Gender Diversity in Indonesia

Sexuality, Islam and Queer Selves

By Sharyn Graham Davies

© 2010 – Routledge

262 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415695930
pub: 2011-11-03
US Dollars$54.95
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Hardback: 9780415375696
pub: 2010-02-14
US Dollars$165.00
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Indonesia provides particularly interesting examples of gender diversity. Same-sex relations, transvestism and cross-gender behaviour have long been noted amongst a wide range of Indonesian peoples. This book explores the nature of gender diversity in Indonesia, and with the world’s largest Muslim population, it examines Islam in this context. Based on extensive ethnographic research, it discusses in particular calalai – female-born individuals who identify as neither woman nor man; calabai – male-born individuals who also identify as neither man nor woman; and bissu – an order of shamans who embody female and male elements. The book examines the lives and roles of these variously gendered subjectivities in everyday life, including in low-status and high-status ritual such as wedding ceremonies, fashion parades, cultural festivals, Islamic recitations and shamanistic rituals. The book analyses the place of such subjectivities in relation to theories of gender, gender diversity and sexuality.

Reviews

"Gender Diversity in Indonesia is a landmark work that combines careful ethnographic research with cutting-edge gender theory … a profound contribution to a range of disciplines, including anthropology, feminist theory, queer theory, and Southeast Asian Studies."

Professor Tom Boellstorff, University of California, Irvine, USA

"…a wonderfully rich account that reveals the everyday lives of variously gendered individuals, as well as their subjectivities and integration into and tensions with the larger society, Islam and the nation-state. The material is original and without rival."

Associate Professor Evelyn Blackwood, Purdue University, USA

"…an important contribution to sexuality/gender studies cross-culturally as well as more particularly to Southeast Asian studies, filling a gap in the limited literature on gender in Indonesia."

Associate Professor Peter Jackson, Australian National University

"…an original, critical contribution to both gender studies and Indonesian studies."

Professor Saskia Wieringa, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

"Indonesia’s linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity, of which Indonesians are always proud, is here given another dimension: gender. Gender Diversity in Indonesia is a joy to read."

Dr Dédé Oetomo, GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation, Indonesia

Indonesia provides particularly interesting examples of gender diversity. Same-sex relations, transvestism and cross-gender behaviour have long been noted amongst a wide range of Indonesian peoples. This book explores the nature of gender diversity in Indonesia, and with the world’s largest Muslim population, it examines Islam in this context. Based on extensive ethnographic research, it discusses in particular calalai – female-born individuals who identify as neither woman nor man; calabai – male-born individuals who also identify as neither man nor woman; and bissu – an order of shamans who embody female and male elements. The book examines the roles of these variously gendered subjectivities in everyday rituals, both low-status and high-status, such as wedding ceremonies, fashion parades, cultural festivals, Islamic recitations and shamanistic rituals. The book analyses the place of such intersexed identities in relation to theories of gender, gender diversity and sexuality.

Table of Contents

1. Framing Place and Process 2. Contextualizing Gender 3. Queer(y)ing Transgender 4. Gendering the Present Past 5. Gendering Life 6. Calalai Subject Positions 7. Calabai Subject Positions 8. Bissu Subject Positions

About the Author

Sharyn Graham Davies is Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. She has spent a number of years living in Indonesia and has written extensively on gender and sexuality, including most recently Challenging Gender Norms: Five Genders among Bugis in Indonesia, Thompson Wadsworth, 2007.

About the Series

ASAA Women in Asia Series

The primary aim of this important series is to publish original, high quality work on all aspects of women in Asia. Submissions are welcomed from prospective authors, both new and established scholars, working in any appropriate discipline, and should in the first instance be sent to the series editor. Email: louise.edwards@unsw.edu.au

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC000000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / General
SOC008000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies