What does it mean to be a modern Muslim today? In contemporary discourse Islam and modernity are often presented as each other’s opposites in media and popular culture.
Southeast Asia has a large Muslim population, especially in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, but Islamic culture in these states is conspicuously absent from the wider global discourse on Islam. With a focus on popular culture in Indonesia – a country that houses the world’s largest Muslim population and that is also undergoing modernisation –Islamic Modernities in Southeast Asia will demonstrate how Islamic modernities are being negotiated and constructed through popular and visual culture from a trans-regional perspective. Looking at a variety of Islamic-themed popular and visual culture including rock music, cinema, art, visual decorations in shopping malls, self-help books, and fashion blogs, the book explores how Islamic modernities are imagined, negotiated, contested, and shared in Southeast Asia.
Acknowledgements / 1. Introduction: Islamic-themed Popular and Visual Culture and Images of Modernities / 2. Urban Islamic Spectacles: Transforming the Space of the Shopping Mall during Ramadan / 3. Islamic Rock Music and Imaginations of Modernities / 4. Islamic Self-help Books and Governmentality / 5. Muslim Masculinity and Feminity in Islamic-themed Films / 6. Liking, Wearing, and Sharing Islamic Modernities: Indonesian and Malaysian Muslim Fashion Bloggers / 7. Unearthing the Past and Re-imagining the Present - Contemporary Art and Muslim Politics in a Post-9/11 World / 8. Conclusion: Islamic Modernities and the Politics of Plurality / Bibliography / Index
Examining Islamic modernities and popular culture in Indonesia, Leonie Schmidt considers such diverse topics as visual culture, soap opera, cinema, fashion, rock music and urban space. In a region that is simultaneously Islamising and modernising, Schmidt shows how the juxtaposition of the seemingly incompatible can unsettle the modern/traditional dichotomy and highlight national and religious identities in their engagement with emerging modern lifestyle possibilities. Schmidt’s exciting and ambitious book is an important contribution to continuing debates about cultural transformation, pluralism and the promise of Islamic modernity.
Required reading, for those craving to understand Southeast Asia’s newborn halal chic. Using the latest in cultural theory, Schmidt takes us on a journey through late capitalist Indonesia, where political détente, new media technologies and religious pop compellingly combine, thus exploring the various new and exhilarating faces of a public Islam that increasingly serves a generation of Muslims, young and old, in making oneself modern.
Leonie Schmidt is Assistant Professor in television studies in the Media Studies Department at the University of Amsterdam and a researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis.