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JAN 187 - The Web of Life on the Island of the Gods: Nature & Culture in Bali
Munduk, Indonesia; Pemuteran, Indonesia; Sidemen, Indonesia; Tampaksiring, Indonesia; Ubud, Indonesia (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Jan Term
Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: SMC-CA applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Jan Term 2019 12/31/2017 03/01/2018 TBA TBA
Program Description:
Course Title:
The Web of Life on the Island of the Gods: Nature & Culture in Bali

Course Description:
This course will study the nexus of nature and culture in Bali, where the two realms overlap, mirror, and infuse each other in intriguing ways to sustain people and their environments alike. We’ll survey the interconnections emerging from Bali’s holistic metaphysics, manifest in effigies of the goddess Dewi Sri that punctuate the island’s famous rice terraces; in religious beliefs about spirits animating the landscape; in a sacred cave; in shadow puppet performances that bring daily experiences into conversation with ancient myths; and in complex irrigation works managed ingeniously by subaks, organizations overseen by priests. Magic mediates between people and nature in Bali, but we’ll learn how the island’s rapid yet inflected modernization is (incompletely) replacing the mysterious with modern science and economics. We’ll attend to the challenges and opportunities created by tourism. Students will blog and journal their intellectual and emotional responses during the course.
Talks by local experts in religion, ecology, food, the arts, and shamanism will augment lectures and readings. Performances, rituals, ceremonies, discussions with farmers, hikes through riparian corridors and agroecosystems, and a visit to Bali’s national park, including rainforests and two snorkeling trips, will ground our understandings. We’ll settle in five locations: a retreat near Tampaksiring; along a river in the picturesque high valley of Sidemen; the mountain village of Munduk, known for its performing arts and cocoa, coffee, and clove plantations; the seaside town of Pemuteran, near Bali’s national park and major coral reefs; and Ubud, an artistic and cultural center. Participants must be willing and able to tolerate hot tropical weather and occasionally uncomfortable conditions.
NOTE: Attendance at all four Saturday afternoon pre-travel class sessions during the fall semester, approximately one per month, is mandatory.

Division:
Upper Division

Prerequisites:
Signature of instructor AND
(a) experience studying a foreign language or culture OR
(b) prior international travel experience

Reading List:
Miguel Covarrubias: Island of Bali
Fred B. Eiseman, Jr.: Bali: Sekala & Niskala, volumes 1 & 2
J. Stephen Lansing and William C. Clark: Priests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali [selections]
David Abram, “The Ecology of Magic” from The Spell of the Sensuous
Adrian Vickers, “Introduction” from Bali: A Paradise Created
Kenneth Worthy, “Preface” and “Introduction” from Invisible Nature
J. Stephen Lansing & Thérèse A. de Vet, “The Functional Role of Balinese Water Temples: A Response to Critics” Hum Ecol
Selections from
Tony Whitten, Roehayat Soeriaatmadja, Suraya Afiff: The Ecology of Java and Bali, Volume II of The Ecology of Indonesia Series, Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, 1996. (separate electronic document, ebook)

Basis for Final Grade:
Attendance and quality of participation in discussions and activities (35%)
Journal & blog (30%)
Midterm Exam (15%)
Final exam (20%)