in such journals as American Ethnologist, Indonesia, and Journal of Asian Studies. Professor Rodgers teaches courses on genders and sexualities, art and power in Asia, fieldwork methods, and “The Imagined Body”.