CSEAS/MAI Seminar Series presents: Dry rice farming, Islamic heroes and regional politics: the art of beluk in the past and present

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Date(s) - 17/10/2013
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Gallery Building 55 Clayton Campus




Dry-rice farming, Islamic heroes and regional politics: the art of beluk in the past and present




Neneng Y Khozanatu Lahpan


When? 1-2.30 on October 17, 2013.


Where? Elizabeth Burchill Room/Arts Meeting Room, Ground Floor, bld. 55, Monash Clayton (50 metres to the northeast from the busloop)


Beluk is an ancient vocal art of the Sundanese people of West Java. Its origins lie in agricultural activity, when it functioned as a communication tool among farmers in dry rice farming (huma). The genre later became a vehicle for performance of Islamic narratives written in Sundanese literary genres. In contemporary times, however, beluk has become emblematic of Sundanese ‘tradition’, and is being given new meanings in urban contexts. In this paper, I introduce the art form, using examples, and trace the recent developments that have given new meanings to beluk.




Neneng Y Khozanatu Lahpan is PhD candidate in Anthropology at Monash University. Prior to her PhD study, she completed her master degree in Literature Studies at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta Indonesia (2002) and her undergraduate study in Arabic Literature at the Islamic State University (Universitas Islam Negeri/UIN) Bandung Indonesia (1999). She is an ongoing lecturer in Department of Karawitan (Sundanese Music) Indonesian Art College, STSI Bandung, West Java Indonesia since 2006. Having background in literature studies, she develops her interest in culture and performing arts issues. Her PhD research project entitled “Islamic Performing Arts as Negotiation Space between Islam and Sundanese Culture in West Java Indonesia”.