Jennifer Goodlander is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Dance at Indiana University. She has performed Balinese shadow puppetry in China, Indonesia, and around the United States. Her research focuses on the relationship between tradition and modernity as expressed through puppetry in Southeast Asia.
Listed in: Women’s Studies · Southeast Asian Studies · Anthropology · Gender Studies
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader. Recently, women have begun to study and perform in this traditionally male role, an innovation that has triggered resistance and controversy.
“Goodlander presents an intimate, detailed account of her studies to become a dalang, contextualizing her experiences with those of the few Balinese women dalangs. She contends that this incursion must ultimately be perceived within the gendered power systems of Balinese culture. Summing up: Recommended.”