Prof. Dra. M. A. Yunita Triwardani W, M.S., M.Sc. PhD.

Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Politik


I was born in Malang, East Java on June 1, 1950 and spent my primary and secondary education there. I went to the Catholic school of St. Mary II for the primary and junior high schools, and spent the first two years of my senior high school at the Catholic school of St. Mary in Malang. I loved arts, especially dancing, during my youth. I also enjoyed being active in various youth and social organizations, including scout and students’ organization. Being highly motivated to pursue my activities in arts and social life, I decided to join the ‘cultural’ stream rather than the ‘science’ stream during my senior high school. In 1967, at the time I was at the final year of senior high school, my family moved to Bandung, so I completed my senior high school at a Catholic school in Bandung (St. Angela).


From 1969—1972 I was a student at the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Letters, PadjadjaranUniversity, Bandung. During my undergraduate study, I did a part-time job as a typist at the ResearchCenter on Housing, Bandung. My Bachelor’s thesis was on the “social-cultural consequences of mixed-marriages between the Indonesian Chinese and local people in Desa Neglasari, Tangerang” (Akibat-akibat social budaja dari perkawinan tjampuran antara masyarakat Indonesia keturunan Tjina dengan penduduk asli di Desa Neglasari, Tangerang).


Due to my marriage in 1972, I moved to Jakarta and became a student at the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Letters, University of Indonesia, Jakarta. Joining my husband, who pursued his Master degree in Business Management in Manila, the Philippines in 1972—1974, I decided to take a non-degree program at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Graduate School of Arts, Ateneo de Manila University, while also taking a cross-enrolled course at the Department of Anthropology, University of the Philippines in Manila (1973—74). Throughout my study, I managed to do my work as a teacher at the Junior and Senior High School of Indonesia Manila organized by the Embassy of Indonesia in Manila. I taught several courses, e.g. Civics, Geography, Anthropology, and Deutch. Returning to Indonesia in 1974, I pursued my study at the University of Indonesia and after having two children, completed my First Degree (Sarjana Strata 1/Sarjana Sastra) in 1980. My thesis was on the “capital formation in small-scale wood enterprises in Pondok Pinang: an anthropological analysis” (Pembentukan modal pada usaha kerajinan kayu di Pondok Pinang: suatu analisa antropologis).


Since my husband was moved to Medan, North Sumatera in 1980 to take a position as a consultant in a “rent-to-manage” program at a plywood company, I joined him moving to Medan. The Dean of the Faculty of Letters, University of North Sumatera offered me a position as a permanent staff to help developing the Department of Anthropology with its first batch of students. In two years time (1980—82) I was struggling of not only delivering lectures, but also of sustaining while improving the department with only myself as an anthropologist among other scholars (history & sociology). It was fortunate that the late Prof. Koentjaraningrat helped me recruiting scholars from the Department of Anthropology at the State Institute of Education in Medan as visiting lecturers and inviting anthropologists from the University of Indonesia and himself to spend times delivering lectures while visiting North Sumatera. Gradually, Prof. Koentjaraningrat was able to recruit some University of Indonesia young alumni to be permanent staff while also sending some University of North Sumatera students and staff to take courses at the University of Indonesia. In 1981—1982, I took the position as the Secretary to the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Letters in that university while also organizing a research among the people surrounding Raja Garuda Mas company in Besitang, Langsat supported by the company. I returned to Jakarta in mid 1982 following my husband who had to prepare his Ph.D. study abroad.


As soon as I moved to be a permanent staff at the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Letters, University of Indonesia in 1982, I spent the first two years pursuing my Magister Study by specializing in Human Ecology at the Graduate Program of Anthropology at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Indonesia. I wrote my thesis under the supervision of Prof. Andrew P. Vayda, a human ecologist from RutgersUniversity on: “the planning and consequences of development project: the case of dam development project and drawdown area in Wonogiri Dam” (Perencanaan dan konsekuensinya dalam proyek pembangunan: kasus proyek bendungan dan kawasan surutan pada Bendung Wonogiri). Soon after completing my degree in 1984, I went to London joining my husband there and took a course on Master of Science in Environmental Technology at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine in London, UK supported by the Ford Foundation. I was specializing in Ecological Management option for my master degree. My master thesis under the supervision of Prof. Gordon R. Conway was on: “An ecological analysis on the consequences of development projects: a case of the drawdown area in dam development projects in third world countries”.


From 1986 to 1991, I did my work in teaching at the undergraduate and master degree courses of the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia in Depok; and carrying out some research projects with the Small-scale research division of the Inter-universityCenter in Social Sciences at the University of Indonesia. In 1990 I began my doctoral research and took my Ph.D. program at the Department of Anthropology, Research School of Asia Pacific Studies, the AustralianNationalUniversity in Canberra, Australia with the grant from the Equity and Merit Scholarship Scheme, the Australian Agency for International Development. My Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of Prof. James J. Fox was on: “Seeds of knowledge: the consequences of integrated pest management schooling on a rice farming community in West Java.” I submitted my Ph.D. thesis in 1996 and got my degree in 1997.


Upon my return to the University of Indonesia, I took some positions as: the Vice-editor and then, the Editor-in-chief of the Journal Antropologi Indonesia (1998—2003), the member of the Academic Senate at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (2000—2003), and the Academic Senate at the University of Indonesia in 2001—2003). Throughout 1999—2002 I organized national and international symposia of the Journal Antropologi Indonesia in Jakarta, Makassar, Padang, and Bali. In 2002 I spent one month as a visiting fellow at the Southeast Asia Study Program, National University of Singapore. In 2003—05 I received research grant from SEASREP, The Toyota Foundation to carry out my research in several countries in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia). Within that period, I spent 6 months as a Research Fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Japan in 2003--04; one year (two semesters) as a Visiting Professor at the Southeast Asia Master Program, International Area Studies, Pukyong National University, Busan, South Korea in 2004; and 3 months as a Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore in 2005.


In 2006 I was appointed as the Academy Professorship Indonesia in Social Sciences and Humanities by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in collaboration with the IndonesianAcademy of Sciences (AIPI) with GadjahMadaUniversity as the host university. I took up that position in the first three-year term from 2006—09 and was placed at the Graduate School of Gadjah Mada University. I organized an interdisciplinary course for the graduate students on “Agency, Knowledge, and Nature”, and carried out my research in Indramayu, West Java (in collaboration with the Undergraduate Program, Department of Anthropology, FISIP, University of Indonesia), and in two places in Yogyakarta (in collaboration with the Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University).


The research activities and themes in Indramayu focused on:

-         The collaborative film production (visual anthropology) on farmers’ self-help in plant-breeding and its dissemination to farmers, scholars, and regency authority (2006—07);

-         the dialectics between scientific and local knowledge of plant-breeding; the rediscovery of local genetic resources and knowledge; the development of farmers’ documentation capability in plant-breeding (2006—09); and

-         the farmers’ responses toward climate change (2009—12).


The research activities and themes in Yogyakarta (Wareng, Wonosari and Nglahar, Sleman) focused on:

-         The “Changing family” among the Javanese following women’s empowerment (2006—07);

-         the collaborative film production on women’s self-help collective activities and the issues of socio-preneurship (2007—08);

-         the dialectics between scientific and local knowledge of climate change and  farmers’ responses toward climate change (2007—09); and

-         the individual creativity and collective action in organic fertilizer production (2007—08).


Besides teaching and research, I organized various academic activities such as visiting open lectures in both GadjahMadaUniversity and other universities in the region, seminars and workshop, international conference for graduate students, and workshops on improving academic skills and writing for students and faculty staff. After an evaluation by KNAW-AIPI at the end of my first three-year term in 2009, I was granted an extension for the next two-year term of the Academy Professorship Indonesia Program at the University of Indonesia as the host-university to accomplish my work in research and publication. In line with my works in social sciences and humanities, I was placed at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia. From early September 2009 until end of August 2011 I will concentrate my academic works in research, publication, and organizing seminars in order to achieve the Academy’s mission in improving the academic culture among social science and humanities scholars in Indonesia.


At last, on June 24, 2009, I was inaugurated as a full professor in anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Indonesia following the decree of my professorship by the Ministry of National Education in December 2008.