PhD in Religious Studies (Boston University)
Specialty: Islamic Studies, History, Law, Religion and Development, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean
The main focus of my work is in Islamic Studies, with a particular emphasis on the history of Muslim societies of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean World. Within that geographic area, my first two monographs dealt with the history of legal thought and practice in Indonesia. My research interests, however, extend beyond legal history and across the broader maritime world of Islam around the Indian Ocean littoral and up along the coast of East Asia. I have worked in a number of related areas, publishing on topics including Muslim networks, Qur’anic studies, Sufism, Shi’ism, trans-regional and local histories (especially of Aceh and the Maldives). Before joining CSEAS in 2020, I was the Sultan of Oman Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and a member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford. Previous to that, I served as Research Leader of the Religion and Globalization Research Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, and Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. I have also taught at Reed College and the University of California, Riverside, and held visiting professor positions and research fellowships at Harvard, Kyoto University, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the University of Copenhagen, The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (Honolulu), and the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, the Netherlands. I am currently also an Associate Member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford.
Most of my recent work has been in the Maldives, where I have been heading a nation-wide archaeological survey of the country with a team of Maldivian and Indonesian colleagues. With my move to Kyoto earlier this year, I am setting up a new digital heritage documentation lab here at CSEAS, where we will be expanding upon this work under the new rubric of the Maritime Asia Heritage Survey: https://maritimeasiaheritage.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp. Over the coming five years, we will continue our work in the Maldives, while also expanding operations to include new survey work in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brunei and Vietnam.