I study the history of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, focusing at present on Islam, nationalism, Dutch colonialism and orientalism. I earned my B.A. in Asian Studies (Arabic) at the Australian National University in Canberra (1995) and got my Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History from the University of Sydney (2001). I came to Princeton in 2005 from a postdoctoral fellowship at the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden, the Netherlands. In my first book, Islamic Nationhood and Colonial Indonesia: The Umma Below the Winds (2003), I argued that Islam played a central and largely unacknowledged role in the Indonesian nationalist movement, which historians have tended to associate mainly with a secular, Dutch-educated elite.
My latest book, The Makings of Indonesian Islam, looks at the results of an engagement between Islamic reformers with intellectual links to Cairo and influential colonial scholars, arguing that they set the parameters for the ways in which Islam has been, and still is, imagined in specific ways in both Southeast Asia and the Academy. The next project, just started, will track the peregrinations of a Yemeni sufi across the Indian Ocean in the 18th century.
I teach a survey course on the history of Southeast Asia, a methods class for rising Juniors framed around the Indian Ocean Arena in the 19th and 20th centuries, and graduate seminars on Islam in Southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean.
"Another Andalusia: Images of Colonial Southeast Asia in Arabic Newspapers" Journal of Asian Studies 66-3 (August 2007): 689-722
"The New Turn to Mecca: Snapshots of Arabic Printing and Sufi Networks in late 19th century Java," in Catherine Miller and Niloofar Haeri (eds) Langues, religion et modernite; Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Mediterranee, 124-2, pp. 113-31
"When is a Jawi Jawi? A short note on Pieter Sourij's 'Maldin' and his Minang Student 'Sayf al-Rijal,' in Lost Times and Untold Tales from the Malay World, Jan van der Putten and Mary Kilcline Cody (eds), Singapore: NUS Press, pp. 139-147