Prof. dr. B. (Ben) Arps

Position:
  • Professor
Expertise:
  • Indonesian and Javanese language and culture


Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2222
E-Mail: b.arps@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS Indonesie
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.04b
Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2222
E-Mail: b.arps@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS Indonesie
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.04b
Personal Homepage: www.leidenuniv.nl/​personal/​arps


Fields of interest

My greatest intellectual curiosity concerns social and political processes in which language plays a formative role, or, put differently, the question of how language is made to work in the world. In my teaching and research so far I have focused on four fields of this kind: religion, promotion and propaganda, cultural policy, and language itself. I derive my theoretical inspiration from linguistic anthropology and devote special attention to media and performance.

CV

Education
1992: Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.), Leiden University (awarded cum laude)
1986: MA (‘doctorandus’) in Javanese studies, Leiden University (cum laude)
1982–1983: extraordinary student (‘mahasiswa luar biasa’) of Javanese shadow puppetry, Akademi Seni Karawitan Indonesia (ASKI), Surakarta
1982: BA (‘kandidaat’) in Indonesian languages and cultures, Leiden University (cum laude)

Employment
1993–present: Professor of Indonesian and Javanese Language and Culture, Leiden University (prior to May 2008: Professor of Javanese Linguistics and Literature)
2011–2012: Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
2006–2007: Netherlands Visiting Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1988–1993: Lecturer in Indonesian and Javanese, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Key publications

2009. “Osing Kids and the Banners of Blambangan: ethnolinguistic identity and the regional past as ambient themes in an East Javanese town.” Wacana: Jurnal Ilmu Pengetahuan Budaya 11(1):1–38.

2002. “The sound of space: how to hear mise en scène in audio wayang.” In: Jan Mrázek (ed.), Puppet theater in contemporary Indonesia: new approaches to performance events, pp. 315–332. [Ann Arbor:] Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan. Michigan Papers on South and Southeast Asia, 50.

2000 (co-authored with Els Bogaerts, Willem van der Molen, Ignatius Supriyanto, and Jan van den Veerdonk, with the collaboration of Betty Litamahuputty). Hedendaags Javaans: een leerboek. [Contemporary Javanese: a coursebook.] Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden. Semaian, 20. [xxvii + 581 pp.]

2000 (ed. with Willem van der Molen). Woord en schrift in de Oost: de betekenis van zending en missie voor de studie van taal en literatuur in Zuidoost-Azië. [Word and script(ure) in the East: the meaning of Protestant and Roman Catholic mission for the study of language and literature in Southeast Asia.] Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden. Semaian, 19. [x + 199 pp.]

1999. “How a Javanese gentleman put his library in order.” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 155(3):416–469.

1996. “The Song Guarding at Night: grounds for cogency in a Javanese incantation.” In: Stephen C. Headley (ed.), Towards an anthropology of prayer: Javanese ethnolinguistic studies / Vers une anthropologie de la prière: études ethnolinguistiques javanaises, pp. 47–113. Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence.

1992. Tembang in two traditions: performance and interpretation of Javanese literature. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. [xiii + 485 pp.]

Teaching

Since my first ‘student-assistantship’ at Leiden in 1983, I have taught on all academic levels in the following broad fields:

  • the sociopolitical dimensions of language: lecture courses on language and culture in Southeast Asia and advanced fieldwork seminars in Javanese anthropological linguistics (Leiden);
  • the politics of culture: Popular Culture in Asia (masterclass in the MPhil in Asian Studies, at Leiden), Nation, Community, Self: Questions of Culture in South and Southeast Asia (BA-level lecture course at Leiden, co-taught with the Professor of Modern South Asian Studies), The Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia (course in the MA in Southeast Asian Studies at Leiden), Literatures in Southeast Asia (a BA course at Leiden, focusing on ‘literary life’;
  • media studies: courses, seminars, and tutorials on the media of Indonesia, on Javanese community media in the Netherlands (at Leiden), and on media and performance in religious propagation in Southeast Asia (University of Michigan);
  • performance studies: courses in performance theory, theatre in Java, theatre in Indonesia, and Southeast Asian puppetry (all on MA level, at Leiden);
  • language acquisition: courses in Indonesian and Javanese (at Leiden and SOAS) and additionally in Old Javanese and Classical Malay (both at SOAS). The work on contemporary Javanese included the design of a textbook (published as Arps et al. 2000) and an interactive web-based multimedia component.

PhD supervision

Completed doctoral research for which I acted as superviser (‘promotor’) has been on Sundanese-language media in West Java (thesis defended March 2001), Javanese-language literature in Lombok (supervised together with H. M. J. Maier, defended April 2002), a television drama serial set in an indigenous Jakarta environment (defended December 2003), the role of the script in contemporary Javanese theatre (defended December 2006), the spatial aspects of Central Javanese temple remains (co-supervised with M. J. C. Klokke; defended May 2009), recent film-making in Indonesia (defended June 2009), and the Balinese narrative poem Tantri Kediri (co-supervised with W. van der Molen; defended December 2009). I have also acted as external adviser for a doctoral dissertation on King Rama II’s dance drama Inao at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (2007–2008). 

The doctoral research that I currently supervise is concerned with (1) the recording industry in West Sumatra, (2) land rights and oral family histories in contemporary Mentawai, (3) overtone singing in Taiwan, Sardinia, South Africa, and the west (jointly supervised with F. C. de Ruiter), (4) Javanese drama on television, (5) local television and the public sphere in Indonesia (jointly with William Uricchio of Utrecht University), (6) the historical emergence of the concept of “Javanese religion”, (7) the Cambodian royal dance, and (8) the stylistics of central Javanese shadow puppetry. I also supervise, with W. van der Molen (Universitas Indonesia and KITLV), research for (9) a doctoral thesis in Middle Javanese literature.

Editorships

1994–present: Member of editorial board, Semaian (monograph series, Leiden University)

2001–present: Member of advisory board, Seni: Jurnal Pengetahuan dan Penciptaan Seni (Institut Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta)

2008–present: Member of advisory board, Sintesis: Jurnal Ilmiah Kebudayaan (Universitas Sanata Dharma, Yogyakarta)

1994–2009: General editor, Bijdragen tot de Taal‑, Land- en Volkenkunde: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania (KITLV, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Leiden)

1994–2006: Editor (with W. van der Molen, I. Supriyanto, and J. van den Veerdonk), Caraka, ‘The Messenger’: Newsletter for Javanists (Department of Languages and Cultures of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Leiden University)

1997–2005: Member of editorial board, Oideion: Performing Arts Online (International Institute for Asian Studies and Nederlandse Vereniging voor Etnomusicologie ‘Arnold Bake’)

1988–1993: Member of editorial board, Indonesia Circle (published by SOAS, London)

Grants and awards

2005, 2006, 2007: Grant from Socrates Program, European Union, for MA-level Intensive Program in Southeast Asian Studies, 2006. Convened and coordinated by Ben Arps and Thomas Lindblad, Leiden University. Collaborating institutions: Southeast Asian Studies programs and departments of Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO, Paris), Université de La Rochelle (France), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Universität Hamburg (Germany), and Università degli Studi di Napoli “l’Orientale” (Italy). €35,000, including matching funds from Leiden University. Continuations, 2006 and 2007.

2004: Vernacular mobility: discursive dimensions of travel and migration in, from, and to Java in three eras. A joint project with the Council on Southeast Asia Studies, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University. On the Dutch side the project was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). € 35,000 over three years, 2005–2007.

2000: (with Prof. Patricia Spyer) Grant for a joint research project with several institutions in Indonesia, entitled Indonesian Mediations, 2001–2004 (Dfl. 1 million from the Program for Scientific Cooperation Indonesia–Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

1997, 1999, 2001: Grants for the production of a language course (book and WWW-based interactive multimedia) entitled Hedendaags Javaans [Contemporary Javanese], 1997–1999 (Dfl. 200,000 from the Faculty of Arts, Leiden University). Continuations, 1999–2000, 2001.

1996: Grant for a joint research program with the National Centre for Language Cultivation and Development, Jakarta, entitled A Handbook of Javanese Literature, 1997–2002 (Dfl. 0.9 million from the Program for Scientific Cooperation Indonesia–Netherlands, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

1995: Pionier award for a research program entitled Verbal Art in the Audio-Visual Media of Indonesia (vaavmi), 1996–2001 (Dfl. 1.4 million from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, matched by Dfl. 0.8 million by the Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), Leiden University).

Administration and service to the profession

2007–2012: Member, Advisory Committee, Australia–Netherlands Research Collaboration (ANRC)

1995, 1999–2000, 2003–2006, 2008: Chair, Department of Languages and Cultures of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Faculty of Arts, Leiden University

2004–2008: Board member, Professor Teeuw Fonds foundation

2003–2007: Board member, Vereniging KITLV (the learned society), Leiden

2003–2005: Co-chair (with Prof. Patricia Spyer), research cluster Culture Studies of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies (CNWS), Leiden University

1994–2000: Chair, research cluster Culture Studies of Southeast Asia and Oceania, Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies, Leiden University

1998–2000: Member, Academic Committee, Research School of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies, Leiden University

1995–2000: Member, Academic Committee, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden

Last Modified: 11-12-2015