Robert William Hefner, professor of anthropology and associate director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, is the inaugural Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow on Southeast Asia.
Professor Hefner has been associate director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University, where he has directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991. Hefner has carried out research on religion and politics in Southeast Asia for the past thirty years, and has authored or edited a fourteen books, as well as several major policy reports for private and public foundations. His most recent books include, Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education (edited with Muhammad Qasim Zaman, Princeton 2007); ed., Remaking Muslim Politics: Pluralism, Contestation, Democratization (Princeton 2005), ed., and Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton 2000). Hefner is also the invited editor for the sixth volume of the forthcoming New Cambridge History of Islam, Muslims and Modernity: Society and Culture since 1800.
Hefner is currently writing a book on Islamic education, democratization, and political violence in Indonesia. The research and writing locate the Indonesian example in the culture and politics of the broader Muslim world. His book also revisits the the question of the role of religious and secular knowledge in modernity.
Hefner will divide his time between Boston University, the National University of Singapore, and Stanford, where he will teach a seminar during the spring quarter.