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Religious Minorities

Session Chair: Milda Alisauskiene | Friday, August 28, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Risa Aizawa

The Reconstruction of the Concept of “Religion” by Followers of Kaharingan in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

This presentation will examine the process of the establishment of Kaharingan’s status as an official religion (agama) and the reconstruction of religious ideas and practice. Kaharingan is the folk religion among the Dayak people in Central Kalimantan. During the Suharto regime, communism was prohibited, and from this time thereafter Indonesian citizens have been obliged to belong to one of the agamas. Many of the followers of religions falling outside agama converted to one of these official religions, however some still requested the official recognition of their specific religions. Kaharingan is an example of the latter and was accepted as agama through integration with Hinduism in 1980. Apart from the codification of doctrine and rituals, they have organized an educational regime in support of Kaharingan. Through analyzing the process of its integration with Hinduism and education about Kaharingan, I will show the reformation of their ideas of religion and religious systems.

Sergey Lyubichankovskiy

Mennonites’ Communities in the Russian Empire’s provincial society: adaptation and transformation

We are going to focus on the matters connected with the appearance of Germans-Mennonites in the Orenburg region; and with the attempts by the Ural Mennonites to preserve their religious and cultural identity. At the end of XIX – the beginning of XX centuries in the Orenburg steppes thousands Mennonites migrants were located. In the paper there is the analysis of the reasons of their moving to the region and ways of preservation by the Ural Mennonites of the religious and cultural identity in absolutely alien society. Protracted residence in Russia made an originality in an inner world of the Ural Mennonites. They even had special name – "Orenburger". "Orenburgers" were stood aside from political struggle, however were attentive to religious policy. Research is based on memoirs of migrants and the unique documents which have remained in the Orenburg archive.

Tineke Rooijakkers

Fitting in, standing out: Coptic dress in Egypt

Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt today, like the members of many other religions, do not wear distinctive dress – they are only recognizable from a small cross tattoo customarily placed on the right wrist. Christian women in most areas of Egypt do stand out, however, because they do not wear what in the past thirty years has become the prevalent marker of Islamic women: the Islamic headscarf. Nonetheless, their dress is subject to comparable religious and cultural discourses that emphasize the importance of modesty. For men’s dress other considerations, notably their social position and an emphasis on fitting in, play an important role. This paper discusses how societal (and sartorial) changes in Egypt in the past fifty years have influenced Coptic dress practices, how Coptic men and women today negotiate diverging discourses and norms on dress, and what role dress plays in the construction of a distinct communal religious identity.


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