“The Artistic Performance of Islam in Indonesia: From Recitation to Recreation” Resonance and Resistance in Indian Ocean Sound Worlds

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Date(s) - 13/10/2015
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Isaac Brown Seminar Room, Building 55, Ground Floor


“The Artistic Performance of Islam in Indonesia: From Recitation to Recreation”

Resonance and Resistance in Indian Ocean Sound Worlds



Anne K. Rasmussen

The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA



Informed by the circulation of cultural praxis and material goods around the Indian Ocean for the last half millennium, the expression of religion as popular and national culture is an aspect of the Islamisation of Indonesia that is as immediate and contemporary as it is historic and foundational. This presentation outlines a continuum of Indonesian Islamic musical arts, from Quranic recitation to a collection of musical styles that are created and performed by men and women. Together these performance traditions illustrate the routes of cultural exchange between Southeast Asia and the Arab world as well as the extraordinary contributions that Indonesia has to offer to the catalogue of global Islamic arts. Situating Indonesia’s Islamic performance culture alongside that of its Indian Ocean and Arab neighbors helps us to think about how musical meanings are created at the site of reception and how musical practices convey piety, acquiring both exchange and use value in varied cultural contexts. The work is based on more than ten years of research in and publications on women and performance in Islamic Indonesia and new comparative research and scholarship, since 2009, in the coastal nations of the Arabian Peninsula: Yemen and Oman.

Anne K. Rasmussen Bio (2015): 



Anne K. Rasmussen is professor of music and ethnomusicology and the Bickers Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the College of William and Mary where she also directs the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. Her research interests include music of the Arab and Islamicate world, music and multiculturalism in the United States, music patronage and politics, issues of orientalism, nationalism, and gender in music, fieldwork, music performance, and the ethnographic method. Rasmussen received the Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied with A. J. Racy, Timothy Rice, and Nazir Jairazbhoy. Gerard Béhague and Scott Marcus are also among her influential teachers.  


Rasmussen is author of Women, the Recited Qur’an, and Islamic Music in Indonesia (2010); co-editor with David Harnish of Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia (2011), co-editor with Kip Lornell of The Music of Multicultural America (1997, 2015), and editor of a special issue of The World of Music on “The Music of Oman” (2012).  She is author of articles and books chapters in numerous publications and has produced four compact disc recordings. Winner of the Jaap Kunst Prize for best article in published in 2000, she also received the Merriam Prize honorable mention for her 2010 book from the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM). Rasmussen has served that society twice as a board member and was elected SEM president in 2014.