APSS - Publications and Updates

In 2011 the Asia Pacific Seminar Series launched a new format by inviting papers on a yearly theme. We are pleased to announce the following publications out of the past seminars.

Narratives of Muslim Womanhood and Women's Agency

Edited by M. Sakai,  Yasmeen, Samina

Portrayals of Islamic teachings in mass media, often present Muslim women as victims of patriarchal norms. Often covered in a full veil, and without individuality, they tend to be depicted using a monochrome image, across Muslim countries and regions. It does not portray the social reality and expectations of Muslim women, which are in fact diverse and contextual. This book consists of articles that attempt to answer the question, are Muslim women merely passive objects in constructing their role, despite the spread of social media and the Internet, the increased demands of earning disposable income for their families, and their migration to non-Muslim countries around the world?

It closely examines women’s agency in negotiating their role in Muslim-majority societies and in new places of settlement (Australia). These articles analyse Muslim women’s narratives in a wide range of economic, political, social and cultural milieu and their relationship to identity construction and portrayal in the new millennium. This volume was originally published as a special issue of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.

2014 Disaster Relief in the Asia Pacific: Agency and Resilience (Routledge Contemporary Asia Series)

Edited by M. Sakai, J. Jurriens, J. Zhang and A. Thornton(editors)

Introduction 1. Coping with Disaster: Agency and resilience in the Asia-Pacific context, Edwin Jurriëns, Minako Sakai, Alec Thornton and Jian Zhang Part I: Civil society 2. Responding to Disasters in the Asia-Pacific Region: State and civil society relationships, David W. Lovell 3. Key Factors for Capacity-Building of Disaster Relief Operations: Indonesian examples, Minako Sakai and Amelia Fauzia 4. Fostering Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Relief in Japan: Challenges and prospects for sustainable future operations, Minako Sakai and Keishin Inaba Part II: Military and state institutions 5. The Military and Disaster Relief in China: Trends, drivers and implications, Jian Zhang 6. Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis and Regional Intermediaries, Christopher Roberts 7. Temporalities of Planning and Disaster: Slum demolition and the rebuilding of lives at the margins of Delhi, Ursula Rao Part III: Local cultural knowledge and the media 8. The Politics of the Mount Merapi Eruption in Central Java, Indonesia, Priyambudi Sulistiyanto 9. Coping with Floods in Urban Fiji: Responses and resilience of the poor, Jenny Bryant-Tokalau and John Campbell 10. From Early Warning System to Trauma Healing: Alternative media and disaster relief in Central Java, Edwin Jurriëns Part IV: Economic initiatives 11. Agrarianism, Capitalism or Protectionism? Exploring economic restructuring and local responses amidst global change in Samoa, Alec Thornton and Etienne Nel 12. Responding to Natural versus Human-made Disasters: Lessons from Fiji, Satish Chand Part V: Conclusion 13. Lessons from Disaster Relief in the Asia-Pacific, Jian Zhang, Minako Sakai and Edwin Jurriëns

2012 RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs Volume 46 Issue 1 (Jun 2012)

Special edition titled Islamic propagation and everyday practices in contemporary Indonesia

Edited by M. Sakai and C. Macknight.

Volume 46 Issue 1 - Introduction

Sakai, Minako

Volume 46 Issue 1 - Religiously committed and prosperously developed: The survival of 'pesantren salaf' in modern Indonesian Islamic education

Isbah, MFalikul

This paper starts with a brief definition of traditionalist Islam in Indonesia and how scholars have addressed it. It then discusses how Indonesian Islamic education institutions, including pesantren, have responded to modernisation and secularisation imposed by the state and public demand. The case of Pesantren Sidogiri is presented as a case study to show how a traditional pesantren can cope with modernisation in a different way to most other pesantren. It is then followed by an analysis of the extent to which the success of the Pesantren Sidogiri's economic projects affects its popularity among the Muslim public.

Volume 46 Issue 1 - Female voices on Jakarta's 'da'wa' stage

Nisa, Eva F

Young female preachers have become important agents for the proliferation of majelis ta'lim (meeting places for learning Islam) in Jakarta. This article focuses on two talented female preachers belonging to the family of the Prophet, Sharifah Halimah Alaydrus and Sharifah Khadijah Al-Junayd. They are not only active in arranging majelis ta'lim but also in strengthening the position of other female preachers belonging to the family of the Prophet. I analyse their role in the development of da'wa and their position amidst the increasing number of mostly male 'pop' preachers in Indonesia. Their talent and their achievement in becoming students of Habib Umar bin Hafiz have made them authoritative voices both locally and transnationally. The case of Sharifah Halimah and Sharifah Khadijah demonstrates not only the new visibility of such women in Indonesian public Islam, but also illuminates the significant role played by female Indonesian preachers in the global Muslim world.

Volume 46 Issue 1 - Forum Lingkar Pena and Muslim youth in contemporary Indonesia

Kailani, Najib

Forum Lingkar Pena (FLP or Writing Circle Forum) was founded by some Gerakan Tarbiyah campus activists in 1997 at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta. The primary purpose of the organisation is to train young Muslim writers to propagate Islam through short stories, comics and novels targeting Indonesian Muslim youth readers. An analysis of textual material, supported by field research among the writers of the FLP in Yogyakarta, shows how these writers have packaged Islam in forms of pop culture to reach and attract young Muslim readers. They have propagated the image of a pious, yet trendy Muslim. The popularity of FLP materials among young Muslims in contemporary Indonesia is due, firstly, to the rise of the Islamic publication industry in the late Soeharto era and, secondly, to the crises of self and issues of morality among the Muslim youth in the Reformasi era. This case study opens up an exploration of the nature of contemporary Muslim youth movements in Indonesia.

Volume 46 Issue 1 - Preaching to Muslim youth in Indonesia: The 'dakwah' activities of Habiburrahman El Shirazy

Sakai, Minako

This article focuses on emergent ways by which Islam has been propagated among Muslim youth in Indonesia. It highlights Habiburrhahman El Shirazy, a popular Islamic novelist and his approaches to propagating Islam (dakwah or da'wa). Instead of analysing cultural representations in his literary works, I will present Habiburrahman as an emergent Islamic preacher and will examine his preaching activities, including creative art production and his family-owned Islamic educational institution for Muslim university students, Pesantren Basmala in Semarang. His success and popularity owes much to the shift away from traditional sources of Islamic authority in Indonesia deriving from mass secular education and the subsequent diversification of dakwah methods.


Currently Professor Samina Yasmeen (UWA) and Dr Minako Sakai are planning an edited collection titled Muslim Womanhood: Contemporary Analysis based on 2013 APSS papers.