Sumarsam Honored by Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Education

Wesleyan Professor, author, and gamelan master, Sumarsam, is being offered an award by the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Education for his achievements in developing gamelan and sharing Indonesian culture.  For more information, click here.

Sumarsam, who is celebrating his 45th year at Wesleyan, teaches conference participants about gamelan. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Sumarsam, who is celebrating his 45th year at Wesleyan, teaches conference participants about gamelan. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Call for Papers: Asia and the Anthropocene

Call for Papers

“Asia and the Anthropocene” 

The AAS is pleased to invite applications to participate in the second of three workshops in its series “Emerging Fields in the Study of Asia” supported by the Luce Foundation. The second workshop, “Asia and the Anthropocene,” will take place August 23-27, 2018 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The purpose of this gathering is to explore the emerging concept of the Anthropocene through shared readings and collective conversations about how scholars of Asia might best respond to the scientific proposal of a new geological epoch. The selection committee seeks bold ideas and broadly framed research papers that grapple with the challenges posed by this new understanding of planetary conditions. Participants will present short papers (20-30 pages, double spaced, including notes) designed to further this new field of study, leaving ample time for discussion. We will also read and discuss certain key texts that are relevant to this emerging field. The workshop will include a field trip to a location to be determined.

The goal of this workshop is to explore a range of ways in which scholars in non-science fields might draw on their regional expertise to engage with the dramatic paradigm shift that sees human beings as a planet-changing species. We welcome a broad range of participants to this workshop but are especially interested in scholars early in their careers (including doctoral students) and scholars based in Asia. Participation will be limited to a maximum of 12 people plus members of the planning committee. While AAS membership is not required for application, if accepted to the workshop participants must become members of the Association for Asian Studies. Papers presented at the workshop may be selected for presentation at a panel at the annual meeting of the AAS and/or for publication (subject to peer review) in a leading journal in the field of Asian Studies.

Definition of the Anthropocene

The concept of the Anthropocene arose among Earth System scientists, explicitly as a geological term, to describe the unprecedented anthropogenic transformation of the Earth System. It can be measured in three complementary ways—through the “planetary boundaries” concept proposed by Johan Rockström and colleagues, the “great acceleration” proposed by Will Steffen and colleagues, and, most explicitly, through the planetary stratum (GSSP) marking the shift from the Holocene Epoch, which is now under consideration by the Anthropocene Working Group. While human beings have always been biological and ecological agents transforming our environment, for the first time ever our species has become a geological force irreversibly altering the Earth System and thus changing the conditions for all living organisms. The date proposed by the scientific community for this rupture is the mid-twentieth century. The challenge for Asianists in non-science disciplines is threefold: to understand this science, to grapple with what the Anthropocene means for Asia, and to explore what it means for our various disciplines.

Issues of the Anthropocene for Scholars of Asia

This proposed new geological epoch has many ramifications for the study of Asia and there is, so far, little consensus about how humanists and social scientists in Asian studies should respond. But, undoubtedly, thinking about Asia is essential for thinking about the Anthropocene because of its sheer weight—in geographical size and population—in world affairs. This workshop seeks to refocus the exclusively Eurocentric lens through which the Anthropocene is often understood by non-scientists.

Among the topics of interest, although certainly not limited to these, are the following questions:

(1) How does understanding the Anthropocene as the result of collective human forces change the relationship between the sciences, on the one hand, and the humanities and social sciences on the other? Some have argued that since human and natural forces have merged, the natural sciences and human-centered studies should merge, while other scholars promote disciplinary pluralism.

(2) What political, social, and economic forces have led to the Anthropocene? Among the answers currently proposed are inequality, industrialization, developmentalism, capitalism, imperialism, globalization, and population growth.

(3) When did these forces emerge and/or become unstoppable? Some point to such things as the invention of fire, agriculture, or industrialization; still others emphasize contingent developments either in the distant past or more recently. Each framing creates a different understanding not only of the origins of the Anthropocene and Asia’s relation to it but also of our capacity to mitigate its effects.

(4) Which cultural, religious, and intellectual constructs have led to the overshoot of earth systems, and which might help us to meet the challenge of our changed conditions?

(5) Are there new forms of community, politics, and economic activity in Asia that might bring hope through adaptation and resilience?


The summer workshop is supported by a generous grant from the Luce Foundation. Expenses for travel, room, and board will be covered for all participants for the duration of the workshop.

How to Apply

Scholars wishing to participate in the 2018 summer workshop are asked to submit via email an abstract of no more than two pages (single-spaced, 12 point font), accompanied by a CV of no more than two pages to AAS Executive Director Michael Paschal at In addition to a short description of the specific issues to be addressed in the proposed paper, the abstract should explain how these issues speak to the larger question of Asia and the Anthropocene.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of senior scholars who have agreed to act as mentors for the workshop. Questions about the application process or administrative matters should be directed to Michael Paschal at the address listed above. Questions about topic suitability or other substantive issues may be addressed to the organizer, Arjun Guneratne, at

The deadline for applications is October 2, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified by November 6.

CAORC Applications Now Open

CAORC is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 fellowship applications are now available online! Please find further details below. 

NEH Senior Research Fellowship Program

The CAORC National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Research Fellowship Program supports advanced research in the humanities for US postdoctoral scholars, and foreign national postdoctoral scholars who have been residents in the US for three or more years. Fellowship stipends are $4,200 per month for a total of four months.


Applicants must:
  • carry out research in a country which hosts a participating American overseas research center. Eligible countries for 2018 are: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cyprus, Georgia, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal, Sri Lanka or Tunisia;
  • be postdoctoral scholars;
  • be US citizens or foreign nationals who have been residents in the US for three years prior to the application deadline.


Applications for the NEH Senior Research Fellowship Program are now available at

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018 and announcements are expected to be made by the end of April 2018. More information can be found here.  

Multi-Country Research Fellowship Program

The CAORC Multi-Country Research Fellowship Program supports advanced regional or transregional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for US doctoral candidates and scholars who have already earned their PhD. Preference will be given to candidates examining comparative and/or cross-regional research. Scholars must carry out research in two or more countries outside the US, at least one of which hosts a participating American overseas research center. Approximately eight awards of up to $10,500 each will be given each year.


Applicants must:
  • be a US citizen. Proof of citizenship (photocopy of passport) must be shown upon award notification;
  • have a PhD or be a doctoral candidate who has completed all PhD requirements with the exception of the dissertation;
  • be engaged in the study of and research in the humanities, social sciences, and allied natural sciences;
  • seek to conduct research of regional or trans-regional significance in two or more countries outside the US, one of which must host a participating American overseas research center (AORC). Please note travel is currently restricted by the U.S. Department of State to the following AORC countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen.


Applications for the Multi-Country Research Fellowship Program are now available at

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018 and announcements are expected to be made by the end of April 2018. More information can be found here.  

CAORC Member Centers represent the following countries:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen

CAORC’s Multi-Country Research Fellowship and NEH Senior Research Fellowship

CAORC’s Multi-Country Research Fellowship and NEH Senior Research Fellowship will be opening for applications this Friday, September 1 with a deadline of midnight on January 31, 2018.  For those interested, you can find out more information about the fellowship programs here: Applications will be available in Fluid Review:


Open Forum

The Internationalization of Indonesian Arts & Gamelan in the U.S. and Other Countries

Location and information:

Open Forum on:  Thursday, September 7, 2017:09:30 - 11:30 am; (Registration starts at 9:00)


Ruang Recital, Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ)
Gedung Musik Lt. 4, Fakultas Seni Pertunjukan
Kompleks Taman Ismail Marzuki No. 73
Jalan Cikini Raya, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
(IKJ Campus and room entrance is located
on the narrow road left side of the XXI CinePlex TIM)


The Internationalization of Indonesian Arts & Gamelan in the U.S. and Other Countries

Globalization brought forth many opportunities for Indonesia, including the unanticipated prospect of cultural influence abroad through performance arts. The internationalization of Indonesian arts, either musical instruments, dance and visual arts, have been well-accepted by many countries including in the U.S.

For musical instruments, the gamelan specifically, there are close to two hundred sets of the instruments in the United States as of 2017, many of which maintain consistent performing groups. Furthermore, gamelan and its related arts now enjoy healthy affinity groups around the world, in places such Australia, the British Isles, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand, to name a few. As gamelan has traveled to different parts of the world, it simultaneously carries with it parts of its cultural heritage from Indonesia and acquires new meaning overseas.

This forum explores some of the characteristics of the presence of gamelan in the United States, as well as the intersections of gamelan music and experimental composition. Using the case study of Gamelan Son of Lion, founded in 1976 and still active today, Mr. Jay M. Arms displays how they helped lead the way in developing a repertoire of American music for gamelan that draws on elements of Javanese and Balinese gamelan with American experimental music. Gamelan Son of Lion is among the oldest and longest running gamelan ensembles to champion new composition for gamelan in the United States.

Dr. Julianti Parani and Mr. Jay M. Arms will also cover central questions regarding the future of the Indonesian performance arts abroad: What are the forces shaping the future of Indonesian cultural presence in the international world? What kind of push and pull exists in creating gamelan and other Indonesian arts as global art forms? What kinds of artistic and cultural practices are shared across different communities in the U.S. and Indonesia? How will performance art serve and contribute towards the strengthening of Indonesia's bilateral relationship with the United States?

For those who are interested in academic journal writing, please join us for a short and collaborative workshop session subsequently (10:30 - 11:30) on Tips and Techniques for Academic Journal Writing.
To register, please kindly RSVP HERE: email to, or contact +62 813 1129 8780 no later than September 4, 2017 at 5:00 PM to attend this Open Forum.   

Speakers' Bio:

Jay M. Arms is a Ph.D candidate in cultural musicology track and teaching assistant at University of California, Santa Cruz. In the past seven years, he has pursued research for his dissertation entitled "Gamelan as World Citizen: American Experimental Music and the Internationalization of Gamelan" (expected 2018). His expertise and interests include experimental music, gamelan, improvisation, music and politics, 20th century music, musical instruments and musical communities. He currently serves as the Associate Editor of Balungan: The Journal of the American Gamelan Institute (AGI), an annual peer-reviewed journal dedicated to gamelan and its related arts around the world. He's presented his research at the Society for American Music (SAM), the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), The Northern California Chapter of the American Musicological Society (NCCAMS), the International Society of Minimalist Music (MinSoc), and the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM). 

Jay's publications as sole author has been published in The Open Space Magazine, Tempo, and The Bulletin for the Society for American Music. Jay has received multiple honors and awards, including Arts Divisions Dean's Award for best presentation in the 2017 US Santa Cruz Graduate Research Symposium. 

As a musician, Jay is an active performer of contemporary music for guitar, presenting new works by composers such as Jack Body, Cornelius Cardew, Nikita Koshkin, Nick Norton, and Martin Rokeach. As a gamelan performer, Jay has studied Sundanese gamelan with Undang Sumarna since 2014 and Central Javanese gamelan with Midiyanto S. Putro since 2017, performing with both groups regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dr. Julianti Parani, is a lecturer, cultural and historical researcher, dancer, and choreographer with more than four decades of experience. She teaches Cultural Studies in Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ). She acquired her Southeast Asian Studies Doctorate from the National University of Singapore. Her dissertation, "National Culture and Ethnic Cultures: Government Policy and Performing Arts in 20th Century Indonesia," honed in on the relationship among Indonesian nationalism, identity, and the continuing cultural debate surrounding official cultural policy in Indonesia. She is currently a Board Member for ARTS FISSION, the longest incorporated contemporary dance company in Singapore. 

Since 1960, she has choreographed dances culturally influenced by Indonesian ethnic culture performed both domestically and internationally. Her passion to elevate Betawinese culture artistically, as well as through scholarship, led her to produce new dance works as well as a compendium of publications. She has published a book titled Bunga Rampai Seni Pertunjukan Kebetawian (Potpourri of Betawinese Performing Arts) and written articles in Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse.

In 1992, she assisted in the creation of Indonesian Dance Festival (IDF) along with other notable figures, such as Farida Oetoyo, Sardono W Kusumo and Tom Ibnur. After deepening her study by working at the Republic of Indonesia National Archives for thirty years, she retired in 1995. She received an award from the local DKI Jakarta government as a dance practitioner for her cultural expertise and Satya Lencana award from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.

The United States-Indonesia Society's mission is strengthening mutual understanding between the United States and Indonesia, enhancing the bilateral relationship, and deepening the U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership. We implement our mission through public discussions in each country and long-term bi-national programs in the education, legislative, and other sectors, including the US-Indonesia Joint Council on Higher Education Partnership and the newly-created Indonesia-U.S. Council on Religion and Pluralism.


USINDO Summer Studies Program in Indonesia

 The United States – Indonesia Society (USINDO) is sharing information about the 2018 USINDO Summer Studies Program in Indonesia (May 24 - August 2, 2018), and no accepting applications from interested parties. 

As the most dynamic emerging economy in Southeast Asia, the largest Muslim-majority country, third largest democratic country and one of the most diverse countries in the world, Indonesia is an important country for the U.S and in Asia. The USINDO Summer Studies program aims to provide American students with the language ability, political awareness, culture sensitivity and understanding of this increasingly significant country. For the past 23 years, USINDO has hosted an intensive ten-week language and cultural immersion program, held in Yogyakarta for U.S. university students, currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program, as well as recent graduates (within 6 months) of any accredited U.S. college or university.

During the Summer Studies Program, students will take classes in reading, writing, and speaking Indonesian language for 20 hours every week and experience living with local Indonesian host families and. In addition to the language course, the program will include short volunteer work opportunities with local organizations in Yogyakarta, cultural events, guest lectures, and field trips so that students may further immerse themselves in Indonesian culture and increase their knowledge of Indonesia. At the end of the Yogyakarta program, the students will spend three days in Jakarta, where they will have the opportunity to meet with senior government officials, business and NGO leaders, to discuss contemporary issues facing Indonesia.

For more information please visit the USINDO website ( Applications are due on February 8, 2018. Click here for a PDF for more information about USINDO.  Should you have any question or further inquiries, please contact us at or  


New Publication

Former AIFIS Fellow Brian Arnold recently published a book on contemporary fine art photography in Java.  The book was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.  This is exhibition is the first in the United States devoted to work by Indonesian photographers.  The book was co-published by Afterhours Books in Jakarta and Cornell University in the United States.

Those interested in the book, it is available in Indonesia from Afterhours Books, and in the United States at Photo Eye Books.