ANFEP 2017: Indonesia

ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program (ANFEP) Deepening Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts Seminars in Asia

Contemporary Indonesia: Religious Diversity, Environmental Issues, and Political Transitions

July 6 – July 28, 2017

Directors Dr. James S. Godde, Department of Biology, Monmouth College Dr. Siti Kusujiarti, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Warren Wilson College Fellows in the summer 2017 Indonesia Seminar will study Indonesia’s religious and cultural heritage with an eye on how these have changed throughout history as well as how they continue to influence modern Indonesian society. The challenges that face modern Indonesia will also be discussed, including but not limited to, the environmental issues that have accompanied rapid industrialization. Program Details Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world. Even though Islam is the predominant religion, other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity also play significant roles in the country. Hinduism is prevalent in Bali and has been integrated into the local cultures so that Bali is known for its different and unique cultural practices. As in other Southeast Asian countries, religions permeate into Indonesian citizens’ daily lives but Indonesia functions as a secular state and has been touted as one of the largest democratic states in the region. While general elections have been held since 1955, the first direct presidential elections were not held until 2004. The country is now undergoing important political transitions as well as environmental challenges. High rates of urbanization have recently created significant environmental problems and Indonesia now has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. The 2017 ANFEP program will address the religious diversity, political transitions, and environmental issues in Indonesia. The 2017 ANFEP will involve three weeks of travel across the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia. Our group will fly into Jakarta and then leave from Denpasar International Airport in Bali at the completion of the trip. The seminar will focus on the urbanization and resulting environmental issues in Jakarta, a day-long “social humanity tour” will expose us to the both the booming business as well as the dilapidated slums that make up this megalopolis. After Jakarta, we will travel from western to central Java, moving through the intervening countryside for village homestays near rural tea plantations as well as visits to ancient Hindu temples. This will be followed by a stay in the Sultanate of Yogyakarta in order to contrast this special administrative region with the rest of Java. Yogyakarta, aka Jogya, is the only region in Indonesia that is still governed by a pre-colonial monarchy. In terms of urbanization and environmental issues, particular attention will be paid to the differences between Jogya and Jakarta. While in the Jogya area, we will visit two 9th-century UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, and Prambanan, a Hindu temple complex where will attend the ballet version of the Ramayana epic. Week three will see another transverse of the country, from central to eastern Java, stopping at various temples as well as a well-known arts center, before reaching the ferry to the island of Bali. Once again, participating faculty will be able to compare and contrast Indonesian cultures, this time between the unique culture of Bali and that found in Java. Religious sites as well as ecofriendly economic endeavors will be the focus in Bali before boarding our flight for home. Each day of the seminar, the group will engage in discussions about the theme-based activities or hear lectures by scholars, curators, and citizens. Readings will include both scholarly articles and fiction, poetry and memoirs relevant to each region. Several half-day “free times” will be included over the course of the seminar in order for participants to pursue individual interests (or to rest, as needed). Accommodations will be at full-service hotels when not participating in homestays. Transportation will include primarily travel by bus and by ferry, as well as plenty of walking. The tour will include frequent outdoor activity in heat and humidity and we will be constantly on the move. Throughout the experience the food will be fantastic!

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granting mission is to strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, they develop thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invest sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results. ASIANetwork, a consortium of approximately 150 North American colleges, strives to strengthen the role of Asian Studies within the framework of liberal arts education to help prepare succeeding generations of undergraduates for a world in which Asian societies play prominent roles.