2012 Volume 1 Issue 1 Pages 109-140
Despite the vast research over the last three decades devoted to the lives and social interaction of Javanese women, little has been written on the formation of these women's identity by focusing on its development from the twentieth century up tothe early twenty-first. This paper endeavors to show that the religio-cultural identity of Javanese women was forged through a number of sociocultural circumstances. While revealing different features of the relationship between Javanese women and Islam, I shed light on the role Islam played, particularly since the early twentieth century, in providing transformative power to the role and status of Javanese Muslim women, manifested by the adoption of such Islamic dress codes as veiling, as also an important means of identity politics. I argue that new Islamic discourses have always been born out of the desire to challenge the conservative understanding of the role and status of Javanese women in different historical periods.