This empirically grounded work explores the emerging aspects of cultural politics in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. It engages with complex issues of cultural translation, localization and globalization from various perspectives through analyzing a diverse range of cultural forms, including government or palace-based celebrations, ceremonies and rituals, modern student theatre, and Islamic revival sessions. With its discussion of both old and new Islamic movements, alongside the contested religious interpretations of public cultural events, this book will be of interest not only to anthropologists, but also to scholars of religion, culture and sociology.
Reviews: Prize: Winner of the Lawrence A. Stessin Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication
'Daniels’ Islamic Spectrum in Java explodes and enriches common conceptions of Islam by fine-grained description of the Yogyakarta region of the largest Islamic nation, Indonesia. Healing, politics, arts, sexuality and transsexuality are revealingly discerned in company with Islamic doctrine and organizations such as the 35 million member Muhammadiya. Daniels’ book carries forward a century of study of Islam in Indonesia, ranging from Snouck Hurgronje to Koenjaraningrat,Geertz, Hefner,and Woodward, to contribute importantly to understanding Islam in relation to cultural context during the twenty-first century.'
James Peacock, University of North Carolina, USA
'Daniels draws on his ethnographic fieldwork in the Central Javanese capital of Yogyakarta to examine the contemporary flourishing of Islamic cultural forms, from Sufi-inspired healing practices, to dangdut song styles promoting female sexuality, to Islamic “prophetic theatre”. He provocatively asks how new Islamic cultural forms might reshape debates on the future of democracy and reform in Indonesia.'
John R. Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
'Holding the middle between 'hard' descriptive and interpretative ethnography and cultural studies, this book will appeal to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities with an interest in Southeast Asia.'
'... this engaging work is very likely to appeal to scholars in many fields... Much is to be admired about this fascinating study. Daniels clearly supports his main points using intelligent, accessible language. His thick descriptions, sensitive attention to local perspectives, and vivid writing bring the reader to Java and allow space for the voices of his interlocutors to be heard. ... With his distinctive approach to a spectrum of desirable futures, Daniels productively pushes forward discussions concerning the place of Islam in Java, a subject of intense interest and debate among scholars of Indonesia. ... This book is valuable in many ways. It is particularly relevant and productive for those concerned with cultural politics in Reformation Era Indonesia... At 168 pages of main text, the book is feasible to assign in graduate or upper division undergraduate seminars in anthropology, Southeast Asian Studies, or related fields. ... With his stimulating approach and critical, nuanced perspectives on localization, globalization, equalization, and Javanese Islam, Timothy Daniels has given scholars and students much to digest and debate for years to come.'
American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences
'Islamic Spectrum in Java is a richly detailed account of the intersection between streams of Islam on the one hand and popular cultural forms on the other in post-Suharto Indonesia. ... Readers will find it very accessible. ... Daniels pays close attention and explores the unexpected in his chosen field site. In fact, the most original, insightful and interesting chapters and passages of the book come largely from the moments, events and controversies which emerged while he was in the field... Daniels does a good job of conveying just how diverse a spectrum of voices and movements these reformasi energies have produced.'
Asian Journal of Social Science