Dr Kevin W. Fogg

  • Post-colonial Indonesia
  • Islam in Southeast Asia
  • Southeast Asian political history


My research looks broadly at the history of Islam in Southeast Asia, especially modern Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

My first book is a study of the role of Islam in the Indonesian revolution (1945-49), exposing particularly the different understandings held respectively at the elite and grassroots levels. For this work, I conducted well over one hundred oral history interviews across Indonesia, as well as researching in the national archives, private collections, and libraries around the world. I argue that many Muslims fighting for independence saw Islam as both their motivation to enter the fight and as an ideology to guide the future state. At the same time, changes within the leadership of Islamic politics during these years brought a different vision of Islam to the fore and set precedents that continue to influence politics until today.

Recent articles include a study of language change and how it has impacted the Muslim community in Southeast Asia, an argument for Islam as a key influence on Indonesia’s foreign policy in the 1940s, an intellectual genealogy of Indonesian Islamic Socialism, and an analysis of the cult of veneration around an Indonesian Muslim saint. I am also active in translation from Indonesian to English, and producing digital outputs, such as the original online database of Indonesian parliamentarians at www.konstituante.net.

My next book is on Indonesian religious associational life. During sabbatical in 2016-17, I researched three organizations—Nahdlatul Wathan on Lombok, Alkhairaat in Palu, and Jamiyatul Washliyah in Medan—that each claim millions of followers, hundreds of schools, and an important role in local politics, but no comprehensive studies have introduced the groups. Fascinatingly, these organizations evolved in parallel, from schools in the 1930s to networks in the 1940s and formal organizations in the 1950s, etc., but totally independent of one another. So, by studying their development over the last century, I hope also to reveal some of the structural factors impacting religious life in Indonesia in the modern era.

In my research, I work closely with the State Islamic University network, especially the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta and the Pusat Pengkajian Islam dan Masyarakat. Other partners include Islamic organizations throughout the archipelago, Universitas Indonesia, and the Universitas Negeri-Padang.




  • Indonesian Islamic socialism and its South Asian roots

  • Making an Indonesian National Hero for Lombok: The shifting category of pahlawan nasional

  • State and Islamic education growing into each other in Indonesia

  • Reinforcing Charisma in the Bureaucratisation of Indonesian Islamic Organisations

  • Book Reviews-Southeast Asia

  • Decolonization and Religion: Islamic Arguments for Indonesian Independence

  • “News of Independence Spreads,” “Muslims Embrace the Revolution,” and “Shaping Indonesia and Its Government,”

  • Islam in Indonesia’s Foreign Policy, 1945-1949

  • The Influence of Muhammad ᶜAbduh in Indonesia: Speech given by Hamka (Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah) when receiving a doctorate Honoris Causa from al-Azhar University, Cairo

  • The standardisation of the Indonesian language and its consequences for Islamic communities

  • More

Current DPhil Students

  • Frances O’Morchoe

  • Matthew Woolgar

I would be like to hear from potential DPhil students regarding Modern Southeast Asian history or history of Islamic societies and any Masters students in Global & Imperial History

I currently teach:

Prelims: FHS: Masters
Approaches to History - Sociology

General History XIV

History of Islamic Societies, 1700-present

  General History XIX  
  Further Subject 24: Imperialism and Nationalism in Southeast Asia  
In the Media


My research on language change in Indonesian and its influence on society has been profiled by one of Indonesia’s leading daily papers, Republika, at http://dev.republika.co.id/berita/koran/islam-digest-koran/16/01/24/o1gpdg1-kevin-w-fogg-pengaruh-arab-atas-bahasa-indonesia-kian-pudar

I blog at: http://www.kevinwfogg.net/blog/