Philological Encounters 9 (2024), 1-2

Titel der Ausgabe 
Philological Encounters 9 (2024), 1-2
Weiterer Titel 
Reading Javanese Literature with Questions of Theory in Mind

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Colinda Lindermann
FU Berlin
Redaktion Philological Encounters
Colinda Lindermann, Universiteit Gent

Literature in Javanese, the largest of the Austronesian languages and the world’s tenth largest language by native speakers, spoken by more than 100 million people, is still being written after more than a millennium of recorded history. For centuries it has interacted with literatures written in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Malay, Dutch, English and other languages, which were often translated into one another before reaching Java. And yet, as Ronit Ricci writes, although Javanese literature has “one of the world’s richest and most unusual literary traditions … it is little known today outside of Java, Indonesia, and a handful of western universities.”

How do we read Javanese literature with questions of theory in mind? This is a crucial question to address if reading Javanese literature is going to make a contribution to helping the discipline of philology “reach its full potential as a unified transregional and transhistorical academic discipline,” as Sheldon Pollock has, in plain yet eloquent words, expressed it. “Making sense” of Javanese texts needs to be recognized as being as fundamental as any other philological enquiry to the kind of philological practice that takes “everything made of language” as its primary, its central object of study.

The essays in this special issue are the scholarly spin-off of an international research project, “New Directions in the Study of Javanese Literature,” originally convened and led by Ronit Ricci over ten months at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies in 2018–19. Enjoying the group dynamic of the “Java in Jerusalem” team, a number of its members enthusiastically and immediately acted on Tony Day’s follow-up initiative to further explore the issue of “Reading Javanese Literature and Questions of Theory,” which was accepted as two panels to the 2020 Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) held both virtually and in person in Honolulu, Hawai’i from March 24–27, 2020. The present collection is very much the outcome of the fruitful exchange of ideas among the contributors themselves.


Tony Day and Edwin P. Wieringa: Reading Javanese Literature with Questions of Theory in Mind

Danielle Chen-Kleinman and Naresh Keerthi: Kawi-samaya: Towards an Ecocritical Theory of Kakawin literature

Ronit Ricci: Added in Translation: Keywords for the Study of Javanese Islamic Texts

Tony Day and Nancy K. Florida: A Sufi Traveler on the Road in Nineteenth-Century Java

Verena Hanna Meyer: Murdering Mangir

Els Bogaerts: Space and Belonging in Suparto Brata’s Donyane Wong Culika (The World of the Untrustworthy)

E.P. Wieringa : Money, Morality, and Modernity: A Javanese Remake of a 1930 American Whodunnit in 1960s Indonesia

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