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Sex and Transgression as Ways to God in 19th Century Java: Hindu-Muslim Encounters

November 17, 2016 @ 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Space is limited, and registration is required.  Register here.

The Suluk Lonthang, an example of Javanese Islamic Suluk poetry from the 19th century, exemplifies the relations of sexual transgression and the subversion of gender roles to the status of holy men and women in nineteenth century Java. The poem tells the scandalous story of a renegade saint who disrupts the Islamic observance of a Javanese town with his lewd behavior and ridicule of its pious inhabitants, yet is commended as an example by the Muslim narrator.

Speakers will include:

  • Andrea Acri: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris
  • Terenjit Sevea: Nalanda Srivijaya Center, ISEAS, Singapore
  • Edwin Wieringa: University of Cologne
  • Verena Meyer: Columbia University


1.30–1.45: Opening remarks

1.45–2.30: “On the Tantric Roots of Some Javanese Performing Characters”, Andrea Acri (École Pratique des Hautes Études)

2.30–3.15 “A Pedagogy of Transgression: Toward a Ghazalian Reading of the Suluk Lonthang”, Verena Meyer (Columbia University)

3.15–3.45: Coffee break

3.45–4.30: “Realising the Penis of Muhammad and Ali: Sex as the Way to God in Nineteenth Century Malaya”, Terenjit Sevea (Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre & University of Pennsylvania)

4.30–5.15: “Javanese Suluk Poems and their Co-texts: A Homogeneous Continuum”, Edwin Wieringa (University of Köln)

5.15–5.30: Concluding remarks

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life and the American Academy of Religion.


November 17, 2016
1:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Category:


International Affairs Building, Room 270B
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027 United States
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