‘Taming Bali’s Hinduism’ in Atlanta, Georgia

By: Madeline Jane Welch

MJ Welch

M.J. Welch

While most College of Charleston seniors were excited to get out of town the first weekend of March for their spring break vacations, I was itching with anticipation to get to Atlanta for the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) conference. Thanks to the Travel Fund from the School of Humanities and Social Science, I was able to attend this year’s conference. Being a religious studies and sociology double-major, I enjoyed being able to meet scholars and students of religion from all over the southeast and hear about the interesting work they were conducting. The SECSOR conference is huge; with participating organizations the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and American Schools of Oriental Research, the conference had over 50 panels with around 4-5 speakers on topics in religion ranging from the philosophy of religion, to religions and art, to hip hop and religion.

I was accepted to speak at SECSOR, being the only undergraduate in my Religions of Asia panel and one of only a few undergrads total at the conference, about the fieldwork I conducted in the fall of 2014 on Balinese Hinduism. During my time studying abroad in Bali, Indonesia, I was fascinated by the strict regulation of religion in the archipelago (all citizens must choose to be a part of one of only six approved religions traditions). I set out to study how the majority Muslim government was actively changing the ancient Hindu religious culture of the island of Bali. In traveling around the island, it became clear to me that Hinduism was changing all around the island and was forced to become standardized by Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, the government’s agency in charge of overseeing Hinduism in the state. This standardization of Balinese Hinduism, (or the taming of Balinese Hinduism, as I call it), was creating a contrast between a deemed “right” Hinduism on the island and a “wrong” Hinduism, isolating the indigenous Bali Aga people living in the mountainous area of the island, and in turn was changing the tradition all together.

SECSOR in Atlanta, Georgia

SECSOR conference in Atlanta, Georgia

Being able to discuss and go into depth at the SECSOR conference about Balinese Hinduism really allowed me to reflect on my experience conducting fieldwork in Bali, and the major impact that the government has on Balinese Hinduism and will in its future. As nervous as I was up until my time to present, I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experience of Balinese Hinduism with other members of the panel as well as my audience. This being my first academic conference, I was very pleased with how my presentation went – having only around 30 minutes, a paper, and a slideshow in order to discuss a month long project. I would love to have the opportunity to attend another conference in the future.

My positive experience at SECSOR make me consider becoming a professor. While I will be graduating soon and am hoping to earn a Fulbright to teach English in India for nine months, I am unsure what the future holds. But, it is entirely possible that I may be at next year’s SECSOR conference.

 

Valentine’s Day? Meh. Movies for the Anti-Valentine

Last year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, College of Charleston film studies professors offered their lists of top romantic movies (here and here) to help you celebrate the holiday.

However, we recognize that, for some, Valentine’s Day only serves as an unwelcome reminder that they’re single—or unhappily paired. For you Valentine-haters out there, Assistant Professor Colleen Glenn offers this list of failed romances that will be sure to cheer you up. Tales of missed opportunities, love gone sour, and vengeful psychotic lovers await! So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, sprawl out on the couch, and settle in for the darker—or unsuccessful—side of Cupid’s arrow.

Colleen’s Top 5 Anti-Valentine Picks

5. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)

Gone_With_The_Wind_1967_re-release

source: Wikipedia

In this epic melodrama set against the backdrop of the turbulent Civil War and Reconstruction period, Scarlet O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) heat up the screen with enough chemistry to ignite the burning of Atlanta. Matched by their strength, wit, and resourcefulness, the handsome couple’s on-again, off-again romance spans years, but finally, ends tragically, when pride, grief, and misunderstanding become insurmountable barriers.

4. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton delight in this classic romantic comedy set in New York City and LA. One of Allen’s best films, Annie Hall persists in its popularity because it not only offers charming and relatable characters, but also presents the best and worst of romantic relationships, making it as realistic as it is funny. Finally, its sweetly sad ending (à la The Way We Were, 1973) resonates so powerfully because it captures the universal sentiment toward “the one that got away:” the nagging “What if?…”

3. Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)

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source: IMDb

In this melancholy, graceful, and understated film, an ordinary couple, played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, fall in love, spar, struggle, and fall apart in what is one of the most darkly touching (failed) romances on screen. Crosscutting between the present and the past adds both a sense of doom and terrible beauty, as we seem to experience their loss over time as much as they do. Gosling and Williams turn out incredibly powerful performances in this hauntingly sad love story.

4. Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne, 1987)

Lock up the family pets! Michael Douglas pays the price for his philandering when Glenn Close begins to stalk his family in this superb thriller. Iconic performances by the leading actors under Lyne’s masterful artistic direction create an unforgettable, spine-tingling cinematic experience. A PSA on why not to cheat on your spouse, Fatal Attraction will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

 1. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

source: loftcinema.com

source: loftcinema.com

Now considered to be Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Vertigo portrays Scottie (James Stewart) falling for a married woman, Madelaine (Kim Novak), in what turns out to be an elaborately-laid trap to set him up for murder. A portrait of the dangerous power of the grips of romantic love, Vertigo, through its hauntingly beautiful score by Bernard Hermann, meticulous cinematography, and its fantastic performances, leaves viewers with unsettling, lingering feelings about the things we do for love.

 

Related article: The Valentine’s Day Effect

Spring 2016 School of Humanities and Social Sciences Awards Available

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) currently has the following award applications available. Please read the instructions for each award carefully before applying.

2016 HSS Study Abroad Awardhttps://goo.gl/S42ghH

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to offer a competitive scholarship to students who will enroll in one of the summer College of Charleston Study Abroad programs found here: http://international.cofc.edu/study-abroad/cofcsummer.php

 A total of $4,000 is available this year to students majoring in HSS. This application must be submitted by March 18, 2016. Decisions will be made on April 1st.

2016 HSS Internship Awardhttps://goo.gl/uE8ddV

Two awards of $1000 each are available to third-year students (57+ earned hours) majoring within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Qualified applicants will maintain at least a 2.8 overall GPA with a record of success in their academic and professional lives. Preference givenHappy to be here to those with financial need. Students must be enrolled in a summer HSS course for the internship. This course must be for academic credit. In addition to this online application, students applying for this scholarship are encouraged to send a letter of recommendation from a faculty member to monkk@cofc.edu.  Recommendations from employers, supervisors, and community partners are also welcome.

 This application and any additional documentation must be submitted by April 15, 2016. Decisions will be made on April 29th.

The HSS Student Travel Awardhttps://goo.gl/0Yl2cu

This award is offered to both graduate and undergraduate students majoring in HSS, beginning 2014-2015. The travel awards are intended to supplement funding acquired through other sources at the College of Charleston.

 The deadlines to apply for spring and summer funding are March 11, 2016 and May 13, 2016. Notifications of these awards will be sent by March 21, 2016 and May 23, 2016. Dates for 2016-2017 will be posted after July 1, 2016.

 

If you have any questions regarding the applications, please contact Katie Monk at monkk@cofc.edu or 953-0803.

Sociology Student Receives Funding for Work with At-Risk Youth

Rich-Haddad

Richard A. Haddad ’75

Rich Haddad ’75 and his wife Shannon ’78 have generously established the Richard A. and Shannon W. Haddad Internship Award for Sociology majors because of their affection for the College and appreciation for the opportunities their education made possible.  As a Sociology student, Mr. Haddad was specifically impacted by a trip to study and spend time in a South Carolina juvenile detention center.

Funding is given to a College of Charleston student who is a declared Sociology major completing a for-credit internship with troubled or at-risk youth through the Sociology Internship Program or the Crime, Law and Society Program. The recipient must have a demonstrated interest in helping troubled youth through previous volunteer experience, activities, research, etc.; and/or an interest in pursuing a career working with troubled youth in the future.

Mark Kukoda

Mark Kukoda

The 2016 recipient of this award is Mark Kukoda. After one of Mark’s juvenile justice courses, and a tour of a juvenile detention center, he was left with a strong impression. Mark has decided to work with at-risk youth as a career. He hopes to pursue ways to keep kids out of trouble and to give them opportunities to succeed in life. Mark is currently interning at Charleston’s Communities In Schools.

Mark writes:

During the spring semester of 2015, I visited the Juvenile Detention Center in North Charleston. Like my classmates, we were concerned of the conditions of the facility and when we met again we took it upon ourselves to try and raise money to renovate their library. Although we had failed to establish our group into a school club, we held a book drive, accepted donations, and received a grant from the College to purchase books for the facility’s library. This experience was key in my motivation to work with juveniles, particularly those who are considered “at-risk”. My goal is to impact the lives of children and deter them from ending up in the justice system because those who go in at an early age are highly more susceptible to being incarcerated again. 

After speaking with my advisor, Professor Stein, I learned about Communities In Schools and what they are all about. It is a national program that dedicates itself to keeping kids in school and helps to motivate/empower them to achieve in life. I could not think of a better way to achieve my goal of keeping at risk youth out of the justice system than to try and intern with them and offer my services. 

At Mitchell Elementary School (Downtown), I regularly meet with at-risk students and talk to them about school and their life. Often I spend a lot of time doing life-building and academic reinforcement activities. I hope that the bonds I have developed with these at-risk youth are enough to help them succeed in life. In addition to that, I strive to be a mentor and role model to these young individuals.

For more information about this award, and other funding opportunities offered by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, click here.