Unlike ordinary travel experiences, the PII program challenges participants to develop deeper intellectual insights into the historical, cultural, religious, economic and political systems of the global locations they explore. These encounters—and the interdisciplinary exchanges that take place among colleagues—provide faculty and staff with experiences and opportunities to enhance their teaching and international perspectives, as well as develop new scholarly interests and research.
The trip, led by Edge, came about from his experiences traveling to Bali for more than 25 years to study various aspects of the culture—from trance to traditional healing to concepts of self—which have deepened his understanding of cross-cultural differences. From his experiences, and in an effort to enhance the international and interdisciplinary perspectives of his colleagues, Edge worked to coordinate the PII trip for the time of year in the Balinese calendar when significant cultural and religious trance possession ceremonies take place. The majority of people in Bali practice what they call Bali Hinduism, which has roots in Hinduism as practiced in Java, Indonesia, centuries earlier. It is a religion interwoven with art, magic and rituals in which gods and demigods are worshipped together with ancestors, indigenous agricultural deities, and sacred places.