Situated Prophethood: Reading the Sĕrat Ambiya in 19th century Java by ANU Associate Professor Ronit Ricci 

Recent scholarship on Southeast Asian Islam in recent decades have tended to focus on politics and international relations, mischaracterising faith as something delineated and susceptible to state-directed change. This second ever Tony and Yohanni Johns lecture calls for a renewed valuing of the study of Islam and how Muslims express their faith on its own terms, and as a phenomenon intertwined with local historical, cultural and political practices.

Our speaker for this year is Associate Professor Ronit Ricci from the School of Culture, History & Language at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and Professor of Asian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Sĕrat Ambiya ("Tales of the Prophets") depict the lives of the many prophets of Islam leading up to Muhammad. Another foundational corpus in Java narrates the lives of the wali sanga -the nine "saints" credited with bringing Islam to the island. Professor Ricci will discuss a "wali-Ambiya interface", through which the two great Islamic traditions of the walis and prophets were intertwined and mutually constituted within major Javano-Islamic pedagogical settings in the 19th century.

This lecture honours both Tony and Yohanni Johns's enduring legacies on Indonesian teaching in ANU and all across Australia, which started when Tony was made inaugural professor Indonesian languages and literature at ANU in 1963. It is made possible by the generosity of Emeritus Professor Anthony Reid, as well as Tony and Yohanni's friends and family.


Event details

Event date

Thu, 10 Aug 2023, 5:30 - 6:30pm