Rockefeller Archive Center

Rockefeller Archive Center Research Reports are created by recipients of research travel stipends and by many others who have conducted research at the RAC. The reports demonstrate the breadth of the RAC's archival holdings, particularly in the study of philanthropy and its effects. Read more about the history of philanthropy at Also, see the RAC Bibliography of Scholarship, a comprehensive online database of publications citing RAC archival collections.
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The Medical Spur to Postcolonial Science in Southeast Asia: Indonesia and the Philippines during the Early Decades of the Cold War

June 13, 2019

For the first time in 1943—at the height of the Japanese occupation of the Indonesian archipelago—Soekarno expressed the relationship between medicine and nation-building. He had foreseen, in the not-too-distant future when the country would proclaim its independence from colonial rule, that physicians would have a unique niche in Indonesian society —as advocates of the largely illiterate Indonesian masses. He envisioned that a physician would not only treat the sick, but also educate the public about preventative health measures such that Indonesia would become a strong and healthy nation. Eleven years later, President Ramon Magsaysay of the Philippines asserted in his first State of the Nation Address that no nation could go ahead if crippled by disease. These two vignettes attest to the centrality of public health in nation-building in postcolonial Indonesia and the Philippines.

Medicine and Healthcare; Rockefeller Foundation

Making Manpower: The Ford Foundation's Building of Postcolonial Political Economy in India and Indonesia

December 20, 2017

My dissertation analyzes the International Labor Organization's (ILO) postcolonial development activities in India and Indonesia based around productivity and its relationship to economic inequality. Accordingly, I zoomed in on the Ford Foundation's collections that were connected to the ILO, India, and Indonesia. Neither the Ford nor the Rockefeller Foundation had a sustained connection to sponsoring the ILO, and the documents were scant. Thankfully, Ford granted considerable funds and expert guidance to both India and Indonesia. This researcher's report will begin with an introduction to the climate of political economy and development that infused Ford's notions of manpower and political economy. It then transitions to a description of my findings for India and Indonesia. Indonesia's fractured history is well displayed by the timing of the Ford Foundation's technical assistance, in spite of the limited archival material for my dissertation. It closes with a meditation on the meaning of development, capitalism, and shifts in international political economy at the end of the twentieth century.

Ford Foundation

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