The Inaugural Tony and Yohanni Johns Lecture

This is a recording of the Inaugural Tony and Yohanni Johns Lecture which was held on 29 September 2022, presented by the ANU Indonesia Institute.

In recent decades, scholarship on Southeast Asian Islam – as with Islam elsewhere – has become dominated by the fields of politics, international relations or security studies. These studies often characterise faith as something delineated, measurable and susceptible to state-directed change. Much of these analyses overlook the subtle variations in Islamic life, and the disjunctions between formal orthodoxy and everyday religious experience. How Muslims comprehend and express their faith ranges widely, crosses typological boundaries, and confounds many of the accepted categories applied to Islam.

Our speaker Greg Fealy is emeritus professor in the Department of Political and Social Change who specialises in the study of Islamic politics and history, primarily in Indonesia, but also other Muslim-majority regions in Southeast Asia.

Tony and Yohanni Johns

Tony and Yohanni’s time at ANU as academics began in 1963, when Tony Johns became the inaugural professor of Indonesian languages and literature at the University.

During their extensive time in Canberra and at ANU, Yohanni would become a critical figure in Indonesian teaching at the University and in Australia, producing a series of seminal Indonesian language textbooks.

Professor Tony Johns is a towering figure in the scholarship on Southeast Asian Islam. Throughout his long career as a researcher and teacher at ANU, he emphasised the need for high linguistic competence, the close study of primary texts and history, and an intimate knowledge of the religious life of communities in the region.

This lecture honours both Tony and Yohanni’s enduring legacy at ANU.

This lecture was made possible by the generosity of Emeritus Professor Anthony Reid, as well as friends and family of Tony and Yohanni Johns.

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