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Benedict Anderson - Memorials

Benedict Anderson Photo

Benedict Anderson 

1936 - 2015

"Ben you are an inspiration to us all.  We may not be able to live your exemplary life of the mind, but we shall do our best to make you proud."

Thak Chaloemtiarana


The Southeast Asia Program has been mourning the loss of Professor Emeritus Benedict Anderson since December 13, 2015 when word of his death in East Java reached Ithaca and, nearly simultaneously, spread through the news, social media, and the global networks of his former students, friends, and colleagues. At SEAP we have been touched by the flood of tributes and remembrances of Om Ben that have been circulating and that continue to be written as many of us come to terms with his passing. Each funny story, each moving rendition of the qualities that made him an amazing teacher and scholar, all contain a kernel of insight into SEAP community that Ben helped create. These narratives connect us to each other through the shared experience of having been shaped by Ben - by his ideas, by his way of thinking, by his way of being in the world. 


The following are excerpts from eulogies writen by friends and collegues of Ben. To read more please open the attached pdf. 

"Ben did not dictate or interfere with your scholarships or ideas.. he simply set you up, pushed you forward, and said...explore." 

"Anderson's refusal to be hemmed in by professional identity is an inspiration...and reminder of the creative insights that come from a willingness to learn across social, intellectual, and political boundaries"

"Ben Anderson was very much the disciple of George Kahin. Like Kahin, he combined meticulous scholarship with passionate political engagement..."

"Ben's irreverence for clocks, for clothing that constrained, and especially for the designated pathways at Cornell, always brought the theme song from the spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to mind. (I can hear it now!) I told him that once, and he laughed a deep belly laugh, rich guttural soundscape strangely lost to us." 


Memorial Service Indonesia December 19, 2015
Memorial Service Photo









Eulogy by Thak Chaloemtiarana  

Cornell University Memorial Service
Cornell University Memorial Service Photo

Benedict Anderson In Memoriam 

(1934- 2015) 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2:00 PM 

The South East Asia Program & The Department of Government 

Sage Chapel - Cornell University 

Ithaca, New York 



Prelude - On Gamelan

Cornell Gamelan Emsemble (Christopher J. Miller, director, Franziska Dellinger, Kim Frost, Will Ober, Emily Ramsey, Nicci Reisnour and Annalise Smith) with guest Sumarsam, Marty Hatch, and Urip Sri Maeny

Bawa Sekar Ageng Rarabentrok dhawah gendhing Gambirsawit (merong, kethuk 2 kerep), laras slendro pathet sanga played by‬ Cornell Gamelan Ensemble (Christopher J. Miller, director, Kim Frost, Will Ober, Emily Ramsey, Nicci Reisnour) with guests Sumarsam and Marty Hatch.

Best known gendhing in the Surakarta repertoire, Gambirsawit was one of Ben’s favorite pieces. He had it in a compilation of gendhing that he made when he was first in Java, and knew how to play (at least some of it) on gender (no notation). Ben’s gender was played at the memorial in his honor.


Kaja McGowan 

Director of the Southeast Asia Program; 

Associate Professor of History of Art


Gretchen Ritter 

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences


Gregory Green

Memorial Piece Played On the Lao Khaen

Curator of the Echols Collection on Southeast Asia, Kroch Library, Cornell University 


Isaac Kramnick  

Emeritus Professor of Government, Cornell University 


Andrew Willford 

Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University

Spanish folk melody, "Romance," a beloved melody of Ben’s. He carried a recording with him to Java, and requested that it be played at his funeral. In the style of parlor piece of the late 19th century in Spain or South America, "Romance" is played in three parts, first in the minor key and the second being in the major key, with the third being a restatement of the first.

Ben Abel & Eveline Ferretti  

Southeast Asian Serials Assistant, Asia Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University (Ben)

Public Programs Communications Administrator, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University (Eveline)


Apichai Shipper 

Former Student; 

Chair of Asia Area Studies, School of Professional and Area Studies, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State;

Adjunct Associate Professor, Asia Studies Program, School of Foreign Services, Georgetown University


14! Strings Cornell Filipino Rondalla


Jolanda Pandin

Senior Lecturer Indonesian Language, Asian Studies, Cornell University

Catholic Prayer

Most merciful Father, from Thee we came, and in Thee our lives end. You created our bodies from dust, and to dust they return. Yet, our souls created by Thy breath shall return only to Thee.

Behold us, Thy children who gather here, who are grateful for your blessings of academic talent and opportunities. May we be capable of sharing your blessings for the progress of humanity according to Thy will. Thy Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, says “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)” Give us the ability to follow the good example of the intellectual fervor and spirit of Dr. Benedict Anderson, who has returned to Thy holy place. With his talent, he wholeheartedly studied and exposed the humanity of the politically marginalized and oppressed peoples in the historical journey to nationhood, especially in Indonesia. Thank you, God, for the gift of his life, which brought crucial progress to the knowledge of world humanity.

Nonetheless, Most Merciful Father, we humbly realize our imperfect lives as Thy children. So too did our brother, Benedict Anderson. His iniquities might bring his soul to Purgatory. He is weak, begging for Thy mercy. We also pray to Thee to pardon his soul so that he may be worthy and justified to enter eternal life with all the saints.

This prayer we ask through Thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for Benedict Anderson, whose soul we present to Thy hands. Wash away all his iniquities and sins with Thy loving forgiveness. For Thou art the living and almighty God now and forever. Amen.

Ketut Raka Nawiana 

Hindu Prayer 

Om atma tattwatma naryatma swadah

Om swargantu mokshantu sunyantu murcantu

Om ang ksama sampurna ya namah swaha

Kamala Tiyavanich 

Independent Scholar

Buddhist Pali Chant 


อิมินา ปุญญะกัมเมนะ อุปัชฌายา คุณุตตะรา

อาจะริยูปะการา จะ มาตาปิตา จะ ญาตะกา 

สุริโย จันทิมา ราชา คุณะวันตา นะราปิ จะ

พรัหมะมารา จะ อินทา จะ โลกะปาลา จะ เทวะตา

ยะโม มิตตา มะนุสสา จะ มัชชัตตา เวริกาปิ จะ

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขี โหนตุ ปุุญญานิ ปะกะตานิ เม 

สุขัง จะ ติวิธัง เทนตุ ขิปปัง ปาเปถ เม มะตัง ฯ

อิมินา ปุญญะกัมเมนะ อิมินา อุททิสเสนะ จะ

ขิปปาหัง สุละเภ เจวะ ตัณหุปาทานะเฉทะนัง

เย สันตาเน หินา ธัมมา ยาวะ นิพพานะโต มะมัง

นัสสันตุ สัพพะทา เยวะ ยัตถะ ชาโต ภะเว ภะเว

อุชุจิตตัง สะติปัญญา สัลเลโข วิริยัมหินา 

มารา ละภันตุ โนกาสัง กาตุญจะ วิริเยสุ เม

พุทธาทิปะวะโร นาโถ ธัมโม นาโถ วรุตตะโม

นาโถ ปัจเจกะพุทโธ จะ สังโฆ นาโถตตะโร มะมัง

เตโสตตะมานุภาเวนะ มาโรกาสัง ละภันตุ มา ฯ

Tamara Loos

Professor of History, Cornell University 

Gendhing Ayak - Ayakan Pamungkas 

Gamelan Closing 

This piece often marks the conclusion for an evening of wayang, dance, or gamelan playing in Java. The text is a prayer that Indonesia will remain a free and unified nation, and all Indonesians will prosper in a peaceful and just society. Text and melody are by Raden Ngabei Wirowijogo (mid-20th century), Gamelan expert in the Court of PB IX, Surakarta and Radya Pustaka member.

AYAK-AYAKAN PAMUNGKASDuh Allah, mugi mugi,kaparenga paring rochmad.Duh Allah, lestariya,Indonesia mardika.Wasana wosing pangidungtarlen amung amemuji:Mugi bangsa Indonesia,sepuh anem jalu estri,sami kersa amanunggal,gumeleng gelenging kapti.

THE FINAL AYAK-AYAKANOh Allah, we fervently hope,and beseech your mercy,Oh Allah, for an everlastinglyindependent Indonesia.In this final song,this is our only prayer:We hope the people of Indonesia--young, old, men, women —all together imaginethis common ideal.


Tributes from Former Students, Colleagues and Friends

SEAP Alumnus, Patricio Abinales, PhD '97       

Yes, Benedict Anderson was a political scientist


SEAP Alumnus, Filomeno V. Aguilar Jr., PhD '92 

Benedict Anderson and the Philippines’ place in the world  


AP (Jakarta) (includes quotes from former students)

Influential Southeast Asia scholar Benedict Anderson dies


SEAP Alumnus, Dominique Caouette, MA '95, PhD '04

Benedict Anderson (1936-2015): Intellectuel, mentor hors du commun, et ami.


SEAP Alumnus, Lawrence Chua, MA '06, PhD '12  



Philip J Cunningham (includes some other former students as well)       

Ajarn Ben's Southeast Asian analyses still enlighten


Blaine Friedlander (has quotes from Tamara Loos, MA ’94, PhD ’99) 

Benedict Anderson, who wrote ‘Imagined Communities,' dies


Ariel Heryanto 

Ben Anderson: the One and Only     


SEAP Alumnus, Ajarn ชาญวิทย์เกษตรศิริ Charnvit Kasetsiri             

ร่ำไห้ระงม พิธีเผาศพ "เบน แอนเดอร์สัน" นักวิชาการทั่วโลกบินร่วมอาลัย


Eka Kurniawan   

Obituari: Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)     

Uncle Ben Remembered: An Obituary by Eka Kurniawan for Benedict Anderson (Translated by Stephen J. Epstein)


Jill Leovy (includes quotes from former students)

Benedict Anderson dies at 79; Southeast Asia scholar studied roots of nationalism


Former Student, Adam Messer, PhD '90


Anto Mohsin

Benedict Anderson (1936-2015): a Scholar of Nationalism and a Doyen of Southeast Asian Studies


Omar Panky Montenegro           

Benedict Anderson, Tribute to a friend


Former Student, Dédé Oetomo, PhD' 84

And Thus Passeth A Giant…  


Thitinan Pongsudhirak

'Withdrawal' lessons from Prof Anderson


SEAP Alumnus, Vicente L. Rafael, PhD '84

In Memoriam: Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)


Ismail Gareth Richards

A Personal Memory of Benedict Anderson


SEAP Alumnus, John Sidel


SEAP Faculty, James T. Siegel

A Necrology of Ben Anderson


Apichai W. Shipper

For Love of Languages, Travel, and Fieldwork: A Tribute to Benedict Anderson


Made Supriatma             

Ben Anderson, Seorang Ilmuwan Progresif 


SEAP Alumnus, Thaveeporn Vasavakul, PhD '94

Vietnam and Southeast Asia - Inspirations from the Work of Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)


SEAP Alumnus, Francis Loh Kok Wah, PhD '80


Ben Anderson (1936-2015): Scholar-activist in search of truth and justice      


Thoughts | Reminiscences from UC Berkeley faculty

Remebering Benedict Anderson





The Hindu        

Tribute to academic scholar Benedict Anderson: Language, power, nationalism (by Vasundhara Sirnate) anderson/article7996941.ece



Ben Anderson Wafat, Cornell dan Kita Kehilangan Akademisi Hebat


New Republic      

Benedict Anderson, Man Without a Country (by Jeet Heer)


The Telegraph (Calcutta, India)

The Irish Internationalist - Ben Anderson as Scholar and Human Being (by Ramachandra Guha)



Benedict Anderson 1936-2015 (by Tariq Ali)

(Verso is going to publish Ben's "A Life Beyond the Boundaries: A Memoir" in July 2016)





2012 Golay Memorial Lecture by Benedict Anderson   


Benedict Anderson Last Lecture: Anarchism and Nationalism

Faculty of Humanities - University of Indonesia, December 10th, 2015


Interview about "Imagined Communities" in 1994         

Benedict Anderson About Nationalism (In mijn vaders huis, 1994)


Ben's Work Recognized by Social Science Research Council (SSRC)


Los Angeles Review of Book (A Book Review)

Why Benedict Anderson Counts: Lessons on Writing, Culture, and José Rizal