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This month’s newsletter features two essays reflecting on recent Indonesian political issues; two articles on the film Our Land is the Sea; a book review; and two reports of the recent CRCS activities in Eastern Indonesia. The CRCS-ICRS weekly Wednesday Forum will start next week.


Identity politics is inevitable and not necessarily bad

As expected, both candidates running for the 2019 Indonesian presidential election are playing the identity card. Some scholars have argued that identity politics are an inevitable part of democracy, and whether they are good or bad depends on such things as whether the invocation of identity involves hatred against certain communities. (Indonesian)


Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has never been in a stronger position. But its close attachment to a political party runs the risk of undermining its supposed role as a "social religious organization”, while religious conservatism is creeping in from grassroots communities associated with the organization. (Indonesian)

Our Land is the Sea, a film about a Bajau family facing drastic cultural and environmental change, premiered at @America in Jakarta on August 8, 2018. This report details the discussion held after the screening. (Indonesian)

Modernity has some features that threaten the sustainability of the ancestral beliefs held by traditional communities that determine their relationship with their environments. This is discussed in a review of the film Our Land is the Sea, originally published in Indonesian daily Kompas. (Indonesian)

Instead of encouraging religious freedom and overcoming the problem of the subordination of religious minorities, political secularism can aggravate religious conflicts since its majority-minority framework nurtures inequality. This is a review of Saba Mahmood’s Religious Difference in a Secular Age (2015). (Indonesian)

During UGM’s Community Resilience and Economic Development (CaRED) program in Papua, students volunteered for several community programs, including a waste management project that serves as a medium for interreligious encounters and peacebuilding. The CaRED program was held by CRCS in cooperation with local NGO Ilalang Papua.

This month CRCS UGM collaborated with the Bulukumba regional environmental and forestry offices to hold an Ecotourism-Aware Group Training (Pelatihan Kelompok Sadar Ekowisata) for the youth of the Ammatoa Kajang community. (Indonesian)


The CRCS-ICRS Wednesday Forum this semester will commence on September 12. The first speaker is a CRCS alumnus and UGM lecturer Achmad Munjid who will explore how the roles and positions of al-Aqsa in Jerusalem have changed across different periods of time. The Wednesday Forum is held weekly and is free and open to the public.

CRCS Newsletter of September 2018

The Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies (CRCS) is a Master's Degree program in Religious Studies and a research center at the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM).
Gedung Sekolah Pascasarjana UGM Floors 3 & 4
Jl. Teknika Utara, Pogung, Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: + 62274-544976. Email:



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Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies (CRCS), Universitas Gadjah Mada · Gedung Sekolah Pascasarjana UGM Lantai III – IV, Jalan Teknika Utara, Pogung · Yogyakarta 55281 · Indonesia

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