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The Confluence of Water and Power

On 27 January 2022 Tjahjono Prasodjo successfully defended a doctoral thesis and graduated.

T. Prasodjo
27 January 2022
Leiden Repository

The PhD thesis discusses the relationship between the central courts and local communities in the constructing and managing of water systems in the Brantas river basin, East Java, Indonesia between the tenth and the sixteenth centuries CE. The study looks into what extend Java’s specific longue durée conditions of topography and climate have determined these systems, exploring the temporal and spatial dynamics of the system. Nearby systems as existed in mainland Southeast Asia are compared with the systems in East Java. Although employing a comparative approach, the focus of this research is about East Java itself. The primary sources that are used in the research are divided into two types of sources, namely old Javanese inscriptions and archaeological records. The research of this thesis strongly suggests that the East Javanese polities was perfectly able to control its realm by leaving the practical water management at the level of the watĕks and villages. By comparison to the polities of mainland Southeast Asia, the East Javanese polity merely oversees a political economy that was driven by the bottom-up initiative of local communities, so the East Javanese polity suggests and reflects a much more decentralized polity than the mainland Southeast Asian polities.


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