Journal Wacana

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Yon Machmudi
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.407

Abstract:A pesantren is a typical component of the Indonesian cultural heritage. Besides being thought of as one of the oldest type of educational institutions in Indonesia, pesantren have played a significant contributing role in the process of nation building in modern Indonesia. Pesantren have many roles in society in education, the economy and in the social and political fields in which pesantren alumni play a role. Currently, pesantren roles are being challenged by modernization and they have to change or transform into modern institutions in order to survive. Nevertheless, traditional pesantren continue to resists change and they insist on preserving their identity in terms of authority and student teacher relationships. This article seeks to analyse the efforts that the traditional Pesantren Cidahu in Banten makes to preserve its identity and to maintain its authority in modern society. By hanging on to modest practices, Pesantren Cidahu manages to continue to exert strong influence over its students and over the society in West Java in general.
Lilawati Kurnia
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.405

Abstract:Seren Taun is a ritual ceremony and celebration, which is practiced in West Java by the Sundanese. It is similar to Thanksgiving in many countries. The village Cigugur, located 3 km west of Kuningan, is the focus of the paper, because the Seren Taun celebration there has been a major event and received a lot of attention from the media, government, and scholars. Many non-Javanese traditional celebrations were repressed during the Suharto era and traditional beliefs were either also repressed or co-opted into one of the five official religions. During the post-Suharto era, the spirit of reformation has brought diversity of more than 300 ethnic groups onto the surface. With the aim to preserve and maintain the tradition of Seren Taun, but as well as to preserve the identity and collective memory of the community, Djatikusumah, chairman of PACKU, has in these recent years developed several policies, concerning traditional art performances, buildings/sites used for ceremonies, and the batik motives that were taken from woodcarvings in the Paseban hall. This paper will explore the intersection between the role of Djatikusumah as an agency and the culture industry he invented.
Din Wahid
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.413

Abstract:This study is about the role of Salafi pesantrens (Islamic boarding schools) in Salafi da’wa (conveying or inviting to the way of Islam) in Indonesia. A Salafi pesantren is a pesantren that teaches Salafism which mostly derives from the works of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia. Salafi pesantrens started to emerge in the late 1980s and were established by graduates from Saudi Arabia and Yemen universities, and supported by alumni of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA) in Jakarta. While the precise number of Salafi pesantrens is unavailable, it is estimated that the number reaches 50 pesantrens. Salafi pesantrens not only teach their students about Salafism, but also accustom them to practice the Salafi manhaj (path) in their daily life. The study focuses on three pesantrens: al-Nur al-Atsari in Ciamis, Assunah in Cirebon (both in West Java), and al-Furqan in Gresik, East Java. I analyse various aspects of these educational institutions: their historical development, community responses, educational programs, curriculum, methods of instruction, students’ lives and activities, networks and fundraising.
Karel Steenbrink
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.408

Abstract:In eight novels, Ayu Utami has presented critical attacks on doctrines and practices of the major religions in Indonesia. The two books, that describe the spiritual struggle of the Catholic priest Saman (1998–2002), call for a religion that is more active in the political arena, but leaves sexual rules to the individual people. The novel Bilangan Fu (2008) condemns the monopoly of the great religions in favour of local and individual spirituality. This is developed in a series of novels of which two more have already appeared. A third cycle of three more or less autobiographic novels (2003–2013) sketch her personal quest from atheism towards a critical but positive spirituality condemning a clerical and monopolist trend in Catholicism. Utami’s criticism of the great religions is external (more players in the field should be recognised) and internal (religious leaders should have more modest claims towards their faithful and leave more space for personal choice).
Tom G. Hoogervorst
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.409

Abstract:This PhD dissertation examines the role of insular Southeast Asia in the trans-regional networks of maritime trade that shaped the history of Indian Ocean. The work brings together data and approaches from archaeology, historical linguistics and other disciplines, proposing a reconstruction of cultural and linguistic contact between Southeast Asia and its maritime neighbours to the west in order to advance our historical understanding of this part of the world. Numerous biological, commercial and technical items are examined. The study underlines that the analysis of lexical data is one of the strongest tools to detect and analyse contact between two or more speech communities. It demonstrates how Southeast Asian products and concepts were mainly dispersed by speakers of Malay varieties, although other communities played a role as well. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the study offers new perspectives on the role of insular Southeast Asian agents on cultural dynamism and interethnic contact in the pre-modern Indian Ocean World.
Thomas Reuter
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.402

Abstract:Research by anthropologists engaged with the Comparative Austronesia Project (Australian National University) has amassed an enormous data set for ethnological comparison between the religions of Austronesian-speaking societies, a language group to which nearly all Indonesian societies also belong. Comparative analysis reveals that ancestor veneration is a key-shared feature among “Austronesian” religious cosmologies; a feature that also resonates strongly with the ancestor-focused religions characteristic of East Asia. Characteristically, the religions of Austronesian-speaking societies focus on the core idea of a sacred time and place of ancestral origin and the continuous flow of life that is issuing forth from this source. Present-day individuals connect with the place and time of origin though ritual acts of retracing a historical path of migration to its source. What can this seemingly exotic notion of a flow of life reveal about the human condition writ large? Is it merely a curiosity of the ethnographic record of this region, a traditional religious insight forgotten even by many of the people whose traditional religion this is, but who have come under the influence of so-called world religions? Or is there something of great importance to be learnt from the Austronesian approach to life? Such questions have remained unasked until now, I argue, because a systematic cosmological bias within western thought has largely prevented us from taking Ancestor Religion and other forms of “traditional knowledge” seriously as an alternative truth claim. While I have discussed elsewhere the significance of Ancestor Religion in reference to my own research in highland Bali, I will attempt in this paper to remove this bias by its roots. I do so by contrasting two modes of thought: the “incremental dualism” of precedence characteristic of Austronesian cultures and their Ancestor Religions, and the “transcendental dualism” of mind and matter that has been a central theme within the cultural history of Western European thought. I argue for a deeper appreciation of Ancestor Religion as the oldest and most pervasive of all world religions.Keywords
Roy Ellen
Wacana, Volume 15; doi:10.17510/wacana.v15i2.403

Abstract:The Dutch colonial state categorized animists and ancestor-worshippers and inscribed them into written records in ways that have had long-term effects. The immediate post-independence period in Maluku, despite early political turmoil, settled down to a kind of stability under the New Order, the paradoxical outcome of which was both gradual integration of Nuaulu into a wider political and cultural consensus and conditions favouring economic change that undermined that consensus. The new policies of reformasi after 1998 presented further opportunities for Nuaulu to engage with the state in ways that promoted their interests. The opportunities were short-lived, however, given the implosive events of the communal unrest that lasted until 2001. This paper illustrates how this history has influenced Nuaulu self-perceptions and conceptualization of themselves as a separate people with a “religion” that goes beyond simply adherence to adat, and how this process has been partly driven by demography and a desire for pragmatic accommodation.
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