Transoceanic Islams (VW-Project)
This project frames two insular and culturally fragmented societies, Java and Trinidad. In the first part I seek to analyse the historical passages that brought East Indian Islam to the West Indies, based on archival research. In the second part I am concerned with the contemporary forms of contemporary creolized Islam. Both societies are characterised by dense socio-cultural and religious diversities and are homes of 'diasporic Islams', brought to Indonesia by Arab traders and to the Caribbean by West-African slaves and indentured workers from India and Indonesia. I hypothesise that the archipelagic geography is in part responsible for the socio-cultural and religious diversity formulated in the Caribbean notion of 'world asylum', and paralleled by the Indonesian national slogan 'unity in diversity'. I am interested in finding out if creolized forms of Islam render the religion more open to non-heteronormative identities and 'alternative' lifestyles as put forward by orthodox Islam. Whereas research has contributed to understanding Christian denominations and their creolization with local Afro-Caribbean religions, hardly anything is known about the role of Islam in the area.