After holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Modern Southeast Asian Studies at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute at Columbia University, New York, in 2013/14, Saskia Schäfer has been a Fellow at the Dahlem Research School at Freie Universität Berlin, and at the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University. She received her PhD in Political Science from Freie Universität Berlin, and holds an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies, Political Science, and Literature from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
She is currently working on a book manuscript on Islam and orthodoxy in Indonesia and Malaysia. The book investigates the public discourses on the Ahmadiyya, Shia, and other Muslims deemed "deviant."
For a long time, Indonesia and Turkey were praised as exemplary secular and Muslim democracies. They had — according to the celebratory script— overcome their military regimes and tamed Islamist voices. On 16 April 2017, however, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, himself a former Islamist turned populist technocrat, won a referendum that largely abolishes Turkey’s democratic structures. The following day, voters in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta happened to oust their governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. His fall came after a long campaign in mosques and on social media that urged Muslims not to vote for a non-Muslim. The governor was immensely popular among middle class urbanites, but accusations of blasphemy proved his downfall.
Commentators and observers of both cases disagree over whether to focus on identity and religion or on socio-economic questions in order to make sense of the electorates' votes against their own interests.
This seminar will use the two cases to discuss how different disciplinary and methodological approaches can be brought together, and how text-based approaches such as discourse analysis and legal analysis can be combined with arguments based on urban studies and economics.