Profile: Achmad Munjid


Achmad Munjid

Dr. Achmad Munjid is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Cultural Sciences and a member of the Center for Religious and Cross Cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. Dr. Munjid was a 2019 recipient of an AIFIS/Luce Foundation grant, which he used to study religious diversity and tolerance among the Indonesian diaspora in Philadelphia. He was awarded a Ph.D. from Temple University in 2014 for his dissertation Building a Shared Home: Investigating the Intellectual Legacy of the Key Thinkers of Inter-Religious Dialogue in Indonesia. Dr. Munjid pursues a multidisciplinary research practice, with key interests in interfaith dialogue, religion in public life, religion and violence, religious radicalism, freedom of religion, religious education, secularization, death and dying, and world literature. He has published works both of fiction and non-fiction.

Selected publications:

Deep Listening, Deep Respect, Authentic Friendship as the Basis for Interfaith Understanding (with Lindy Backues). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, (forthcoming) 2019.

Agama Sebagai Kritik Sosial (Religion as Social Critique). Yogyakarta: Dua Enam, (forthcoming) 2019.

Negeri di Balik Bulan (The Country Below the Moon), a collection of short stories. Cilacap: Lesbumi & Era Baru Pressindo, 2015.

Dr. Achmad Munjid visiting the Kahin Center for Advanced Research on Southeast Asian Studies - and home of the AIFIS office in America - on the Cornell University campus.

Dr. Achmad Munjid visiting the Kahin Center for Advanced Research on Southeast Asian Studies - and home of the AIFIS office in America - on the Cornell University campus.

Profile: Wendy Erb

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Wendy Erb

Wendy Erb is a 2018-2019 AIFIS/Luce Foundation Fellow. With a Ph.D. in Anthropological Sciences from SUNY Stony Brook, Erb has a diverse academic and research background in biology and anthropology. She has held academic and research appointments at Cornell, Rutgers, and Columbia. Erb developed a project on her AIFIS Fellowship, Calls for Conservation: Bioacoustic Monitoring of Endangered Apes to Support Protection of a Threatened Bornean Landscape, focusing on bioacoustics in a natural environment. Her work in Indonesia led to her current appointment in the bioacoustic research at the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University. To learn more about Wendy Erb, her research, and work in Indonesia visit her website.

Selected publications:

Erb, WM, B Barrow, AN Hofner, SS Utami Atmoko, ER Vogel. 2018. “Wildfire smoke negatively impacts activity budgets and energy balance of wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii).” Scientific Reports. 8: 7606.

Erb, WM, LM Porter. 2017. “Mother's little helpers: What we know (and don't know) about cooperative infant care in callitrichines.” Evolutionary Anthropology. 26 (1): 25-37.

Erb, WM, T Ziegler, NS Lestari, K Hammerschmidt. 2016. “Are simakobu (Simias concolor) loud calls energetically costly signals?” American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 161 (1): 44-52.

Erb, WM, C Borries, NS Lestari, JK Hodges. 2012. “Annual variation in ecology and reproduction of wild simakobu (Simias concolor).” International Journal of Primatology. 33(6): 1406-1419.

Wendy Erb working with students the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta

Wendy Erb working with students the University of Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta

Testimonial: Darin Self

AIFIS has played a fundamental role in improving my research experience in Indonesia. From initial field visits, navigating RISTEK, and settling into Indonesia AIFIS has helped in a tremendous way with research relating to my dissertation. Not only is the staff at AIFIS knowledgeable about the ins and outs of conducting research in Indonesia, but they are often quick to respond and easily accessible. I have enjoyed interacting with AIFIS personnel in person and via email or WhatsApp -- adding an uplifting personal touch to my time in Indonesia.

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Testimonial: Verena Hanna Meyer

My research builds work in the anthropology of Islam on tension and fragmentation in reformist and traditionalist discourses to examine how Javanese Muslims negotiate the different and potentially incommensurable epistemologies of traditional Sufism and modernist reformism. It will do so by studying the discourses and traditions around genealogical lineages, as genealogies can be regarded as particularly dense nodal points where different epistemologies and ideologies intersect, and specifically highlight how these lineages are drawn on to make authoritative claims. I am doing my fieldwork in Yogyakarta. AIFIS assisted me greatly in obtaining my research visa and making the process smoothly. They explained the process to me, told me what all the necessary steps were, and facilitated my communication with RISTEK. When RISTEK asked me to get an additional sponsor, AIFIS found a suitable person and established contact for me. Thanks to their help, I was able to complete all necessary procedures in Jakarta in one day and could immediately travel to Yogyakarta, my field site. In Yogyakarta, AIFIS connected me with their local representative who was available for help and advice, especially with the necessary procedures with local government agencies. I am very grateful to the AIFIS staff for their help.

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Testimonial: Sarah Tucker

I received the American Institute for Indonesian Studies CAORC Research Fellowship in 2015 to examine vulnerable grouper fisheries in Indonesia. I used the fellowship to extend my research time and geographic scope in Indonesia, as I had just finished a U.S. Department of State Fulbright Student Research Fellowship. At that moment, this was one of the very few research scholarships available for an early career researcher. Because I was able to extend my time in Indonesia, I made more connections with academics at different universities in Indonesia and worked more closely for a longer period with my research collaborators on our analyses. This was beneficial to both my career and to the careers of my colleagues at Universitas Udayanna. I was also able to finish data collection with my colleagues for an unexpected discovery of a new grouper species, Epinephelus kupangensis (Tucker et al., 2016).  With the AIFIS CAORC Research Fellowship, my research experience in Indonesia was significantly more impactful for my academic career. My research and mentoring experiences abroad and the discovery of Epinephelus kupangensis strengthened my skills and narrowed my focus as an academic. These experiences better prepared me as a candidate for graduate school and for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. I am now a PhD student of Marine Biology at the University of Hawai’i. Although, I have no current research projects in Indonesia, I look forward to the next opportunity and speak to my Indonesian collaborators often! The AIFIS CAORC Research Fellowship was a life-changing opportunity and I thank all of those whom have made it possible.

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Profile: Desi Adhariani



Desi Adhariani, PhD, is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia. She holds a PhD from Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, which was funded by an Australia Awards Scholarship. She has been actively involved in several research projects (most of them take multidisciplinary perspectives) and has attracted several research grants namely from the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Higher Education, CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and Universitas Indonesia. Her PhD dissertation has been published as a book with Palgrave MacMillan: "Financial Management and Corporate Governance from the Feminist Ethics of Care Perspective" (Authors: Desi Adhariani, Nick Sciulli,  Robert Clift). The complete list of her work and publications can be found in her Research Gate and LinkedIn account: Desi Adhariani.

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Desi Adhariani, Charl de Villiers, (2018) "Integrated reporting: perspectives of corporate report preparers and other stakeholders", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal,

Ain Hajawiyah, Desi Adhariani, Chaerul Djakman, (2018) "The sequential effect of CSR and COE: family ownership moderation", Social Responsibility Journal, 

Profile: Gillian Irwin

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Gillian Irwin

Gillian Irwin received an AIFIS Fellowship in 2017 to pursue her project A Moral Music Education: Indonesian National Values in Javanese Music Classrooms. Gillian is currently a Phd. candidate in ethnomusicology the University of California, Davis. In addition to being an AIFIS Fellow, she is a Fulbright Research Grant recipient, as well as a former Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. While working on her graduate degrees, Gillian has written for several ethnomusicology student publications and given presentations at various institutions in the United States, Indonesia, and China. For more information about Gillian please visit her page on the UC Davis website.

Selected Publications:

“Beyond the IRB: Affirmative Consent in the Field,” Society for Ethnomusicology Student News, Volume 14, Number 1 (2018).

“Victims of Globalization? Reactions to Learning the Recorder in Indonesian Music Classes,” “Sounding Board,” a blog of UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Review (2018).

Gillian working with students at SMK 6 in Yogyakarta

Gillian working with students at SMK 6 in Yogyakarta

Profile: Kikue Hamayotsu


Kikue Hamayotsu

Kikue Hamayotsu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, Faculty Associate at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and a member of the AIFIS Executive Board. Her research focuses on democracy, religion, and politics in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia and Indonesia. Hamayotsu’s current research looks at religious freedom and democracy, religious movements and political parties, identity politics and religious conflict. She has published numerous articles, and now working to complete a book entitled Intolerant Islam: Democratization, Religion and Conflict in Southeast Asia. For more about Hamayotsu’s work and complete list of her publications, please see her faculty page.

Selected Publications:

“Conservative Turn? Religion, State and Conflict in Indonesia,” Pacific Affairs: Volume 87, No. 4 (December 2014):  815-825.

“The Limits of Civil Society in Democratic Indonesia: Media Freedom and Religious Intolerance,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 43, No. 4 (November 2013): 658-677.

“Towards a More Democratic Regime and Society? The Politics of Faith and Ethnicity in a Transitional Multi-Ethnic Malaysia” Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Vol. 32, No. 2 (February 2013): 61-88.

"Bringing Clientelism and Institutions Back In: The Rise and Fall of Religious Parties in Indonesia's Electoral Democracy", Party Politics in Southeast Asia: Clientelism and Electoral Competition in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, edited by Dirk Tomsa and Andreas Ufen (London: Routledge, 2012).

"Once a Muslim, Always a Muslim: The Politics of State Enforcement of Syariah in Contemporary Malaysia," South East Asia Research, Vol. 20, No. 3 (September 2012): 399-421.

Dr. Kikue Hamayostu conducting research in Indonesia.

Dr. Kikue Hamayostu conducting research in Indonesia.

Profile: Jonathan McLeod


Jonathan mcleod

Jonathan McLeod is a PhD Candidate in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His interest in studying environmental issues in Indonesia has roots during his high school years spent in Singapore, when he experienced the effects of the massive El Nino forest fires of 1998 during the fall of the Suharto regime. His doctoral works explores the intersection of environmental conservation, development, and indigenous land rights and identity in West Papua, Indonesia. This little explored and rapidly developing region of Indonesia is becoming a rising priority for global climate change initiatives due to Papua's vast tracts of remaining forests. Since March of 2017, Jonathan has conducted ethnographic research in collaboration with the Abun people in Tambrauw, a “kabupaten konservasi” that is one of Indonesia’s poorest districts. As the Abun and Tambrauw's other tribes seek alternative and culturally appropriate pathways to prosperity, a key component of their efforts is integrating, and even reviving, indigenous traditions. For many Papuans, this is changing a centuries-old narrative about the supposed incompatibility of indigenous culture and progress, yet also means such peoples face challenging questions about how to “develop” while maintaining their identity and values. He expects to wrap up research for his dissertation at the beginning of next year, and is already at work on several journal publications.


For an example of Jonathan's writing, click here.

Profile: Henry Spiller


Henry Spiller

An accomplished musician and scholar of Sundanese music and dance from West Java, Henry Spiller is a Professor of Music at UC Davis.  He holds a MA in harp performance from the Holy Names College, and an MA and PhD in ethnomusicology from UC Berkeley.  Henry has published prolifically on Indonesian music, often focusing on gender identity, ritual performance, and social identity in music and dance.  He has published three books on gamelan and Indonesia.  His most recent book, Javaphilia: American Love of Javanese Music and Dance, was awarded the 2016 Bruno Nettl Prize by the Society for Ethnomusicology.  The book offers an innovative look at western interest in and appropriation of traditional Javanese music, addressing the cultural, psychological, and artistic motivations of four different American artists working with Javanese music and dance.


Javaphilia:  An American Love Affair with Javanese Music and Dance, University of Hawai'i Press, 2015

Erotic Triangles:  Sundanese Dance and Masculinity in West Java, University of Chicago Press, 2010

Focus: Gamelan Music of Indonesia, Routledge, 2008

Gamelan: The Traditional Sounds of Indonesia, Santa Barbara, 2005

Henry's writing is also included in the recent anthology, Making Waves: Traveling Musics in Hawai'i, Asia, and the Pacific.