NICOLE J. REISNOUR, then a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, received a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Sounding the Immaterial: The Sonic Politics of Adat and Agama in Post-Authoritarian Bali,' supervised by Dr. Martin F. Hatch. When the newly independent Republic of Indonesia made adherence to a monotheistic faith a requirement for all of its citizens, the Balinese were placed in the residual category 'peoples who do not yet have a religion' and were slated for missionization. Local reformers then set to work trying to convince the government that their people's worship practices conformed to authoritative representations of religion. Although Balinese Hinduism achieved state recognition in 1958, the larger effort to modernize Balinese religiosity has persisted to the present day. This research analyzes the ongoing reform movement in Bali as it is waged and grappled with through the medium of sound. By ringing bells, delivering sermons, orally interpreting texts, and setting up automated systems to play amplified prayers, Balinese Hindus use sound to represent and interact with invisible agents. At the same time, the entangled signifying and affective capacities of religious sounds and other sensuous things are resources that they draw upon in fashioning themselves as moral persons and imagining novel forms of ethical cultivation. The present study proposes ethnographic investigation of the aural semiotics of divine presence as a means of analyzing how religious reform intervenes and is lived at the level of the self.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Reisnour, Nicole Joanna, Cornell U., Ithaca, NY - To aid research on 'Sounding the Immaterial: The Sonic Politics of Adat and Agama in Post-Authoritarian Bali,' supervised by Dr. Martin Fellows Hatch