Chiara Formichi

H. Stanley Krusen Professor of World Religions


Trained in Islamic studies (University of Rome, Italy) and the history of Southeast Asia (SOAS, London), I focus on Islam as a lived religion and as a political ideology in 20th century Indonesia and Southeast Asia more broadly. As such, my interests lie at the disciplinary intersection between Islamic Studies, History, and Area Studies, methodologically resting on archival research as well as ethnography. My current research has two foci: first, I am pursuing a comparative study of the historical genesis and contemporary status of minorities in Southeast Asia (Burma/Myanmar, Hong Kong, Malaya and Singapore). Second, I am delving into the disciplinary relation between Asian Studies and Islamic Studies.

I teach courses on various aspects of religion in Asia, with a focus on Islam and Southeast Asia. Among these are the general education course "Controversy and Debate in Islam" and the advanced seminars "Muslim Resistance: Shi'a Islam in Asia" and "Performing Islam in Southeast Asia".

I am interested in supervising honors' theses and graduate students working on aspects of Islam in Asia (from its Central region to the Far East), and on the history of Southeast Asia.


Formichi (2020) Islam and Asia: A History, Cambridge University Press

2016 "Islamic Studies or Asian Studies? Islam in Southeast Asia," The Muslim World, 106 (4): 696-718.

2015 Formichi and Feener (eds), Shi'ism in Southeast Asia: 'Alid Piety and Sectarian Constructions (New York: Oxford University Press; London: Hurst Publishers).

2015 "One Big Family? Dynamics of Interaction among the 'Lovers of the Ahlul Bayt'," in Shi'ism in Southeast Asia, pp. 269-291.

2015 "Debating 'Shi'ism' in Muslim Southeast Asia," in Shi'ism in Southeast Asia, pp. 3-15. (with R.M. Feener)

2015 Formichi and O'Connor (guest editors), "Overlooked Religions in Hong Kong," Asian Anthropology 14 (1).

2015 "(Re)Writing the History of Political Islam in Indonesia," Sojourn, 30 (1): 105-140.

2015 "Religion as an Overlooked Category in Hong Kong Legislation," Asian Anthropology, 14 (1): 21-32.

2015 "Introduction: Overlooked Religions in Hong Kong," Asian Anthropology, 14 (1): 3-7. (with P. O'Connor).

2015 "Indonesian Readings of Turkish History, 1890s to 1940s," in A.C.S. Peacock and Annabel The Gallop (eds), From Anatolia to Aceh: Ottomans, Turks and Southeast Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 241-260.

2015 "Indonesia:  un Universo Poco Noto," [Indonesia: a little-known world], in Biancamaria Scarcia and Leila Karami (eds), Il Protagonismo delle Donne in Terra d'Islam: Appunti per una Lettura Storico-Politica (Roma, Ediesse) pp. 287-303.

2014 "Violence, Sectarianism, and the Politics of Religion: Articulations of anti-Shi'a Discourses in Indonesia," Indonesia, 98 (October): 1-27.

2014 "Shaping Shi'a Identities in Contemporary Indonesia between Local Tradition and Foreign Orthodoxy," Die Welt des Islams, 54: 212-236.

2014 "From Fluid Identities to Sectarian Labels: A Historical Investigation of Indonesia's Shi'i Communities," al-Jamai'ah: Journal of Islamic Studies, 52 (1): 101-126.

2013 Formichi (ed.) Religious Pluralism, State and Society in Asia (London: Routledge).

2013 "Religious Pluralism, State and Society in Asia," in Formichi (ed.) Religious Pluralism, State and Society in Asia (London: Routledge), pp. 1-9.

2013 "Mustafa Kemal's Abrogation of the Ottoman Caliphate and its Impact on the Indonesian Nationalist Movement," in Madawi al-Rasheed, Carool Kersten, Marat Shterin (eds), Demystifying the Caliphate: Historical Memory and Contemporary Contexts (New York: Columbia University PRess; London: Hurst Publishers), pp. 95-115.

2012 Islam and the Making of the Nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th century Indonesia (Leiden: KITLV; Manoa: University of Hawai'i Press).

2011 "Why did Kartosuwiryo Start Shooting?: an Account of Dutch-Republican-Islamic Forces' Interaction in West Java, 1945-49," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 43 (3): 458-486. (with R. Elson).

2010 "Pan-Islam and Religious Nationalism: the Case of Kartosuwiryo and Negara Islam Indonesia," Indonesia, 90 (October): 125-146.


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