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Nur Amali Ibrahim

Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies and Department of International Studies

Sycamore Hall 201


Ph.D., New York University, 2011

Research Interests

Professional Biography

I am an anthropologist of Islam who specializes on Indonesia. I am broadly interested in theories and debates concerning the acquisition of cultural practices, the formation of religious subjectivity, and the politics of defining religious orthodoxy.

My current project examines how university students in contemporary Indonesia, traditionally a powerful political body in the nation, become socialized into Muslims with divergent interpretations of their religion. I focus on two rival student groups: Islamists who hold a puritanical religious view and who demand the implementation of the sharia (Islamic law) in Indonesia; and liberal Muslims committed to pluralism and the secularization of the polity. While recent research in the anthropology of religion has cast important light on the development of rigid ascetic discipline among Islamists, what appears to be overlooked is that this religious docility comprises only one facet of contemporary piety that should not be taken as paradigmatic of Islam. I argue, in contrast, that the formation of Muslim subjectivities is contingent upon ongoing contests between rival factions over what constitutes “proper” Islam. To demonstrate this, I analyze the micro-practices of religious pedagogy, for instance, how the reading of the Quran is mediated through modern technologies of the self for the Islamists, and social sciences and humanities literatures for the liberals. These pedagogical practices allow university students to participate in Islamist and liberal Muslim networks (for example, as supporters, interns, or research assistants in NGOs, political parties, or religious institutions), which transforms these students into political actors, thus boosting each faction’s quest for religious hegemony.


Courses Recently Taught


"Homophobic Muslims: Emerging Trends in Multireligious Singapore", Comparative Studies in Society and History, 2016;58(4):955–981.


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