Islamic Post-Traditionalism: Postcolonial and Postmodern Religious Discourse in Indonesia

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Taking a critical view of the dominance of postcolonial studies by South Asian and Latin American scholars and intellectuals, this article presents a newly emerging discourse among young Indonesian Muslim intellectuals, known as ‘Islamic Post-Traditionalism’. The specific question addressed in the present investigation is to establish to what extent this strand of Muslim thought can be considered a contribution to the engagement with postcoloniality and an application of deconstructionist discourse critique developed by postmodern philosophers within the context of rethinking religion, and Islam in particular, in Indonesia. Identifying a vivid interest among Indonesian Muslim intellectuals in the work of pioneering and controversial contemporary Arab-Islamic thinkers such as Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Muhammad Abid al-Jabiri, and Mohammed Arkoun, this article will interrogate the influences exercised by these Arabophone and Francophone Muslim intellectuals on the formation of Indonesia's Islamic Post-Traditionalism and how this is reflected in this discourse. An illustration will be provided by a précis of the writings of a key exponent of the Islamic Post-Traditionalist discourse and an examination of a number of other contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-489
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Early online date9 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2015


  • Islamic studies
  • Indonesia

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