The Sidoarjo Mudflow and the Muddiness of an Environmental Disaster


  • Anto Mohsin Northwestern University, Qatar


This article describes the literal and figurative muddiness of an ongoing environmental disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia, where hot mud from a mud volcano has been spewing over and inundating an ever-increasing area. In a figurative sense, it is also muddy because of the unclear circumstances that led to the disaster, the ongoing debate about the cause of the disaster, and the murkiness of the government’s treatment of the disaster victims.

Author Biography

Anto Mohsin, Northwestern University, Qatar

Anto Mohsin is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the Liberal Arts Program at Northwestern University in Qatar. He received his PhD in science and technology studies (STS) from Cornell University. Prior to joining NU-Q, he held a Henry Luce Postdoctoral Fellowship in Asian Environmental Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. His teaching and research interests include energy studies and environmental studies. His research has appeared in such publications as Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia and East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal. He has presented his work on the Sidoarjo mudflow disaster at the annual East-West Graduate Student Conference in 2009 and at the Sociotechnical Resilience workshop held at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in June 2016.