Wedforum: Paranormal Practitioners and Popular Religion in Contemporary Java

Wednesday Forum (Wedforum)


Paranormal Practitioners and Popular Religion in Contemporary Java


September 26, 2012 (12:30 – 14:30pm)



In Java, popular non-institutionalized paranormal practices have undergonea process of rapid development in recent years. The transcendent world ofspirits has in many ways become modernized and mediatized. Alternativehealers, spiritual practitioners and diviners offer support for business andcareers, political elections, love and health. They make innovative use ofmany traditions (Javanese, Islamic, Chinese, Christian, cosmopolitan),

thereby translating and integrating them. By doing so, they transcend theborders of religions, ethnicity and gender. Drawing on an ethnographicapproach, this talk argues that such popularized and commercialized magicalpractices shape social relationships in everyday life and translate

practical problems into mystical, transcendent idioms that fit within amodern, globalized world.



Prof. Dr. Judith SchleheJudith

Judith Schlehe is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1987 and finished her Habilitation in 1997. She has published widely on the topics of cultural globalization and intercultural issues, gender, religious dynamics, the anthropology of disaster, popular forms of representing cultures, and new approaches to transnational collaboration in the context of diverse academic cultures. A current research project is on images of “the West” in Asia (“Beyond Occidentalism”), another on “Staging Historical Lifeworlds in Theme and Culture Parks: Reflections of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ in European-Asian comparison.” Her regional specialisation is on Southeast Asia, and she has conducted extensive fieldwork in Indonesia and Mongolia.

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