Religioscapes in Muslim Indonesia: Personalities, Institutions and Practices
Indonesia is the most populous Islamic country in the world with a wide range of diverse Islamic practices. This high degree of Islamic thought is also found in the thousands different pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) around Indonesia. Pesantren form a key social and religious institution because traditionally they constitute both a mediator between religion (Islam) and society and the second socialization of Indonesian Muslims after their family. Translocal connections maintained by pesantren, its teaching staff and santri (students in a pesantren) influence these two roles of pesantren and their perception and transfer of Islamic teachings and practices.
Scholars have focused their attention on pesantren mainly on historical context, formal educational background, as well as transformation within Pesantren education. In depth research about translocal connections or networks of contemporary Indonesian pesantren has not been carried out yet.
In my dissertation project I aim to fill this gap and carry out research on translocal connections of two pesantren in Indonesia. Translocal connections, I argue, are based on the urge to maintain silaturahim-relations, to strive for or spread knowledge and to exchange ideas. Each of the two pesantren exemplifies a ‘religious geography’ of Islam in Indonesia. I assume that different qualities of Translocality influence and lead to diverse teachings and practices of Islam in the two pesantren in South Sumatra and Central Java.
My method includes 12 months multi-sited ethnographic research in the form of participatory observation and in depth interviews. Besides that, I will analyze biographies of the ustad/ ustadzah and review the book collection of their private and the pesantren’s libraries. I will accompany santri and teachers to their respective communities and to events they attend in order to understand how Islamic ideas travel to communities outside the pesantren.
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Vincent Houben
Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Manja Stephan-Emmrich