Suzanne Moon, May 9, 2016 - Science and Technology Studies

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Department of Science & Technology Studies
Spring 2016
Imagining a Technological Umma: Islam and
High Technology in New Order Indonesia
Suzanne Moon, PhD
The University of Oklahoma
In the late 1980s, Amien Rais, a politician and Islamic intellectual in Indonesia,
teasingly asked the audience at the opening of an Islamic hospital: “where are our
Islamic factories?” Rais’s joke had a serious edge, touching on concerns raised by
Islamic intellectuals in Indonesia: what role should Islam play in the development of
a technological, industrial society? And what role should and did technology play in
the constitution and support of the global Islamic community, the umma? Indonesian
critics wrestled with these questions in response to both transnational discourses
about scientific Islam and Indonesia’s particular experiences with industrialization
in Suharto’s New Order. This talk will explore sociotechnical imaginaries produced
by Muslim intellectuals that posited a strong connection between spiritual devotion
among engineers and the social efficacy of the technology they produce. At issue in this
history of industrialization and Islamic revival in Indonesia is the larger methodological
question of how to productively investigate religion in technology studies, a topic
which S&TS scholars have rarely addressed. Going beyond conventional analytics
that represent religious talk as no more than cover for other “truer” concerns (for
example, the economy or gender relations), this talk will consider how work in
religious studies and media studies might inform investigations of religion in S&TS.
Monday, May 9, 2016
3:30pm
374 Rockefeller Hall
Department of Science & Technology Studies
Cornell University
306 Rockefeller Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3810
http://www.sts.cornell.edu
Co-Sponsored by the Southeast Asia Program
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