In recent years the largest Muslim-majority country, Indonesia, has seen the growth of contrary trends: a peaceful movement for democracy led and supported mostly by Muslims but also incidents of terrorism and signs of paramilitarism linked mainly to radical Islamists. Prof. Hefner will examine the role of Indonesia's Islamic madrasas in both cases, assess the likely future of Indonesian Muslim politics, and explore the implications of Indonesia's experience for the wider Muslim world.
Robert W. Hefner has directed the program on Islam and civil society at Boston University since 1991. He has conducted research on religion and politics in Southeast Asia for over three decades, and has authored or edited a dozen books and several major policy reports. His most recent books include, Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education (edited with Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton University Press, 2007); ed., Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization (Princeton, 2005); and Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton, 2000). He is the invited editor of the sixth volume of the forthcoming New Cambridge History of Islam, Muslims and Modernity: Society and Culture since 1800, and is now writing a book for the Carnegie Corporation on Islamic education and democratization in Indonesia.