Minangkabau Culture: Islamic Influence and Matrilineal Traditions


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Arts Program Public Symposium

When: Jan 27 2012 - 2:00pm until Jan 27 2012 - 4:00pm
Where: East-West Center Gallery, Burns Hall

Click here to download the symposium flyer.

The Minangkabau ethnic group is indigenous to the highlands of West Sumatra in Indonesia. This community is traditionally matrilineal and yet holds strong Islamic religious beliefs. In this symposium, four Southeast Asia scholars will address different aspects of this unique culture.

“Randai and its Adaptation at UHM: Insights from the Rehearsal and Production Process” presented by Kirstin Pauka, director of UHM graduate studies in theatre, teaches Southeast Asian theatre history, field research methods, directing, Asian acting styles, and Randai.

“Matriarchy, Islam, Modernity and the Dynamics of Minangkabau History” presented by Jeffrey Hadler, associate professor of Southeast Asian Studies at U.C. Berkeley. He first lived with a Minangkabau family as a high school exchange student . He studied Southeast Asian History at Cornell and taught at the State Islamic University in Jakarta. He authored the book “Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Minangkabau through Jihad and Colonialism.”

 “Institutionalizing the Arts: The Politics of Preservation in West Sumatra” presented by Jennifer Fraser, assistant professor of ethnomusicology and anthropology at Oberlin College. She recently published the article “Pop Song as Custom: Weddings, Ethnicity, and Entrepreneurs in West Sumatra” in Ethnomusicology journal. Her research focuses on the institutionalization of music and issues of ethnicity, gender, media, and Islam among the Minangkabau in West Sumatra and Jakarta.

“Contemporary Minangkabau” presented by Edy Utama, noted author of several books on Minangkabau life and customs. He is a photographer, cultural activist, and writer based in West Sumatra. He serves as the coordinator for Community Care Network of West Sumatran Traditions and the head music teacher of Contemporary Music of Talago Muni Minangkabau.

This symposium is presented in conjunction with the East-West Center Gallery’s Exhibition Minangkabau Processions of Sumatra and is partially sponsored by Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and the Hawaii Council for the Humanities.


Primary Contact Info:
Name: Eric Chang
Phone: 808-944-7177
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