Jathilan Dance: Experiencing the Spirits

yelling, crawling and rolling. Later, they begin to show some animal-like behavior: hissing, roaring and moving on all fours. This is my fieldwork. The place is Java, the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Pawang is a kind of ritual specialist believed to be capable of controlling animals, spirits, and other invisible forces. But more commonly, or so it seems, pawangs apply their powers in controlling possession or inducing and then ending the state of trance during jathilan dance. This dance is the focus of my attention. And this research is my second shot at trying to have an academic career. I came a long way: from the field as abstract as the history of Western philosophy and the land as distant as Russia. Running away from minimal wages, long teaching hours, and impossibly high expectations about presenting and publishing, I found my new passion as far away from the notions of enlightened modernity or cynical postmodernity as possible.

Special ANSA Collaboration: Hanne Worsoe & Romy Listo on Fieldwork Trauma in & Outsider Witnessing

The Familiar Strange · Special ANSA Collaboration: Hanne Worsoe and Romy Listo on Fieldwork Trauma and Outsider Witnessing This week we bring you a special collaboration between The Familiar Strange and the Australian Network of Student Anthropologists or ANSA. In this special collaboration, Familiar Stranger Alex sits down with Hanne Worsoe and Dr Romy Listo … Continue reading Special ANSA Collaboration: Hanne Worsoe & Romy Listo on Fieldwork Trauma in & Outsider Witnessing

Ep #74 Colonialism & Monsters:Yasmine Musharbash on Monster Anthropology & Social Transformation

The Familiar Strange · Ep #74 Colonialism & Monsters: Yasmine Musharbash on Monster Anthropology & Social Transformation This week Clair brings you an interview with Dr Yasmine Musharbash! Dr. Yasmine Musharbash is a senior lecturer at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University. Her fieldwork is based in central Australia, and … Continue reading Ep #74 Colonialism & Monsters:Yasmine Musharbash on Monster Anthropology & Social Transformation

Holding Belief in Suspense

Some months ago, I went for an early morning run with a mate at my fieldsite. After a short trot together, she left for work, and I decided – against all advice from my adopted Aboriginal family and many others – to put off my fieldnotes and continue a few more kilometres on the road alone. A short way up, I saw in the distance a lone figure seemingly dancing about on the road. I was all at once entranced, curious, astonished, and frightened. I turned and returned speedier than ever before!