Long Live Victoria

The speaker for the next CRCS&ICRS Wednesday Forum is Sita Hidayah, M.A. Sita Hidayah is CRCS Student. She earned her M.A. at Florida International University in 2007. Her thesis titled ?Religion in the Proper Sense of the Word: The Discourse of ?Agama? in Indonesia?. The topic which will be presented by Sita in the discussion is Long Live Victoria!. The discussion will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at the Graduate School, Gadjah Mada University, third floor, room 306, at 13:00 to 15.00.


” Long Live Victoria!”

This paper is a preface, or perhaps better put as a retrospective, of my thesis ?Religion in the Proper Sense of the Word: The Discourse of ?Agama? in Indonesia?.

This problem of understanding ?agama? in Indonesia has been persistently contained within the religio-political framework. A cultural study of the appropriation of the term ?agama? suggests that the problem of endowing the term ?agama? with a precise definition has the affinity to including political dimensions as well as socio-cultural competition for authority and domination.

This thesis uses the notion of citizenship to critically assessing religious discourse in Indonesia. The discourse of ?agama? here is situated within the triadic discursive sphere of ?agama?, ?adat? and ?kepercayaan?. How ?agama?, ?adat? and ?kepercayaan? are seen in relation to each other is studied using Foucauldian ?genealogy? and ?archeology? framework supplemented by Habermasian scheme of ?discursive citizenship?.

It is only by questioning the familiar, unconscious, unchallenged points of view concerning ?agama? and by elaborating alternatives view of the term that we can unravel the complex historical, political, and sociological appropriation of the term ?agama? and thus begin to carry out the conditions of possibility of emancipator citizenry in Indonesia.

Hurgronje talked about scholars who felt obliged to give justification of their undertakings in studying Islam, Foucault mention about how 19th scholars thought that it advisable to excuse themselves for asking their readers to dwell on matters so trivial and base, sexuality. Between humility and trifling moods, where is ?agama? situated?

Definitely, the term ?agama? has developed beyond its titular definition. It is now more to ?religion? than to ?manual codes?. And more importantly, it is more prescriptive than descriptive term. The discussion of the definition of ?agama? has been associated with the ?moral? and the ?rational?.

We use concept to describe and at the same time, create reality. Is it? Can we easily instill meaning to a heavy-loaded term such as ?agama?? As a religious studies student in Indonesia, what are actually we?re talking about?

This post is also available in: Indonesian


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