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Transnational and Transmedia Explorations of the American West
This book presents papers by eleven European scholars that explore the ambivalent representations of an American West that follows “no single trajectory, creating instead a series of lines and rhythms, always moving, crossing, and folding” (Neil Campbell).
The papers explore the use of the American West as an ideal or a realistic setting in different cultural productions, ranging from music (“Sing-along Melodies of the West”) to film (“Western Images in Motion”) or comics (“Graphic Representations of the American West”), and including popular cultural fields like podcasts, fashion, and gastronomy (“Performing the West”).
Revisiting Critical Event Narrative Inquiry
This thought-provoking research anthology adopts a postmodern stance and fills in a gap of knowledge for the education of professional development in teacher education, health sciences and the arts. Allowing subjectivity and multiple voices, the authors add to the intimate and negotiated knowledge of being and becoming – indigenous, architect, mother, teacher, health researcher, and supervisor. In fifteen chapters, the authors share knowledge of pain and reward in critical events in the realm of professional identity formation. The book provides a selection of personal and far-reaching stories and adds to the reflexivity of memories of critical events.

Contributors are: Geir Aaserud, Åsta Birkeland, Bodil H. Blix, Sidsel Boldermo, Mimesis Heidi Dahlsveen, Nanna Kathrine Edvardsen, Rikke Gürgens Gjærum, Tona Gulpinar, Carola Kleemann, Tove Lafton, Mette Bøe Lyngstad, Elin Eriksen Ødegaard, Anna-Lena Østern, Alicja R. Sadownik, Tiri Bergesen Schei and Vibeke Solbue.
Volume Editor:
This publication brings together current scholarship that focuses on the significance of performing arts heritage of royal courts in Southeast Asia. The contributors consist of both established and early-career researchers working on traditional performing arts in the region and abroad. The first volume, Pusaka as Documented Heritage, consists of historical case studies, contexts and developments of royal court traditions, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second volume, Pusaka as Performed Heritage, comprises chapters that problematise royal court traditions in the present century with case studies that examine the viability, adaptability and contemporary contexts for coexisting administrative structures.

Abstract

Royal courts throughout history have engaged with the performing arts. Practitioners, patrons, the lay public, casual tourists and trained scholars speak of ‘the court arts’, reifying this descriptor as a meaningful category for discourse. This chapter endeavours not so much to describe the arts associated with the courts of Java as to ask how these arts are and have been understood by the various observers and stakeholders, now and in the past. Are there defining stylistic qualities that set court music or dance or theatre off from non-court? Are there cultural values imbued in these arts, inherent in their very structure as they unfold in performance? How portable are these arts – retaining their value and meaning in performances outside the courts, or do they invariably undergo changes in value and meaning? The chapter combines a scrutiny of written discourse from the late colonial era to the early twenty-first century that address Javanese court performing arts, combined with personal conversations I have had since the early 1970s with Javanese, other Indonesians and foreign observers. With regard to stylistic particulars, the focus is primarily on music – gamelan ensemble music and related vocal practice (karawitan) – considering aspects of musical structure, playing techniques, physical and visual characteristics of the instruments themselves, as well as player and audience expectations and behaviour. The analysis proposes a view of the performing arts practised in the courts as navigating between exclusivity and permeability, from earlier times down to the present.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two

Abstract

The musicians of the Fine Arts Department (Krom Sinlapakon) of the Royal Thai government teach and maintain the elite court music traditions in Thailand. Many of these musicians also teach in the 12 branches of the College of Dramatic Arts (Wittayalai Nattasin) and other public and private schools. While they teach standard repertoire to all their students, the repertoire for the string instruments with Javanese oboe ensemble (khrueangsai pii chawaa) is regarded to be very difficult, improvisatory and appropriate for only a few musicians to perform, and so is rarely taught to any students or other professional musicians in the College of Dramatic Arts. The ensemble, which is closely associated with royal literature and is a musical expression of royal authority, is rarely performed and kept largely outside the gaze of ordinary spectators and even the Thai classical music community. Keeping the ensemble as exclusive as possible elevates its status and the status of those permitted to perform it. There are musicians outside the Fine Arts Department who know the repertoire and have the ability to perform in this ensemble, but they have no acceptable place to perform publicly. In this chapter, I examine selected cases of musicians who have exceeded their authority and performed khrueangsai pii chawaa outside the Fine Arts Department, despite criticism they received. These cases illustrate the tensions that arise within the Thai musical community over the transmission, expression and assertion of social status connected to royal authority.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two

Abstract

This chapter discusses historical and recent developments in Javanese court dance through the personal experiences of the two authors, both practising performers who later became dance scholars and critics. The initial part of the discussion focuses on the traditional court dances of four royal palaces of central Java – Kasunanan Surakarta, Kasultanan Yogyakarta, Kadipaten (Pura) Mangkunegaran in Surakarta and, especially, Kadipaten (Pura) Pakualaman in Yogyakarta. The origins of the courts’ classical dance forms can be traced back to the sultanate of Mataram which emerged as the leading political state in the interior of Java in the late sixteenth century. The detailed case study of Pura Pakualaman offers insights into how court dance traditions have been maintained through the patronage of successive rulers and the constant recultivation of the art form. These practices are then contrasted with contemporary Javanese dance outside the courts, with reference in particular to the work of the celebrated dancer, choreographer and artist Bagong Kussudiardja and other modern dance performers and performances. The discussion suggests that much modern dance is in thrall to the market, that is has become a performing art for sale. In contrast, a case is made that good choreography should not only be beautiful and attractive but also present rasa or soul, the essence of the Javanese aesthetic. More importantly, dance should also bear meaning and be related to life.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two

Abstract

Music, dance and ceremonies associated with Kaili royalty depict the presence of ethnic-specific genres and the exchange of tangible and intangible heirlooms (pusaka) with neighbouring kingdoms. Located in Central Sulawesi, Kaili lands (ngata Kaili) experienced the formation of distinct kingdoms at the periphery of four historical centres, namely South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, the Sulu Zone and Maluku. With shared practices as an ethnicity (Kaili) and idiosyncrasies with distinct courts, dialects and lineages, Kaili kingdoms maintained a legacy of traditions serving as status signifiers in honour of nobility circles (maradika), and a heritage signifying local customs of each court and links to other kingdoms. The Kaili heritage experienced changes together with the transformations of the Indonesian political climate after independence in 1945, particularly during the national process of centralisation and standardisation of the performing arts during the New Order (Orde Baru) era (1967–1998), and once again during the process of decentralisation of government operations that gave a greater autonomy to the performing arts after 1998. In view of the dynamic, evolving and adapting role of Kaili performance traditions associated with the nobility, this chapter analyses the forms in three diachronic eras: the Kaili kingdoms before 1945; the centralised national Indonesian government after 1945; and the decentralised neo-royal provincial government in Central Sulawesi after 1998. The chapter considers the following as examples of performing arts development for each era: the Kaili vaino mourning song in remembrance of deceased royalty and the balia healing ritual forms performed for royalty; royal links of the kakula gong-row heritage; and the pajoge maradika royal dance form.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two

Abstract

This chapter provides a prolegomena and general frame for the volume Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia: Pusaka as Performed Heritage. It considers emic and etic gazes upon court music of the region. Five selected strategies for engaging court music – the descriptors of the chapter’s subtitle – consider such themes as agency and appropriation. Examples and data come from historic/nation-state sites including Khmer/Cambodia, Java/Indonesia, Lan Xang/Laos, Malaya/Malaysia, Sulu/the Philippines and Siam/Thailand. The domestication of the South Asian Ramayana is a particularly rich resource for pan-Southeast Asian heritage and history; diachronic examination also includes nationalised and staged performances of Balinese and Philippine forms. European court musics under colonial and non-colonial circumstances also receive attention.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two

Abstract

There is a dearth of academic studies of the role of the Malay martial art pencak silat in Singapore. Nonetheless, there is much that has been recorded in archival sources that indicate that silat activities have contributed in significant ways to enhancing the social and cultural resilience of some Singapore Malays. Here, various pencak silat schools in Singapore are discussed, with a particular focus on how they have adapted to the realities of modernity and to many developmental challenges. The analysis demonstrates how at least one pencak silat group rose to champion Malay values and identity in the face of considerable social and economic impediments that the community has faced. The conclusion suggests that while the community is facing considerable challenges, the practices associated with pencak silat have contributed greatly to the development of a positive self-identity rooted in specifically Malay values.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two
Author:

Abstract

The first song students of sung poetry (tembang Sunda) learn is ‘Papatet’, which begins with the words ‘Pajajaran kari ngaran’ – ‘A name is all that remains of Pajajaran’. The poem mourns the disappearance of the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran (670–1579). Since Pajajaran, the Sundanese homeland in West Java has been under the control of other polities – Mataram, the Dutch and the Indonesian national government. Nevertheless, an aristocratic class maintained political and cultural capital into the twentieth century. This chapter examines how modern Sundanese have democratised the formerly aristocratic arts of tembang Sunda, Sundanese court gamelan (degung) and men’s improvisational dance (tari tayub). In each case, the style and the meanings of these arts were adapted to suit changing political contexts, aesthetics and economic realities. Tembang Sunda, which nineteenth-century aristocrats practised to embody sophistication and erudition, was appropriated by the twentieth-century middle class as a marker of upward mobility. Degung, originally a courtly status symbol, was wrested from its exclusive contexts to become a symbol of modern Sundaneseness, and eventually the accompaniment for Sundanese popular music. Tari tayub, with which aristocrats asserted their status and power, became an avenue for upward mobility in the twentieth century, and eventually the source for constructing a Sundanese ‘classical’ dance. In all three cases, the trappings of class distinctions and aristocracy were replaced by strong regional/ethnic identifications. Just as today’s descendants of Sundanese aristocrats rarely advertise their hereditary titles, the aristocratic essence of tembang Sunda, degung and tari tayub has disappeared – a name is all that remains.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two