Charles Coppel, after graduating in Law at the University of Melbourne, practised as a barrister for five years, but developed a more enduring fascination for the modern history of Indonesia and its ethnic Chinese minority. His Monash PhD was published as Indonesian Chinese in Crisis (Oxford UP, 1983) and as Tionghoa Indonesia Dalam Krisis (Pustaka Sinar Harapan, 1994). His publications have covered such diverse areas as ethnic and race relations, ethnic identity, Confucian religion, language usage, colloquial Malay fictional and historical narratives, multiple migration, and the transformation of everyday life in colonial Java. These interests are reflected in his collected volume Studying Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia (Singapore Society of Asian Studies, 2002). He taught at Monash University and, from 1973 to 2002, at the University of Melbourne, and was a Fellow-in-Residence of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences in 1995-1996. Since his ‘retirement’ in 2002 he has continued to publish on the Chinese in Indonesia and edited Violent Conflicts in Indonesia: Analysis, representation, resolution (Routledge, 2006). His work was honoured in the volume Chinese Indonesians: Remembering, Distorting, Forgetting edited by Tim Lindsey and Helen Pausacker (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore and Monash Asia Institute, 2005).
Fellow-in-Residence of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (September 1995 - June 1996) NABIL Award for Contribution to Indonesian Nation-Building (October 2009)