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Abstract

Forces of globalization, local culture, and Islam continuously inform one another and dynamically manifest in cultures across the world. Scholars often assume that these influences may have distinct and independent effects. However, we argue that these global forces occur simultaneously and they may contradict or complement each other along a spectrum within Aceh, Indonesia. The manifestations and responses vary depending on the nature of the interactions of global and local factors. This spectrum represents various ways in which women negotiate identity and agency, specifically within the context of the implementation of Shari’ah Law. This research investigates the specific ways in which women’s identities influence and are influenced by the globalization of feminism, matrifocal traditions, and Islamic veiling practices in Aceh.

In the summer of 2012, the authors conducted field research in Aceh, Indonesia through interviews and observations. These included over 70 participants and 20 organizations which varied in formality and size. The interview participants include: activists, academicians, spiritual leaders, government officials, law enforcement agents, university students, and other community members from both rural and urban areas.

Note on the Author

Siti Kusujiarti is a professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, North Carolina. She has conducted extensive research on gender relations, disaster, climate change, and social change in Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia. She is the co-author of Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java: A Tale of Two Villages published by Ohio University in 2012. She is currently conducting sabbatical research focusing on gender justice and climate change in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Elizabeth (Libba) W. Miano is a graduate of Warren Wilson College. As a Global Studies major with an intercultural focus on culture, power, and place, she has traveled broadly in Southeast Asia, South America and the Caribbean. She taught at a Burmese refugee camp in Thailand, promoted community health in the Dominican Republic, and instigated cultural exchange in Chile. Her current interests include examining women’s geo-social networks across both real and imagined boundaries, feminist activism within Islamic communities, and women’s roles in community health. These will ultimately provide the foundation and development for a local non-governmental organization for women in Aceh and Asheville.

Annie L. Pryor graduated from Warren Wilson College in May of 2013 as a Global Studies major and there developed an interest in various topics, such as international politics, gender and women's studies, and Eastern religions. In college, Annie volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Brother Wolf, local community gardens, and nursing homes. She also visited Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia where she studied women's roles in religion in each country. She is currently teaching English as a second language to Burmese women in Fort Wayne, Indiana with the YWCA.

Breanna R. Ryan graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2014 with a double major in Global Studies and Cultural Anthropology. Her research interests in gender equality, conservation, and sustainable ethical development converge in all her pursuits. Along with her research on women's empowerment in Indonesia, she taught English to recently immigrated teens, worked alongside a women’s weaving cooperative in Morocco, and spent a summer on diverse conservation and educational projects in her home state of Arizona. She currently works with Environment New Mexico, an environmental advocacy organization, promoting socially and environmentally responsible policies and energy alternatives.

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