This presentation will explore the spiritual knowledge, or ilmu, that performers imparted on UW professor Christina Sunardi while conducting fieldwork on gamelan music and dance in Malang, east Java from 2005–2007. Sunardi will analyze the importance performers place on ilmu—as substantive, embodiable knowledgeable while also often secret and esoteric—which can be physically transferred from one being or object to another, leading to remarkable abilities. Through their beliefs, practices, and verbal discourse about ilmu, musicians and dancers in Malang maintain and produce local systems of knowledge, transmission, and competence. The presentation will be accompanied by a musical performance by Ki Midiyanto.
Christina Sunardi is an associate professor in the School of Music at the University of Washington and Chair of the Department of Dance. Her interests include performance, identity, gender, and spirituality in Indonesia. She has been studying and performing Javanese music and dance since 1997 in Indonesia and the United States, earning her Ph.D. in music from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007.
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