Eva Nisa

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Eva Nisa is a cultural anthropologist and expert in Islamic studies. She currently holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award). 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 and chair of the Islam in Southeast Asia series, ANU Press.

Research interests

Anthropology of religion; culture; gender; anthropology of gender and sexuality; religion; Indonesia, Malaysia, Southeast Asia and Asia; Anthropology of Islam; Islam and Muslim societies; Islamic feminism; digital religion; Islamic cultural economy; halal industry; Qur’anic exegesis; religion and media (social media); political religion; religion and literature; Islamic thought; Islamic law; refugee and migration.

Current student projects

  • Ayesha Masood Chaudhry, PhD (Chair Supervisor): "Navigating Religion: The Transnational Manifestations of Religious Identity among Pakistani Muslims"
  • Dewi Hermawati Resminingayu, PhD (Chair Supervisor): “Wellbeing and the Dynamics of Cultural Practices in Probolinggo”
  • Jayne Fendyk, Master’s (Chair Supervisor): "Indonesia's Sexual Violence Law"
  • Rani Dwi Putri, MPhil (Chair Supervisor): “Being Young Female within Local Violent-Extremist Networks”
  • Charlotte Tribouillois, PhD (Associate Supervisor): “Intermediaries between the World of Human Beings and Spirits”
  • Joshua Walker, PhD (Associate Supervisor): "Indonesia’s Emerging Electric Vehicle Supply Chain"
  • Joshua Robinson, PhD (Associate Supervisor): "Intercultural and Intermodal Productions: Ethical Bi-Musical Approaches to Composition and Performance Practices"
  • Qiu Dingwen, PhD (Associate Supervisor): “Connection to China among Chinese overseas international students”
  • Primitivo III Ragandang, PhD (Associate Supervisor): "Youth Influence and the Hybrid Political Order in the Bangsamoro Region (Philippines)"
  • Budor Nazif A Al Alami, PhD (Associate Supervisor): "Subtitling of Proper Nouns as Cultural References in (Arabic) Children's Animation Films"
  • Tayyaba Malik, PhD (Associate Supervisor): “Comparative Study of Women Branches of AKP Turkey and JI Pakistan”
  • Myra Mentari Abubakar, PhD (Associate Supervisor): "Constructing a Female Hero in Indonesia"

Past student projects

  • Qamar Abbas, PhD (Co-Supervisor): “The Interplay between Religion and Politics in Pakistan”
  • Sitti Sani Nurhayati, PhD (Associate Supervisor): “Contested Identities: The Revival of Tuan Guru and the Redrawing of the post-1998 Sasak-Muslim Boundary Lines in Lombok”
  • Hanlie Booysen, PhD (Associate Supervisor): “Explaining the Moderate Governance Policies of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood”
  • Noorazah Hanim Mohd Noor, PhD (Supervisor): "The Voyeur of Utter Construction: Negotiating Values and Meanings as Architects in Kuala Lumpur"
  • Rini Nuraeni, Master's Thesis (Co-Supervisor): “Are They Satisfied? Comparing Life Satisfaction between the Current Migrants and Returned Migrants”

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.


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

Researcher's projects


  • ARC DECRA Fellowship (2021 – 2024) ‘Standardising Halal: Interpreting the Tension between Global and Local’

Standardising Halal: interpreting the tension between global and local
(Field-based research in Indonesia and Malaysia, 2021 – 2024)
This project aims to advance understanding of how halal standardisation has been reimagined in the context of global Muslim cultural diversity. It investigates the halal cultural economy—finance, food, travel, fashion, media, and cosmetics—in Malaysia and Indonesia. Using innovative interdisciplinary approaches, in particularanthropology and Islamic textual analysis, this project expects to generate a new level of understanding of halal industries. Expected outcomes include identifying major players and unpacking local cultural responses to the global move to homogenise halal practices. Australia is the world’s second-largest halal food exporter: this research should benefit its businesses’ expansion into contemporary halal industries.

  • ARC Discovery Project (2023 – 2026) ‘Suharto's Enablers?’ led by Professor Robert Cribb
  • Henry Luce Foundation (2020 – Present) ‘The Global Politics of “Moderate Islam”’ led by Associate Professor James Hoesterey (Emory University) and Dr Yasmin Moll (University of Michigan) 


  • Asia Pacific Innovation Programme ECR Research Excellence  (2019 – 2020) ‘Weaving Together Education, Economy, Politics: Building a Halal Ecosystem in Malaysia’
  • International Collaboration Grant, Global Religion Research Initiative Grant (GRRI) (2017 – 2019) Awarded by the University of Notre Dame. Project title: ‘Gender and Divorce among Muslims in Contemporary Indonesia’
  • Research Fellowship and Research Associate (2015 – 2016, 2016 – 2019) Awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) led by Professor Annelies Moors (University of Amsterdam). Project title: ‘Problematizing “Muslim Marriages”: Ambiguities and Contestations’
  • Research Fellowship, International Collaboration Grant (2015 – 2017) Awarded by the Austrian Science Fund. Project title: ‘Islamic (Inter) Faces of the Internet’


Teaching and Supervision awards:

  • Nominated for 2022 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Award for 2021 College of Asia and the Pacific Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Nominated for a 2022 College of Asia and the Pacific Commendation for Excellence in Supervision
  • Nominated for a 2021 College of Asia & the Pacific Teaching Award


  • GN Anthropology
  • HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
  • PI Oriental languages and literatures

Expertise Areas

  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Gender Specific Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Religion and Society
  • Indonesian Studies
  • Southeast Asia
  • Malaysian Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Islamic Feminism
  • Islamic Economy
  • Halal Industry
  • Anthropology not elsewhere classified
  • Gender and Masculinities
  • Gender Studies
  • Gender, policy and administration
  • Feminism
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality


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Network (past 5 years)

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