Johan Lindquist (JL): Throughout your career, which began in the early 1960s, you have remained focused on the study of Indonesia. You are also arguably the anthropologist who has been most committed to developing a Derridean deconstructive approach. Before we return to these broad themes, could you say something about your background and how you became interested in anthropology and Indonesia?

James Siegel (JS): I was born in Superior, Wisconsin, on the edge of the lake, in the north. Superior is a small town, about twenty-five thousand inhabitants when I was born, but founded by speculators to be a rival of Chicago. Sixty-some years later, when I was born, it had the world’s largest sewage system, the high stone arches extending far beyond the inhabited areas of the town, the town never attracting many settlers. It was a ghost town before it was born, but it never felt uncanny,...

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