Karimunjawa reflections

Back from a few days in Karimunjawa. A rest from the city and the noise and laptop screens. This is the third time I’ve been to Karimun, a tiny outcrop of islands in the middle of the sea between Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Its central position is highlighted by the different communities who call theContinue reading “Karimunjawa reflections”

Love in the Time of Corona

They were both sitting on the sofa. In the background, the clock ticked, a gentle reminder that time was actually moving, and a few cicadas called out as if to prove life still went on without them. It was day twelve—perhaps already thirteen—of self-isolation, and the initial novelty of cooking and cleaning and pretending toContinue reading “Love in the Time of Corona”

Tales of the Pandemic: The quiet before Ramadan in Yogyakarta

I live on the outskirts of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. To the north, travelling through small settlements, food outlets and rice fields, one reaches the now (alarmingly) puffing Mount Merapi. To the south lies the centre of the city: the tourist attractions of the Tugu statue, Malioboro Street, the palace where the Sultan lives –Continue reading “Tales of the Pandemic: The quiet before Ramadan in Yogyakarta”

Reflecting on 2019: Indigenous languages and religions

2019 marked the United Nations’ Year of Indigenous Languages, a year designed to “recognize and acknowledge the range, diversity and global value of languages as well as the critical and endangered status of many individual languages around the world, the vast majority of them being indigenous languages”. Language is not solely about vocabulary and grammar structuresContinue reading “Reflecting on 2019: Indigenous languages and religions”

Sentimental Moments, Shared Songs and Ngayogjazz

For me, one of the best ways to get to know a place is to know what songs everyone in a group can come together and sing. In the UK, it’s probably Mr Brightside by the Killers, a handful of Queen songs, Gloria Gaynor, or perhaps Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis. Whether weContinue reading “Sentimental Moments, Shared Songs and Ngayogjazz”

Forging Sacred Spaces through Sound: the Matua Community

Studying the ‘sound’ of religion has long been the domain of ethnomusicologists and anthropologists, but not so much the discipline of Religious Studies itself. Yet religion is never solely experienced visually; it involves ritual, singing, chanting, breathing, bell ringing, murmuring, and the vibrations and sensations that come with such sounds. That was one of theContinue reading “Forging Sacred Spaces through Sound: the Matua Community”

The Journey of ‘Ketchup’

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘ketchup’? If you’re in the UK or US, it’s most likely ketchup will make your mouth tingle a little with the impression of the sweet and tangy tomato sauce you eat with chips, probably from the iconic Heinz bottle. The red sauceContinue reading “The Journey of ‘Ketchup’”

Co-creatureliness as a narrative of ethics in the Anthropocene

13 September 2019 Creeping its way into everyday discourse is the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in which humans have been the dominant influence on the Earth’s environment and climate, unfortunately with unsustainable activities and damaging effects. As these effects become increasingly visible in our modern world, the question remains how we as a worldwideContinue reading “Co-creatureliness as a narrative of ethics in the Anthropocene”