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IBA faculty pens ethnographic paper on the significance of a Javanese saint
Dr. Abdul Haque Chang, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, has recently had his research paper titled, "Barakah: The Pilgrim's Divine Gift at the Shrine of Sunan Pandanaran" published in the HEC-recognized journal, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ). The paper explores the historical significance of the saintly shrine and how it has influenced ideas of diversity, multiplicity, heterogeneity, and alterity in the Indonesian region of Central Java.
Through the ethnographic examples and a framework of the everyday life, "The Pilgrim's Divine Gift at the Shrine of the Sunan Pandanaran" shows the important role which the shrine of saint Sunan Pandanaran, located in Bayat, Central Java, plays in the lives of the Javanese people. This paper shows how the Javanese sacred space is inclusive of a historical continuity of different faiths that make up the local culture. Exposing the unnoticed, the inconspicuous, and the unobtrusive, this paper goes beyond the settled cultural patterns and problematizes heterogeneities, ambiguities, and indeterminate classification of categories into a homogenous identity of place, culture, and state—one singular, unified entity. The shrine is an heirloom of the Javanese kingdoms of Surakarta and Yogyakarta—Sunan Pandanaran is considered an ancestor of the Mataram Kingdom—but through the efforts of a Catholic village chief, this shrine has been revitalized as an important pilgrimage site for Javanese of any religious affiliation.
For a detailed analysis, please read the full paper HERE.
IBA faculty selected to participate in the InterAsia Academy
Assistant Professor Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, Dr. Abdul Haque Chang has been selected to participate in the upcoming InterAsia Academy: Integration and Disintegration in InterAsian Perspective as a member of the Ecologies Cluster. The event will take place virtually between February 15-28, 2021 and will be co-hosted by the Comparative Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore and funded by Social Science Research Council.
The InterAsia Academy, aimed at advanced graduate students and early-career researchers will build upon this work through a focus on pedagogy, specifically examining the broad theme of "Integration and Disintegration in InterAsian Perspective". This theme highlights processes of regionalization and re-regionalization that crosses national and other boundaries, building on old histories and creating new geographies. It examines the ways in which interconnected formations across the Asian expanse shape and reshape ecologies, economies and everyday life.
Dr. Chang will be presenting his research on "Transregional Ecologies of Water Governance: The Brantas River Basin, East Java, and the Indus River, Sindh". This research explores transregional ecologies of water governance in the Brantas River Basin, East Java, and the Indus River, Sindh. The rivers are far apart, but environmental impacts on citizens of both nation-states constitute a dynamic environmental integration that generates new definitions of regions. These ecologies of water governance transcend the chronological, spatial, and epistemological boundaries that have conventionally divided the study of Asia. They draw worldwide attention to these rivers and integrate their inhabitants. This paper focuses on transregional ecologies of water governance through climate change, environmental humanities, pollution, and water infrastructure.
Dr. Chang has been conducting ethnographic research on Shah Jo Rag, a Sufi musical tradition of Sindh, since 1995 and was recently awarded a $20,000 research grant by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for his study on the topic "The Making of Shah Jo Raag: An Ethnographic Study of Sufi Musical Tradition in Sindh, Pakistan". His research will focus on the making of Shah Jo Raag, a tradition of devotional music in the province of Sindh, Pakistan, transmitted orally by families of hereditary traditional musicians since 1743. By engaging with theories on applied ethnomusicology, caste, autoethnography, music, culture, and ethnomusicology, this research aims to contribute to the scholarly literature on place-based contemporary socio-musical relationships of Sufi musical tradition within the disciplines of anthropology and ethnomusicology.
Dr. Abdul Haque Chang is currently Assistant Professor in Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Department at IBA, Karachi. His research interests include ethnomusicology, Sufi music and poetry, history, religion, and environmental anthropology in Pakistan.
Dr. Abdul Haque Chang
Assistant Professor – Social Sciences & Liberal Arts
Dr. Abdul Haque Chang received the Dr. N. A. Baloch Award of Excellence on April 6, 2019, for his research on Sindh.
Dr. Chang is a key emerging scholar of contemporary Sindh whose work in progress is highly anticipated. Dr. Chang's research on the Sufi musical tradition of Shah Jo Raag provides a new dimension on musical ethnography and is the first longitudinal ethnographic work extended over a period of twenty years. This project will set new trends in the anthropology of Pakistan. As a part of the community of traditional Sufi musicians, Dr. Chang's research focuses on the making of this devotional Sindhi music transmitted orally by the families of hereditary musicians since 1743.