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Grant number like: FT-52027-04

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William Patrick Cummings
University of South Florida (Tampa, FL 33620-9951)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 7/31/2004

Interpreting Conversion to Islam in Seventeenth-Century Indonesia

This project centers on a cycle of stories narrating the life of Syekh Yusuf, a sufi teacher and missionary credited with popularizing Islam in the region of Makassar in Indonesia during the seventeenth century. I am studying Makassarese texts about Syekh Yusuf because I want to show how Makassarese perceived religious conversion, change, and identity in order to explain more fully the dynamics of Islamization in Southeast Asia. Examining the stories Makassarese wrote about the life of Syekh Yusuf affords us a window into Makassarese perceptions of what it meant to convert to Islam, how they viewed this fundamental social change, and what effects they saw it as having on their individual and communal identities.