Understanding Islam in Indonesia

Kathryn Robinson (The Australian National University)


Until the 1990s, Geetz’s Religion of Java dominated anthropological understanding on Islam in Java and Indonesia generally. James Fox supervised a range of PhD theses investigating local Islamic practices in Java and as a body of work, they produced a nuanced and complex picture of everyday religious practice which challenged many of the prevailing ides in anthropology. Taking this model, three of James ’Foxs former students (Robinson, McWilliam) and Winn) all researchers of eastern Indonesia, undertook an ARC Discovery project entitled ‘being Muslim in Eastern Indonesia to pursue similar questions in a variety of settings across tee aster archipelago. (James Fox was a Partner Investigator on this project as well ). Many of the local’s studies were conducted by PhD scholars and, as with Fox’s students working on Jva, in the 1990, many were most had a strong background in religious studies which informed their ethnographic enquires. This paper reports on the findings of the project and links them to the earlier ANU-based studies of Islam in Java.