Lucette Valensi’s extensive work on the social history of the Mediterranean has been, for all its variety of subject and focus, almost continuously concerned which the way in which cultural forms arising within one stream of history, one historic civilization, work out when projected into the interior of another: French and Algerian, Jewish and Muslim, Iberian and Moorish, Venetian and Ottoman. Ideas, sentiments and view of life, ways of being in the world, find some of their most striking, and most diagnostic, expressions far from their point of origin: in the way they color traditions quite other than their own, live with a particular
vividness in a foreign place.
I should like to use this celebratory occasion to practice the difficult art Valensi has so carefully developed, and to cross over an even greater distance and an even broader difference: the Middle East and Southeast Asia. In particular, I wish to consider the role of Islam as a projection of, for want of a better term, “Arabic Culture or “Civilization” into the “Culture” or “Civilization” of Indonesia. This is, admittedly, a subject, at once very hard to focus, more than a bit touchy, and rather grand in scale. But, if only for those reasons, it provides a good “Valensian” subject: a familiar tradition inserted into an unfamiliar place.
More Index: > The Near East in the Far East On Islam in Indonesia
> Centrifugal Islam
> Niche Formation
> Mosque, Market, and School
> The Pesantren Complex
> Nationalism, Reformism, and the Question of Identity
> Permanent Pluralism?