Eva Nisa


PhD (Australian National University); MA (Universiteit Leiden); BA (al-Azhar University)

Research specialties

Dr Eva Nisa received her Bachelor’s degree at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, in 2002, with a specialisation in Qur’anic exegesis. She then continued her MA degree in Islamic Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, Universiteit Leiden and graduated in 2004.

In 2013, she received her PhD from the Department of Anthropology, Australian National University. More recently, before taking up her post at VUW in 2016, she completed two post-doctoral projects. Her first post-doctoral research project was at the Universität Hamburg and was funded by the DeutscheForshungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The research pertains to Islamic contemporary literature and is a study of the role of the largest Indonesian Islamic writing forum in disseminating their version of morality, and which has developed branches in numerous countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Yemen. Her second post-doctoral project was completed at the Universiteit Amsterdam and was funded by the European Research Council Advance Grant. The research titled “Problematizing ‘Muslim Marriages’: Contestations and Ambiguities” focuses on unconventional Muslim marriages in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Currently, she is working with Prof Lyn Parker (University of Western Australia) — editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (Brill) for Southeast Asia and East Asia — on the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures.

Current research projects

Current Research Projects

  • Eva is conducting international collaborative research seeking to understand the interplay between religion, gender, and marriage in Muslim settings.
  • Eva is an affiliated researcher of the ‘Muslim Marriages’ project, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam (https://religionresearch.org/musmar2014/researchers/eva-f-nisa/). The project analyses what kinds of ‘Muslim marriages’ are problematised by state and non-state actions. This covers the trends of contract marriage, unregistered marriage, arranged marriage, and online secret marriage in Indonesia, and speed dating in Malaysia.
  • Eva is working on an international team project titled “Islamic (Inter)Faces of the Internet: Emerging Socialities and Forms of Piety in Indonesia”, Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences. This collaborative project seeks to understand the intersection between religion, advanced technology and media, in particular social media platforms.
  • Eva is continuing research on the role of al-Azhar University, Egypt and its graduates in spreading moderate (wasatiyya) Islam in Asia amidst the growing intensification of influences of both liberal and radical understandings of Islam. This research is a continuation of Eva’s work in collaboration with Prof Judith Schlehe from the University of Freiburg which was conducted when Eva was guest researcher at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.

Eva’s most current research interests focus on:

  • The role of Muslim youth in spreading diverse voices of Islam in Southeast Asia;
  • Rohingya refugees and Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia;
  • Islamic economy, philanthropy and middle-class Muslims;
  • Reformations in Islamic law and Muslim female judges.

Research Supervision

Eva’s research and publications focus on the intersections between the religious, political, economic, legal, social, cultural, 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 would be delighted to supervise students working on diverse aspects of religions in the modern world, especially those related to her research interests, including: religion and gender relations, religion and politics, political Islam, the anthropology of Islam, religion and media (social media), Islamic thought, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic economy and philanthropy, Islamic law, law and religion, religious radicalism, refugees and migration, marriage and divorce, religion and youth, religion and literature, and religion and popular culture.

Selected publications

  • Nisa, Eva F. 2018. “Unregistered Marriages of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia: Contrasting Positions of State Agents.” Sociology of Islam, 6: 338-358.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2018. “The Bureaucratization of Muslim Marriage in Indonesia.” Journal of Law and Religion. Pp. 1-19.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2018. “Social Media and the Birth of an Islamic Social Movement: ODOJ (One Day One Juz) in Contemporary Indonesia.” Indonesia and the Malay World, 46(134): 24-43.
  • Künkler, Mirjam and Nisa, Eva F. 2018. “Re-establishing Juristic Expertise: A Historic Congress of Female Islamic Scholars.” International Institute for Asian Studies, 79 (Spring). Available at: https://iias.asia/the-newsletter/article/re-establishing-juristic-expertise-historic-congress-female-islamic-scholars.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2018. “Creative and Lucrative Da’wa: The Visual Culture of Instagram amongst Female Muslim Youth in Indonesia.” Asiascape: Digital Asia, vol. 5(1-2): 68-99.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2017. “Allure of ‘One Day One Juz’”. American Ethnologist, November 08. Available at: https://americanethnologist.org/features/collections/piety-celebrity-sociality/the-allure-of-one-day-one-juz.
  • Künkler, Mirjam and Nisa, Eva F. 2017. “A Fatwa against Sexual Violence: The Story of a Historic Congress of Female Islamic Scholars” Opendemocracy, 26 June. Available at: https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mirjam-k-nkler-eva-nisa/fatwa-sexual-violence-women-Islamic-scholars.
  • Arnez, Monika and Nisa, Eva F. 2016. "Dimensions of Morality: The Transnational Writers’ Collective Forum Lingkar Pena." Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania, 172/4: 449-478.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2016. “The Internet Subculture of Indonesian Face-veiled Women” in Piela, Anna (ed.). Islam and the Media: Critical Concepts in Sociology. Routledge.
  • Nisa, Eva. 2016. "Marriage Practices: Indonesia." Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, ed. by Suad Joseph et al, Brill Reference Online, http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopedia-of-women-and-islamic-cultures/marriage-practices-indonesia-COM_002088?s.num=0&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopedia-of-women-and-islamic-cultures&s.q=eva+nisa.
  • Schlehe, Judith and Nisa, Eva F. “The Meanings of Moderate Islam in Indonesia: Alignments and Dealignments of Azharites.” Occasional Paper Series: Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Freiburg, 31 (January 2016): 1-15.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2014. “The Marginalised Majority: Indonesian Muslim Women on Nationalism.” RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 48/1: 127-158.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2014. “Insights into the Lives of Indonesian Female Tablīghī Jamā‘at.” Modern Asian Studies, 48/2: 468-491.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2014. “Sink or Swim in Marriage Relationships: Indonesian Female Migrant Workers in Hong Kong.” In Kayoko Ishii, ed. Dynamics of Marriage Migration in Asia, Tokyo, Research Institute for the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), pp. 35-61.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2013. “The Internet Subculture of Indonesian Face-veiled Women.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16/3: 241-255.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2012. “Female Voices on Jakarta’s Da’wa Stage.” RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 46/1: 55-81.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2012. “Embodied Faith: Agency and Obedience among Face-veiled University Students in Indonesia.” The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13/4: 366-381.
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2012. “Cadari of Wahdah Islamiyah: Women as Dedicated Actors of Ultraconservatism,” Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 30, (http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue30/nisa.htm).
  • Nisa, Eva F. 2011. “Marriage and Divorce for the Sake of Religion: The Marital Life of Cadari in Indonesia.” Asian Journal of Social Science, 39/6: 797-820.
  • Amrullah, Eva F. 2011. “Der Erfolg von Ayat-Ayat Cinta und die Entstehung der Gesichtsschleier Romane’ in zeitgenössischer indonesischer Erzählliteratur.” Hamburger Südostasienstudien, 5: 55-82.
  • Amrullah, Eva F. 2011. “Seeking Sanctuary in ‘the Age of Disorder’: Women in Contemporary Tablīghī Jamā‘at.” Contemporary Islam, 5/2: 135-160.
  • Amrullah, Eva F. 2010. “Wahhabism.” in Edward E. Curtis IV, ed. Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, New York, Facts On File, pp. 571-572.
  • Amrullah, Eva F. 2008. “Indonesian Muslim Fashion: Styles & Designs.” ISIM Review 22: 22-23.
  • Amrullah, Eva F. 2010. “New Age Movement: Searching a ‘New Shelter’ of Spirituality” in Faried F. Saenong & Eko N.M. Saputro, eds. Enlightenment from Within: Discourses of Governance, Economics and Religion in Contemporary Indonesia, Canberra, Minaret, pp. 281-302.



PDF version of Eva Nisa's CV