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and the caste system. But, as many 20th century scholars would note, the Balinese certainly
were influenced by Hinduism and, later, forced to accept Hinduism by both the Dutch and, as
will be discussed, by the Indonesian government. Yet they would never fully replace their own
traditional beliefs, such as their own set of gods and unique rituals, with Hinduism or anything
else. (Eiseman, 1989; Geertz, 1980; Pringle, 2004)
Early Tourists, Early Writers
The earliest 20th century writings on Bali coincided, not surprisingly, with the onset of
tourism on the island, an emerging industry that, as David Shavit notes, would quickly exploit
the images and writings of the earliest European and American writers in an attempt to sell Bali
as a tourist destination to the rest of the world. This would result in a “Western romance with
Bali largely composed of images of a tropical Eden.”(Shavit, 2003:12-13) The world was, after
all, Shavit points out, still struggling through post-WWI hardships in the 1920s and 30s. Books
showing the allure of inviting peaceful landscapes and beautiful Balinese people “struck a
chord” in Europe. (ibid.) Those writing and presenting ideas and theories about Balinese
culture at this time fall into what I am describing as the “First Wave” category of scholars or
Baliologists. Enchanted by the tiny island and its peoples, these earliest theorists presented
research based on first hand observations. Much of the writings of this time illustrated a sense
of discovery: a discovery of something exotic, sensuous, something “different” from what these
early travelers were accustomed to. Hence, there seemed an overriding desire to capture and
present what it was that made the Balinese so “Balinese.”
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Slide 1
Slide 1
Tagle, Sam - The Spirit of Great Oak
Tagle, Sam - The Spirit of Great Oak