Benedict Anderson

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  • Topic: Benedict Anderson, George McTurnan Kahin, Tom Morello
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Benedict Anderson

Benedict Richard O'Gorman Anderson was born on August 26, 1936 in Kunming, China

In 1957, he received a BA in Classics from Cambridge University, England. There, he developed an immense interest in Asian politics, and later enrolled in Cornell University’s Indonesian studies program (see A). Working part-time as a teaching assistant in the department of politics, Anderson worked on his Ph. D. under the guidance of experts in the field, George Kahin and Claire Holt. As part of his doctoral research, Anderson went to Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1961. After the 1965 Communist Coup and massacres (see B), Anderson published three studies, one of which was an outline of the Coup. This study, in which Anderson argues that "discontented army officers, rather than Communists, were responsible for [the] coup" and questions the military government's claims to legitimacy (Language 8) became known as the "Cornell Paper" in 1966, and it caused Anderson to be barred from Indonesia indeterminately. After his exile, Anderson spent a few years in Thailand, and since then has been teaching at Cornell University. He is currently the director of the Modern Indonesia Program and the Aaron L. Binenkorb professor of International Studies at Cornell (2-14). Anderson’s infamous analysis of nationalism is presented in his book, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. The first few chapters attempt to contextualize nationalism in the course of history.  His purpose in writing Imagined Communities is to provide a historical background for the emergence of nationalism

In the 17th century, the legitimacy of sacral monarchy met its gradual debility in Western Europe (21). People began to doubt the belief that society was naturally organized around these times. 
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