New Face on Southeast Asia Studies DR


We are very excited to welcome a new editor to “Southeast Asia Studies Dissertation Reviews,” Inga Gruß (Cornell University). She joins the current editor, Chiara Formichi (City University of Hong Kong). Our new duumvirate will continue to bring you friendly, non-critical overviews of recently defended, unpublished dissertations in this dynamic field. If you are interested in having your dissertation reviewed, please fill out the Review Application Form. If you are interested in helping out in some other way, please contact Our Southeast Asia Studies Editors can be reached at and


Introducing Our Field Editors

Chiara Formichi is Assistant Professor of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong. She has a PhD in History of Southeast Asia (SOAS, London), and her background is in Arabic language and Islamic Studies (BA Hons., University of Rome “La Sapienza”) and Southeast Asian Studies (MA, SOAS). Her academic interest in Indonesia developed after she started her undergraduate studies in Rome, and it was a confluence of fascination with the political position of Islam there, and her upbringing in Bali, where is only performed by Javanese migrants (for the most part) and under the heavy shadow of a Hindu majority. PhD research developed around the life and political career of Kartosuwiryo, leader of the Darul Islam movement and head of an Islamic state of Indonesian in the 1949-1962 period. The related monograph is titled Islam and the making of the nation: Kartosuwiryo and Political Islam in 20th century Indonesia (HITLV/University of Hawai’i Press, 2012). Current research has focused on the transfer and impact of Mustafa Kemal’s secularization reforms to Indonesia, as well as on ‘Alid piety and the formation of Shi’i communities in contemporary Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. On this she has a co-edited volume Shi’ism and Beyond: Alid Piety in Muslim Southeast Asia (Formichi and Feener, eds) which is to be published in 2013. Her research interests range from modern Islamic political thought, contemporary expressions of Islam, and transnational connections between Muslim Southeast Asia and the greater Middle Eastern region. She teaches undergraduate courses on Religion and Society in Asia, History and Society in Asia, and postgraduate modules on Transnational Islam, and State and Society in the Middle East. [Website here]


Inga Gruß is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. She lived, worked and researched in Southeast Asia for a number of years before starting her doctoral work. Her dissertation fieldwork was among labor migrants from Myanmar on Thailand’s west coast. She is currently completing her dissertation that focuses on the ways in which migrants’ relationships to time and place unfold while living away from home. Her general research interests include power, representation and class relations. [Website here]





Image: Anonymous (Cambodian?), Vessantara Jataka, Chapter 11: Jujaka Treats Jali and Kanha Poorly; While Jujaka Sleeps the Children Are Cared For (paint on cloth, 1875-1925, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore). Wikimedia Commons.

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