Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change

“SIT in Bali was an amazing program. I had an extraordinary experience I could not have had anywhere else in the world.”

-- Program alum

Immerse yourself in the deep traditions and contemporary interpretations of Hindu and Islamic religious and cultural practice in the context of political transformation and tourism development in Bali and Java.

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The Arts, Religion, and Social Change program based in Bali blends contemporary culture and politics with rich cultural traditions in the arts and religion. Combining homestays, lectures, fields visits, and excursions in historically Hindu Bali and predominantly Muslim Java, this program integrates students in the lives of urban and rural residents of one of Asia’s most dynamic societies and in the deep artistic traditions and contemporary socio-political challenges of the world’s largest Muslim country.

Coursework explores the ancient roots of Javanese and Balinese culture and the history of the republican movement that led to the formation of modern Indonesia. Students also analyze current debates on the future of Balinese culture and society in relation to global pressures such as increased development and international tourism. Learning with respected masters in their field, students discover how religion, society, and the arts have developed side-by-side on each island.

The program’s Field Methods and Ethics seminar provides instruction on conducting fieldwork in new cultural and physical terrains.  Learn more about the program’s coursework and review program syllabi.

Batiking at Ya Halwa

Visit historic and cultural sites, religious rituals, performances, and local ceremonies.
Throughout the semester, students participate in activities aimed at highlighting the important roles played by majority and minority religions and the arts in shaping cultural and social discourses. Students may also have the opportunity to pursue practicum lessons of local art forms such as Balinese dance and music, traditional ceramic, mask-making, weaving, puppet-making and batik.

Learn from Indonesian and international academics, local writers, foundation and NGO founders, environmental activists, artists, university-age peers from local universities, and community members.
Lecturers are drawn from the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and Universitas Sanata Darma (Sadar) in Central Java, the Udayana University in Bali, the Institute of Arts of Indonesia (ISI) in Bali, and other well-regarded institutions.

Instruction in Bahasa Indonesia — among the most accessible of all Asian languages — and homestays with local families help students integrate into the daily life and society of Java and Bali. Students also engage in excursions with Indonesian students from local universities.

Learn how one recent program participant combined modern and Balinese traditional dance to create an original choreographed piece performed by Balinese dancers, as reported in The Jakarta Post.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Bedulu, central southern Bali

Language Study: Bahasa Indonesia,  Balinese

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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