Contemporary Islam

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 259–261 | Cite as

Review of Mark Woodward, Java, Indonesia and Islam

New York: Springer, 2011. xiii + 275 pp. ISBN 978-94-007-0055-0
  • Nancy J. Smith-HefnerEmail author

This volume is a collection of articles written by the author between 1985 and 2010. Theoretically situated between cultural anthropology and religious studies, the essays are based on a careful reading of Indonesian Islamic texts and three decades of ethnographic research in the Sultanate of Yogyakarta in south-central Java, Indonesia. Several of the chapters were previously published, but these have been revised and significantly expanded for this new volume. Two of the book chapters are completely new. All of the essays bear witness to Woodward’s lifelong effort to understand Islam in Java from both a local and trans-regional perspective.

The volume poses two questions at the heart of the contemporary study of Islam in Java: How is Islam understood and lived in Java? (p. v). and how can we best study local variants of trans-cultural religions? (p. 40). In addressing these questions, Woodward focuses his attention on several socio-religious phenomena, including Javanese prayer meals (


Indonesia Islamic ritual Syncretism Prayer 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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