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Lecture: Muslim Shrines in the Malay world: Scattered, Contentious, and Illuminating Inscriptions in the Landscape
By Sumit Mandal (University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus)
This lecture explores Muslim shrines in the Malay world. Muslim shrines, or keramat as they are known in Malay, are constituted by the grave sites of exceptional individuals and found across the Malay world, understood here as contemporary Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and South Africa. They commemorate people who in their lifetime demonstrated extraordinary acts, skills, knowledge, or piety. The graves could be of historical figures, frequently of diverse and transregional origin, as well as unknown or fantastical individuals. The narratives that circulate about them tell of their miraculous powers. They are sites of popular veneration tied to Muslim societies but have drawn people of diverse faiths. Although they are ubiquitous, they are highly localized. Given their scattered and varied character, is it fair to consider them as a whole? If so, how might we go about it? Could the study of these shrines help us better locate the significance of non-elite histories and popular veneration? This lecture considers these questions as it delves into the politics of history, space, and faith as it unfolds in these sites.
Sumit Mandal is a historian at the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. He obtained his PhD at Columbia University in New York in 1994 and worked at the National University of Malaysia and Humboldt University in Berlin before taking up his current position in 2015. He is interested in the transregional architecture of Asian societies. His research has focused primarily on Muslim societies in the Malay world – in relation to the Indian Ocean – as well as contemporary Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. His publications have appeared in Indonesia and the Malay World, Citizenship Studies, Modern Asian Studies, and other journals. He also co-edited Challenging Authoritarianism in Indonesia and Malaysia (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003) and has written on the author Pramoedya Ananta Toer. His current research focuses on Muslim shrines in the Malay world as inscriptions of history and sacred geography. His book Becoming Arab: Creole Histories and Modern Identity in the Malay World is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.
This lecture is the keynote speech of the workshop ‘Unsettling encounters: Scholarly study, religious knowledge, and difficult histories in Asia and the Caribbean‘ (closed session), organized by KITLV in collaboration with AMT/Leiden University.
Date: Monday 11 September 2017
Time: 9.00 h – 10.30 h
Venue: room 2.01, Reuvensplaats 2, Leiden
Please register if you wish to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org
Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a large-scale, joint inquiry carried out by KITLV, the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The project has been made financially possible by the Dutch government, due to its decision on 2 December 2016 to lend its support to a broad inquiry into the events of this period.
The programme comprises nine subprojects and aims to answer questions regarding the nature, extent and causes of structural transborder violence in Indonesia, considered in a broader political, social and international context. In this context, detailed attention will be paid to the chaotic period spanning from August 1945 to early 1945 – often referred to as the Bersiap – and the political and social aftermath in the Netherlands, Indonesia and elsewhere.
It is expected that KITLV will be responsible for the synthesis and will carry out the subprojects Regional Studies and Bersiap. For these projects the group, together with Indonesian colleagues, will carry out research in several Indonesian regions. These subprojects will be the continuation of the KITLV-project Dutch military operations in Indonesia 1945-1950 that has run since 2012.
The programme has a strong international character. There will be cooperation with researchers from Indonesia and other countries involved and sources originating from Indonesia, Australia, United Kingdom and the United States (United Nations) will be used more than previously was the case. Furthermore, the programme explicitly includes the opportunity for witness accounts from the Netherlands and Indonesia to be presented. Witnesses can come forward themselves or will be traced by researchers, in order to allow them to document their personal accounts for future generations.
The three institutes stress the importance of broad national and international support for the programme. In order to achieve this, the institutes have appointed an international scientific advisory board and a Netherlands societal focus group (Maatschappelijk Klankbordgroep Nederland).
For more information see: http://www.ind45-50.org/en/home
For the purpose of this inquiry, it is important that those involved are seen and heard. If you have material or more information about Indonesia in the 1945-1950 time period and are willing to contribute to our research, please contact: email@example.com
07 February 2017Film screening
The first screening of the ‘Framing Asia’ film series will focus on transgender issues in Indonesia. Two short films Renita, Renita and Accross Gender will be followed by discussion with Intan Paramaditha, Indonesian author and lecturer in media and film studies and one of the filmmakers, Anouk Houtman.
Renita, Renita (15min)
Trapped in a male body, Renita wanted to be a doctor and a woman since she was a child but her parents forced her to study at a Islamic school where she was bullied and ostracized. She rebelled by becoming a prostitute in the hope of finding freedom but instead, found that it came at a cost — she experienced brutality and was discriminated against by her family and the Indonesian society in which she lived.
Across Gender (24min)
What is it like being transgender in Yogyakarta? There is no single answer to this question. This film aims to show different ways of negotiating visibility in the Indonesian society when one ‘crosses gender’. The difficulty of this negotiation becomes apparent through the anti-LGBT sentiments and actions in early 2016.
Anouk Houtman is a young filmmaker with an MA in Visual Anthropology of Leiden University. She graduated with a film and thesis researching the visibility of transgenders in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Currently she is pursuing a second MA in Gender Studies and University Utrecht.
Intan Paramaditha is an Indonesian author and lecturer in media and film studies at Macquarie University, Sydney. Focusing on contemporary film practice in Indonesia, her research explores the relation between media, cultural activism, and sexual politics in the convergence and tension between national and cosmopolitan trajectories.Time 19:30- hrs Venue Faculty of Humanities, Lipsius building, rom 028 Cleveringaplaats 1 Leiden Netherlands Google Maps
“The Hikayat Bayan Budiman, ‘Tale of the Wise Parrot’, is an old work of Malay literature, probably composed in the 15th century or earlier. It is based on a Persian original, the Tuti-nama, and is the earliest example in Malay of a framed narrative: a literary work comprising a compilation of individual stories. And like the…” (read more)
Source: The British Library’s Asian and African studies blog: The Malay Tale of the Wise Parrot
“Among the Malay manuscripts in the British Library which have just been digitised are a number of vocabulary lists and dictionaries in Malay, compiled by visitors to the region as aids to learning the language. The study of Malay in Europe dates back to the …” (read more)
Source: The British Library’s Asia and Africa Blog Early vocabularies of Malay