Organized Panel Session
O.W. Wolters, Sheldon Pollock, and Ronit Ricci have made “localization,” “vernacularization,” and “translation” keywords for scholars who study the ways in which ideas from India and the Middle East have been transmitted to Java and then “Javanized” within literary texts. But how this trans-global process of “literary Javanization” has occurred in different literary genres across time is barely understood. The papers in this two-part panel examine the interplay between Javanese-Islamic ideas and practices, literary genres, and characterization. In the first panel Tony Day, Judith Bosnak and Els Bogaerts examine representations of Javanese culture in three texts from the nineteenth century in which vividly-drawn everyday characters, journeys through Java, and historical memories test generic categories and Islam as sources of “Javanese” identity during a period of intensifying colonization. In the second panel, in which the papers span the late sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, Ben Arps argues that affective states are key to understanding characterization and plot in the most famous Islamic epic story still popular in Java today, the adventures of Amir Hamza. Willem van der Molen examines another famous ancient hero, Panji, a figure from the pre-Mulsim past who is given new, but not entirely “Islamic,” life in an early nineteenth-century poem. Finally, Nancy Florida returns to the multifaceted, genre-defying poetic masterpiece, the Serat Centhini, discussed by Tony Day in the first panel, to explore a performance of Sufi devotionalism as an epic journey across early nineteenth-century Java in search of love and knowledge finally draws to a close.