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Southeast Asian Studies Talk Series @ U of Michigan


 The Dialogism of Religious Renewals:
The co-constitution of Christian and Islamic movements in Java since the late 19th century

En-Chieh Chao

Post-doctoral Researcher, Academia Sinica


Christianity in Java is an understudied topic.  Its influence in the culture and history of Indonesia has long been neglected and recently outshined by the enthusiasm to study Islam in Java.  This talk highlights significant interlacing relations between Christianity and Islam since the late 19th century, including Gerakan Jemaat Kristen Jawa Merdeka (“The Independent Javanese Christian Movement”) in the 1920s and its popular Islamized form of Christianity, the cultural anatomy of the largest reformist Muslim organization Muhammadiyah (“The Followers of The Prophet”) and its relation to missionary societies, and the proliferation of Gereja Pantakosta/Karismatik (Pentecostal/Charismatic church) during the 21st-century and its ritualistic expressions in relation to Islamic renewals. Taking a Bakhtinian approach to examine cultural complexity in Javanese society, this presentation will explore “religions” as “movements” that are not a priori entities disconnected from one another, but constantly negotiated as part of a larger social heteroglossia that critically informs people’s religious identities.


En-Chieh Chao is Post-doctoral Researcher of Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies at Academia Sinica.  An ethnographer of Javanese urban neighborhoods of mixed religious populations, her research combines oral histories, participant-observation and interviews with archival sources. Her articles include “Blessed Fetishism: Language Ideology and Embodied Worship Among Pentecostals in Java” in the Journal of Culture and Religion 12 (4), and “Born Again Cosmopolitan” in Inside Indonesia 110. Her research interests range from Indonesian political history, global Pentecostalism, Islamic civilizations, to gender and religion. She is currently writing a book manuscript titled Dialogic Religiosities: Subjectivities of Charismatic Christianity and Contextualist Islam, which examines the ethnographic encounters between Indonesian Pentecostalism and current Islamic piety in urban Java, and brings forward a critique of the discourses of pluralism.



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This entry was posted on November 9, 2013 by in 【Indonesia-ish & SEAsia】 and tagged , , .
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