Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

Technology Desires Spirituality: The Flourishing of Religiously-inspired Science, Medicine, Commodity and Infrastructure in Indonesia and Taiwan

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor

This panel examines the cases of religiously-inspired technology and their trans-local history in Indonesia and Taiwan. Our goal is to enrich social studies of science, technology, and medicine by further linking it with research on rich religious experiences in Asia. In doing so, we highlight the “co-production” (Jasanoff 2004) between material/objects’ agency (Latour 1987, Miller 2005) and religious reasoning (Bowen 2003, Hefner 2009), exploring a variety of technology inspired by Islamic reasoning about purity, Christian notions of prosperity, and indigenous aspiration to moral-material success. These practices are diligently—though often with great ambiguity and latent anxiety—performed on the human body, non-human species, inanimate things, and infrastructural landscapes. From the making of halal science that involves ethno/religious politics and the Shafi’i Islamic school of thought in the Indo-Malay world, the “Prophetic Medicine” in Java that combines Quranic verses and cupping techniques influenced by Arab and Chinese practices, the manufacturing of non-food and beverage halal commodities such as halal tissue paper in Indonesia, to the cultivation of indigenized Christian faith with water pipes and solar panels in Eastern Taiwan; these are illuminating cases that effortlessly dodge the rigid binary of spirituality and materiality. Although our current research subjects are in Indonesia and Taiwan for now, our interests appeal to others far beyond these regions. 

Send Email for En-Chieh Chao

Send Email for En-Chieh Chao

Send Email for En-Chieh Chao

Send Email for Emma Nolan-Thomas

Send Email for Zainal Anwar

Send Email for Yi-tze Lee

Send Email for Renny Thomas


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Send Email for Technology Desires Spirituality: The Flourishing of Religiously-inspired Science, Medicine, Commodity and Infrastructure in Indonesia and Taiwan