This essay is one of more than a dozen in this volume to honor the late Mary Margaret Steedly. The paper’s theme is “outskirts”—areas that are not just geographically distant from a metropolitan center, but also fraught with an ambivalent national identity and people’s ambiguous sense of belonging. The author relied on Steedly’s example and personal direction to fairly handle, interpret, and analyze ethnographic data and recordings that he himself had not collected. He introduces people who are representative of those unrecognized, ambivalent figures who populate the outskirts of Aceh’s post-conflict landscape as a way to challenge and interrupt what might otherwise have been overly neat and coherent narratives of Aceh’s recovery from tsunami and war. This is an explicit nod to Steedly’s influence: when one pays attention to the layered moments of the interview, the moment of transcription and translation, and the moment of interpreting texts, whole new modes of analysis and insight open up.


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pp. 77-83
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