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Religious Pluralism in Indonesia

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Kahin Center
640 Stewart Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

The last twenty years have seen Indonesia navigate the rocky waters of post-authoritarian democratic rule, a.k.a. reformasi. This conference seeks to address the state of religious pluralism in the post-Suharto era (1965-1998) with case-studies from across the religious spectrum. Is the Pancasila framework working? Who’s driving the movement for inclusivist practices? And conversely, who is leading exclusivism? What is the relationship between “civil society groups” and the state? How have minorities fared so far? What challenges are they facing? These are some of the questions panelists will be attempting to answer, so to offer a multi-disciplinary perspective on the issue of religious pluralism in Indonesia. Although focused on Indonesia’s own particular realities, this workshop will be of interest to the wider scholarly community at Cornell, as we’ll touch upon issues at the core of the question of how state, citizens and organized civil society interact on the field of religious in/tolerance.


Friday, April 12 


9:30 AM - 10:00 AM      



10:00 AM -10:30 AM     

Opening Remarks: Chiara Formichi, Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, Religious Studies Program, Cornell University 


10:30 AM -12:15 PM     

Panel 1: “Setting the Tone”

Panel Chair: Seema Golestaneh, Assistant Professor, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Religious Studies Program, Cornell University 

Robert W. Hefner, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Boston University, "From Agonistic Plurality to Pluralism? Islamization and Uncivil Democratization in Reformasi Indonesia"

Sidney Jones, Director of Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), Jakarta, "The Rise of Muslim Majoritarianism in Indonesian Politics"


12:15 PM - 1:30 PM       



1:30 PM - 3:00 PM         

Panel 2: “Active Intolerance”

Panel Chair: To Be Announced

Kikue Hamayotsu, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University, "Making the Majority in the Name of Islam: Democratization, Moderate-Radical Coalition and Religious Intolerance in Indonesia"

Evi Lina Sutrisno, Research Fellow at Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) and Center for Religious and Cultural Studies (CRCS), University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, "Hostility among Politicians, Harmony among Common People: The Politicization of Religion, Intolerance, and Local Resistance in Tuban, East Java, Indonesia"

Mona Lohanda: "The Tragedy of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama" (tentative reading of paper by Chiara Formichi as Mona is not able to travel to Ithaca)


3:00 PM - 3:30 PM        

Coffee Break


3:30 PM - 4:30 PM         

Panel 3: “Minorities and Nationalism”

Panel Chair: Andrew Willford, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Religious Studies Program, Cornell University

Lorraine Aragon, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Animism in the Pluriverse: Religious Permeability and Hardscapes in Indonesia"

Silvia Vignato, Associate Professor, Humanities Department, Riccardo Massa, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, "God and the fading datuk: Indonesian-Tamil Hindus and the transformation of neighbourhood relationships in multi-ethnic, multi-religious, Medan"


6:00 PM                



Saturday, April 13

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM       



10:00 AM - 11:00 AM         

Panel 4: “Local and Global”

Panel Chair: Marina Welker, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

James B. Hoesterey, Associate Professor, Department of Religion, Emory University, "Saints, Scholars, and Diplomats: The State of “Moderate Islam” in Indonesia"

Michel Picard, Centre Asie du Sud-Est, CNRS-EHESS-INALCO, Paris, France, "Agama Hindu Under Pressure from Muslim and Christian Proselytizing"


11:00 AM -11:15 AM          

Coffee Break


11:15 AM - 12:15 PM     

Panel 5: “Debating (in)tolerance” 


Panel Chair: Alexandre Pelletier, SSHRC postdoctoral fellow, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University

Christopher R. Duncan, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Rutgers University-Newark, "Dispelling Myths of Religious Pluralism: A Critical Look at Inter-faith Relations in Maluku and North Maluku"

Thomas Pepinsky, Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University, "Islam, Identity, and the Organizational Roots of Political Tolerance"


12:15 PM -12:45 PM      

Concluding Remarks: Chiara Formichi, Department of Asian Studies, Religious Studies Program, Cornell University 


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM         


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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, History, Government, Southeast Asia Program

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