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.
Mimicking a rock concert, I had to pre-book my space for the Hillsong service online before attending. Once on-site, I was scanned in by ushers with radios and shown to the seat listed on my ticket. Doors opened to the venue 30 minutes prior to the beginning of service, there was a sound desk, a series of serious-looking cameras and a small team of staff dressed in black managing the audio and visual aids for the accessible service. I was seated in the middle of what was previously the mosh pit. Chipped wooden floors vibrated beneath my boots as the congregation cheered and stamped their feet welcoming the leading band onto the stage to a well-produced modern video of young people running through the streets of London in search of their faith to a timed light show. If the sing-a-long style lyrics and catchy musical riffs weren’t about Jesus, I would have mistaken my being at a rock concert rather than a church service.
"We were bringing the voices of people that didn't get inside the building, inside the building and making them count. And I took that as an incredible responsibility, that you should give those voices weight and dignity and power." We are excited to announce that this is the FIRST EPISODE OF OUR STS SERIES! The goal … Continue reading Ep. #32 ‘Hula Hoops not Bicycles’: Genevieve Bell talks Anthropology, Technology & Building the Future
In this case, I caught a brief moment of anticipation: a troop of men walking single file through the forest, carrying fresh-cut throwing staves called bhole, preparing to raid the villages of their friends and neighbors and steal away their chickens and produce.