9 September 2015 Chaidar S. Bamualim defended his dissertation in the ceremonial room of Leiden University. It was early in the morning: 10.00, but nice conditions.
The second picture is during the examination of 45 minutes with the living professors sitting in front of a great wall with pictures of their ancestors.
Chaidar was during a long period an assistant to Merle Ricklefs who wrote his trilogy on the history of Islam in Java. Especially for the recent period (1930-2010) Chaidar worked on the period when the contrast santri-abangan was very important and then declined after the 1980s. Chaidar pays much attention to two kebatinan or aliran kepercayaan, new Javanese religions. First is the Madrais of the Kuningan-Cigugur region. Second is the AKP, Aliran Kebatinan Perjalanan, risen in 1927 (about the same time as the official recognition of Madrais), developed in the 1950s, banned in 1967. Against a move towards more orthodox Islam (as represented by PERSIS, but also by dakwah at the ITB Campus), there was also a side move towards Christianity. Christianity (not mentioned at all in the famous book by Clifford Geertz, Religion of Java) even turned into Islam's Greatest Opponent (263). Up to recent clashes between (FPI) Muslims and Christians like the HKBP Church in Bekasi, are discussed. Bamualim's book is more a weighed analysis of the developments than a detailed description. Readers will need good background information to understand the many aspects that are touched upon in this rich book.