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Geoffrey Robinson


Contact Information

Office  5361 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-3563

Geoffrey Robinson received his BA from McGill University in Canada, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University, where he studied modern Southeast Asian history and politics with Professors George McT. Kahin and Benedict O’G. Anderson. In 1995, he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and in 1996 he spent a year in Sweden as Visiting Scholar at Stockholm University’s Center for Pacific Asia Studies. Since joining UCLA’s Department of History in 1997, he has regularly taught undergraduate lecture courses on early and modern Southeast Asia, as well as a range of undergraduate and graduate seminars on Indonesia and East Timor; Political Violence and Genocide; and Human Rights in Asia.

His book, The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali (1995), was the first of a number of research projects undertaken on issues of political violence, popular resistance, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy in Southeast Asia. Recent publications include articles on political violence in East Timor, the history of the Indonesian armed forces; the roots and significance of non-violence movements in Burma and East Timor; and the origins and persistence of political violence in Aceh. Professor Robinson’s current projects include a monograph about the U.S. role in the 1965 coup and massacre in Indonesia and a book, written in the form of a memoir, about the 1999 UN-sponsored referendum in East Timor.

Professor Robinson brings a good deal of practical experience to his teaching and research. From 1989 to 1995 he was Head of Research for Island Southeast Asia at Amnesty International headquarters in London. In that capacity he wrote two monographs and many shorter reports on human rights conditions in Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Since leaving Amnesty International in 1995, he has continued to work on human rights and humanitarian issues, both independently and as a consultant to various international organizations. From June to November 1999, he took leave from UCLA to serve as a Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations in East Timor.


Ph.D. Cornell University, 1992

Selected Publications

Books & Monographs

'If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die': How Genocide Was Stopped in East Timor. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

East Timor 1999: Crimes Against Humanity. Report commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Jakarta & Dili: HAK Association & Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, 2006.

Timor Timur 1999: Kejahatan Terhadap Umat Manusia. Sebuak laporan yang dibuat berdasarkan permintaan Kantor Komisaris Tinggi Hak Asasi Manusia Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa. Jakarta & Dili: Perkumpulan HAK & Lembaga Studi dan Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM), 2006.

Kudeta Angkatan Darat: Peran Amerika Membangun Rejim Suharto [The Army Coup: America’s Role in Creating the Suharto Regime]. Jakarta: Teplok Press, 2000.

The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Indonesia and East Timor: Power and Impunity - Human Rights Under the New Order. London: Amnesty International, 1994.

Philippines: The Killing Goes On. London: Amnesty International,1992.

Selected Articles & Reports

“People Power: A Comparative History of Forced Displacement in East Timor,” in Eva Lotta Hedman, ed. Conflict, Violence and Displacement in Indonesia: Dynamics, Patterns, and Experience. Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2008, pp. 87-118.

“Colonial Militias in East Timor,” in Karl Hack and Rettig Tobias, eds. Colonial Armies in Southeast Asia: The Armed Leviathan. London: Routledge, 2006, pp. 269-301.

“If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die,” in Mills and Brunner, eds. The New Killing Fields: Massacre and the Politics of Intervention. New York: Perseus Books, 2002, pp. 159-184.

“The Fruitless Search for a Smoking Gun: Tracing the Origins of Violence in East Timor,” in Freek Colombijn and Thomas Lindblad, eds. Roots of Violence in Indonesia: Contemporary Violence in Historical Perspective. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2002, pp. 243-276.

“People’s War: Militias in East Timor and Indonesia.” South East Asia Research, School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3 (November 2001), pp. 271-318

“Rawan is as Rawan Does: The Origins of Disorder in New Order Aceh.” In Benedict Anderson, ed. Violence and the State in Suharto’s Indonesia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2001, pp. 213-242.

Indonesia– On a New Course?” In Muthiah Alagappa, ed. Coercion and Governance: The
Declining Political Role of the Military in Asia. Stanford University Press,
2001, pp.226-256.

“Violence in an Era of Reform.” Indonesia, 70 (October 2000).

“With UNAMET in East Timor – An Historian’s Personal View.” Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Special Issue on East Timor, February, 2000.

“Learning the Art of Dying: The Origins and Limits of Non-Violence in Burma and East Timor.” In Katrin Goldstein Kyaga, ed. Non-Violence in Asia. Stockholm: Center for Pacific Asia Studies, 1999.

"Human Rights in Southeast Asia: Rhetoric and Reality." In David Wurfel and Bruce Burton, eds. Southeast Asia in the New World Order. London: St. Martin's Press, 1996.

"The Post-Coup Massacre in Bali." In Daniel S. Lev and Ruth McVey, eds., Making Indonesia: Essays on Modern Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 1996.

“Shock Therapy: Restoring Order in Aceh, 1989-1993.” London: Amnesty International, 1993.

"Philippines: ‘Disappearances’ in the Context of Counterinsurgency." London: Amnesty International, 1991.