2022-23 Lee Kong Chian National University of Singapore-Stanford Fellows to Explore Legacies of War in Southeast Asia, Islamic Law in Indonesia

Political scientist Jacques Bertrand and social anthropologist Reza Idria will join APARC as Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellows on Southeast Asia for the 2022-23 academic year.
Stanford Arcade

APARC is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacques Bertrand, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, and Reza Idria, an assistant professor in social anthropology at Ar-Raniry State Islamic University Banda Aceh, as our 2022-23 Lee Kong Chian National University of Singapore (NUS)-Stanford Fellows on Southeast Asia. Bertrand will begin his appointment at Stanford this coming fall quarter, Idria on February 1, 2023.

The Lee Kong Chian Fellowship is the core of the Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Initiative on Southeast Asia, a joint effort established in 2007 by the National University of Singapore and Stanford University to raise the visibility, extent, and quality of scholarship on contemporary Southeast Asia. The infrastructure for research pursued through the fellowship is provided by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at NUS and APARC’s Southeast Asia Program at Stanford.

Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford fellows spend three to four months at Stanford and two to four months at NUS, writing and conducting research on, or related to, contemporary Southeast Asia. Fellows have opportunities to present their research and participate in seminars and workshops organized by relevant campus units. Exposure to the two universities and their scholars and resources enriches and diversifies collegial feedback on the fellows’ research projects and facilitates intellectual exchange and networking on both sides of the Pacific.

Meet our new fellows:

Jacques Bertrand smiling

Jacques Bertrand is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, as well as director of the Collaborative Master’s Specialization in Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies at the Asian Institute within the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Affairs. He was the founding director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the Asian Institute. He is also the co-founder of the Postcor Lab at the University of Toronto, a research hub for the study of civil wars and war-to-peace transitions. 

Professor Bertrand has worked for many years on issues of ethnic conflict, nationalism, and secessionism in Southeast Asia. His research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the United States Institute of Peace, as well as the International Development Research Centre. His most recent book, Winning by Process: The State and Neutralization of Ethnic Minorities in Myanmar, was published in July 2022 by Cornell University Press. Professor Bertrand is also the author of Democracy and Nationalist Struggles in Southeast Asia: From Secessionist Mobilization to Conflict Resolution (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Political Change in Southeast Asia (Cambridge, 2013), and Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia (Cambridge, 2004).

He is also the author of numerous articles and book chapters and co-editor of two volumes: Multination States in Asia: Accommodation or Resistance (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Democratization and Ethnic Minorities: Conflict or Compromise? (Routledge, 2014).

Professor Bertrand is leading a new research team on a project entitled “Return to Civil War: Insurgent Groups and the Decision to Abandon Peace.” Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the United States Institute of Peace, this project aims at understanding why rebel groups return to war after periods of relative peace. While the focus of civil war recurrence has often been on failures of peace agreements, this project will analyze rebel groups themselves and their strategic decisions to return to war or invest in peace. More specifically, it aims at better understanding how different legacies of war lead to varying trajectories in the post-war context. The bulk of the research involves a qualitative analysis of several cases in Southeast Asia. Bertrand builds on his vast experience of studying ethnic armed groups in Myanmar to lead new fieldwork focused on understanding variance among these groups.  

Reza Idria

Reza Idria is an Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at the Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Ar-Raniry (Ar-Raniry State Islamic University) in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He holds an MA and Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University as well as an MA in Islamic Studies from Leiden University, The Netherlands. Born and raised in Aceh, the only province adopting Sharia Law in Indonesia, Reza’s research interests are at the intersection of legal anthropology and Islamic law.

During his LKC NUS-Stanford fellowship, he will turn his doctoral dissertation, “Tales of the Unexpected: Contesting Syari’ah Law in Aceh, Indonesia,” into a book manuscript. This work is an anthropological study that examines a wide range of social and political responses that have emerged with the state implementation of Sharia (Islamic law). The empirical data for this research project has been gathered in Aceh, the only Indonesian province that has adopted Sharia. Dr. Idria is also embarking on a new research project that focuses on the legal and socio-economic consequences of the local regulation on Islamic banking.  

Idria is a reviewer for the journals American Ethnologist, Asian Medicine, and Asia Pacific Studies. He publishes in national and international journals, edits and writes book chapters in scholarly publications, gives talks, and facilitates training on issues of his interests and expertise. Besides teaching and researching, Reza is renowned for his contributions as a human rights defender and a facilitator of several cultural communities and critical study groups in Aceh. He is the Chair of the Aceh Association of Oral Tradition, and a member of the Indonesian Young Academy of Science (ALMI).

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