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Guest Lecture with Discussion: Tsunami Sites as Positive Image-Makers in Banda Aceh City, Indonesia

May 17, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

AIS in cooperation with the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna invites you to a Guest Lecture with Discussion

“Tsunami Sites as Positive Image-Makers in Banda Aceh City, Indonesia” by Almonika Cindy Fatika Sari (Gadjah Mada University)

Date: Tuesday, 17 May 2022, 17:00 / 5pm CEST
Place: Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna
Universitätsstraße 7, 4th floor (NIG), Übungsraum, 1010 Vienna
In 2004 an earthquake and tsunami hit Banda Aceh, the capital of the Province of Aceh in Indonesia. After the tsunami, the Indonesian government built tsunami sites, with support from foreign donors. The main sites are the Siron Mass Grave, the Aceh Tsunami Museum, a PLTD Floating Ship and a boat on a house roof. These tsunami sites have become significant tourist destinations in Banda Aceh. The phenomenon that former sites of natural disaster have become tourist destinations (disaster tourism) can be witnessed also in other regions of Indonesia. The Lava Tour of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta and the Lapindo Sidoarjo Mud tour in East Java are such examples. This study explores how the Acehnese have constructed tsunami sites and what motivates tourists to visit these sites. I conducted field research in Banda Aceh from October to December 2019 and investigated how the government authorities materialized the tsunami event in the form of buildings (such as museums and monuments). The memories and feelings of sadness, darkness and death related to the tsunami have been commodified and turned into attractions. However, tsunami sites are not only memorial and economic spaces but they also have created a new and positive image of Aceh as a tourist-friendly region instead of one prone to armed rebellion.
Almonika Cindy Fatika Sari is a researcher in the Department of Customary Law and the Djojodigoeno Adat Law Center at the Faculty of Law, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) . In 2019, she was involved in a collaborative project on disaster tourism carried out by colleagues at the Department of Anthropology at UGM and the University of Vienna. The research resulted in her Master’s thesis entitled “Tsunami’s Dark Tourism in Banda Aceh, Indonesia” which she completed in 2020. Almonika has been awarded an ASEA-UNINET scholarship and will spend three weeks in May 2022 at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.


May 17, 2022
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Hörsaal A, am Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie NIG (4. Stock), Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien
Vienna, Austria


Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Vienna
Austrian-Indonesian Society