Eva Nisa

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Personal profile


Dr Eva Nisa is a cultural anthropologist and expert in Islamic studies. Prior to her post in Anthropology, College of Asia and the Pacific, the Australian National University, she taught in Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. Currently, she is also Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Social and Cultural Studies, Victoria University of Wellington and Honorary Research Associate, the Faculty of Graduate Research, Victoria University of Wellington. She received her Bachelor’s degree from al-Azhar University in Egypt, with a specialisation in Qur’anic exegesis. She then continued her MA degree in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands. After finishing her PhD at the Australian National University, she was awarded two post-doctoral fellowships. The first post-doctoral fellowship was at the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg, funded by a Deutsche Forshungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Fellowship and her second post-doctoral fellowship was at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam, funded by ERC (European Research Council).

Her research and publications focus on the intersections between religious, cultural, political, economic, legal, social, and philosophical aspects of peoples’ lives. The core of her research is to analyse diverse aspects of how religion functions in the lives of believers. She is interested in global currents of Islam reshaping the lives of Muslims in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. She has established a high-quality research profile which is evidenced by her productivity, international collaborations, external and internal funding, and publications in prestigious international venues. Her research has involved international collaborative projects with scholars from the USA, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Austria, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore. Currently, she serves on the editorial board of The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology.

Current student projects

Ayesha Masood Chaudhry (PhD) (Chair and Primary Supervisor): "Navigating Religion: The Transnational Manifestations of Religious Identity among Pakistani Muslims"

Noorazah Hanim Mohd Noor (PhD) (Primary Supervisor): "The Voyeur of Utter Construction: Negotiating Values and Meanings as Architects in Kuala Lumpur"

Myra Mentari Abubakar (PhD): "Constructing a Female Hero: Memory, Representation, and Cultural Politics in Indonesia"

Primitivo III Ragandang (PhD): "Subalterns on Board? Youth Influence and the Hybrid Political Order in the Bangsamoro Region (Philippines)"

Budor Nazif A Al Alami (PhD): "Subtitling of Proper Nouns as Cultural References in (Arabic) Children's Animation Films"

Tayyaba Malik (PhD): “Comparative Study of Women Branches of AKP Turkey and JI Pakistan”

Qamar Abbas (PhD “The Interplay between Religion and Politics in Pakistan: A Study of Tehreek Labaik Pakistan and the Current Implementation of Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan”

Tzu-Chien Yen (PhD): "Recreational Fundamentalism: Hijrah counterculture and the Islamisation of middle-class lay-Muslims in Jakarta"


Research interests

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia; Islam and Muslim societies; gender; digital religion; Islamic cultural economy; Qur’anic exegesis; religion and media (social media); political religion; religion and literature; Islamic thought; Islamic law; refugee and migration.

Available student projects

I warmly welcome enquiries from prospective students (Honours, Masters and PhD) working on any topic relating to my areas of expertise and research interests, including these broad topics: Anthropology of Muslim societies; gender and religion; Islamic studies; digital technologies and social media, Islamic cultural economy and philanthropy; religion, politics, and religious violence; religion and law; refugee and migration; religion, literature, and popular culture; Asian studies; Indonesian studies; and Malaysian studies.           

I would be delighted to supervise any topic within these broad domains and other contemporary issues. If you are looking for a supervisor for an Honours, Masters or PhD in the above area, please do not hesitate to email me.

Past student projects

Sitti Sani Nurhayati, PhD (Supervisor): “Contested Identities: The Revival of Tuan Guru and the Redrawing of the post-1998 Sasak-Muslim Boundary Lines in Lombok”

Hanlie Booysen, PhD (Panel Member): “Explaining the Moderate Governance Policies of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood: Against the Inclusion-Moderation Hypothesis”

Rini Nuraeni, MA (Co-Supervisor): “Are They Satisfied? Comparing Life Satisfaction between the Current Migrants and Returned Migrants”


BA (al-Azhar University Egypt), MA (Leiden University), PhD (Australian National University)

Expertise Areas

  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Gender Specific Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Religion and Society


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