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Robert W. Hefner

Professor of Anthropology and Global Affairs, Boston University
HRLI Grantee

Robert W. Hefner is a professor of anthropology and global studies at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. Dr. Hefner has directed some twenty-one research projects and organized sixteen international conferences, drawing on specialists from political science, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, and law. He has authored or edited twenty-one books. His most recent book is Islam and Citizenship in Indonesia: Democracy and the Quest for an Inclusive Public Ethics (Routledge, 2024)He is currently president of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (2021–24).  During 2009 to 2010, he served as president of the Association for Asian Studies. From 1986 to 2017, he served as the director or associate director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University, coordinating more than sixty research and educational programs on religion and world affairs.

With the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation, from 2018 to 2023, Dr. Hefner produced seven films on “Indonesian Pluralities: Religion and Pluralist Co-existence” with Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir of the Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta. He has also conducted research on citizenship and social diversity in western Europe. Dr. Hefner is currently writing a book on the challenges of citizenship and religious diversity in Western democracies and Muslim-majority lands.

Featured Work: Indonesian Pluralities, a documentary film project (funded by the Luce Foundation) with an accompanying coedited book, Indonesian Pluralities: Islam, Citizenship, and Democracy (University of Notre Dame Press, 2021)