Union Internationale de la Marionnette

Non-Governmental Organization affiliated to UNESCO

Matthew Isaac Cohen

Last updated: 21-12-2022

Matthew Isaac Cohen, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts of the University of Connecticut (USA) who researches the performing arts of Indonesia and traditions of world puppetry. He has studied, taught, and worked in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United States. He studied shadow puppet theatre (wayang kulit) at the conservatoire Institut Seni Indonesia Surakarta and privately with the late Ki Oemartopo, the late Ki Saal, Ki Joko Susilo, and others in Solo and Cirebon. His books include The Komedie Stamboel: Popular Theater in Colonial Indonesia, 1891-1903 (2006), Performing Otherness: Java and Bali on International Stages, 1905-1952 (2010), and Inventing the Performing Arts: Modernity and Tradition in Colonial Indonesia (2016). His contributions to wayang and Javanese arts and culture have been recognized by the award of titles and royal names from three of Java’s royal courts: Kraton Kacirebonan (“Ki Ngabehi Kanda Buwana,” 2009), Kraton Kasepuhan (“Ki Dalang Bawana,” 2018), and Kraton Surakarta Hadiningrat (“Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung Prof. Cahya Handaru,” 2020). He is currently working on a book-length visual history of wayang based on ongoing research on puppets in the Dr. Walter Angst and Sir Henry Angest Collection of Indonesian Puppets at Yale University Art Gallery.