Building on, but also going beyond, recent scholarship on the role of religion in histories of Orientalism and Area Studies (e.g. App 2010; Marchand 2009; Paramore 2016), the workshop will investigate how academic and religious forms of knowledge have influenced each other at sites of religion and academia. This approach feeds into the recent recognition and study of the fluid boundaries between formal scholarly knowledge of religion (as developed in academic institutions and museums) and popular and authoritative forms of religious knowledge (Lardinois 2007; Hoesterey 2016; Kahn 2016). In addition, we aim to engage with the forms of critical introspection that have emerged within the growing fields of transnational history and histoire croisée. The recent focus on transnational mobilities and identities has yielded fresh insights into why and how people identify with worlds of ideas, beliefs, and related histories that differ from or compete with official, state-centred histories. It has also, however, had a polishing effect, increasing the risk of constructing idealized and elitist worlds of unified cosmopolitans and of obfuscating the impact of state formation, power relations, and the unsettling or traumatic experiences of regime change, disasters and/or mass violence and repression. By focusing on mechanisms of exchange within the triangle of scholarly study, religious knowledge, and difficult histories, this workshop bring back into focus the edges that have been ironed out in the transnational study of religion, mobility and identity.
The workshop takes place the financial support of KITLV and the Asian Modernities and Traditions Program (AMT) of, and in collaboration with, Leiden University, within the framework of the KITLV Research-cluster ‘Mobility and Identity’, and the Asia-year in Leiden featuring the launch of Leiden University’s Asia-library. It links up with a Round Table held in Cambridge in June 2016, aiming to bring ‘difficult histories’ (back) into debates about transnational mobility of people, ideas, cultural and historical knowledge production, and imaginations of the regions.
Sumit Mandal (University of Nottingham Malaysia)
Martin A. Tsang (University of Miami)
Dianne M. Stewart (Emory University)
Petra Kuivala (University of Helsinki)
Julian Millie (Monash University)
Iris Busschers (University of Groningen)
Wayne Modest (Museum of World Cultures)
Ben Arps (Leiden University)
Nor Ismah (Leiden University)
Jessica Roitman (KITLV)
Tom van den Berge (KITLV)
Marieke Bloembergen (KITLV)
Tom Hoogervorst (KITLV)
David Kloos (KITLV)
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Closed session! Seats are limited: for those who would like to attend, please register at [email protected] and indicate for which panels you are planning to come.