R. Michael Feener

Research Departments・Position

Cross-regional Studies・Professor


History, Anthropology, Philology, Islamic Studies, Archaeology, Religious Studies, Southeast Asian Studies

Research Interests / Keywords

Indian Ocean History, Islamic Law and Society, Religion and Development, Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures, Maldives, Maritime Asia Heritage Survey


The main focus of my work is in Islamic Studies, with a particular emphasis on the history of Muslim societies of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean World. Within that geographic area, my first two monographs dealt with the history of legal thought and practice in Indonesia. My research interests, however, extend beyond legal history and across the broader maritime world of Islam around the Indian Ocean littoral. I have also worked in a number of other areas, publishing on topics including Muslim networks, Qur’anic studies, Sufism, Shiism, trans-regional histories, and local histories (especially of Aceh). Before joining CSEAS in 2020, I was the Sultan of Oman Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, and a member of the History Faculty at the University of Oxford. Previous to that, I served as Research Leader of the Religion and Globalization Research Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, and Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. I have also taught at Reed College and the University of California, Riverside, and held visiting professor positions and research fellowships at Harvard, Kyoto University, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the University of Copenhagen, The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (Honolulu), and the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, the Netherlands. I am currently Project Leader of the Maldives Heritage Survey, and an Associate Member of the History Faculty at Oxford.