Prof. Mirjam Künkler, PhD
Areas of interest
- Iranian and Indonesian Politics
- Religion-State Relations, Law, and Constitutionalism
- Female Islamic Authority
The educational underpinnings of reformist Islamic thought in post-independence Indonesia
My project focuses on an organisational history of the fascinating institution of the IAIN (Institut Agama Islam Negeri), the Islamic State Institutes and Universities of Indonesia, which since the 1960s have been the institution of tertiary education for graduates of Islamic high schools (madares and pesantren). The project is woven around what is argued are six unique features of an institution without comparison in the Muslim world, and without which it would be difficult to conceive of Indonesia’s successful transition to democracy in 1998:
- The curriculum of theology and religious studies from the 1960s onward integrated a range of what were, at the time, non-mainstream approaches from critical hermeneutics to Western philosophy, transnational non-Islamic history, as well as Mu‘tazilite thought, and Shiite law.
- Close institutional connections with integrated exchange programmes for faculty and students were established with Western universities, notably McGill University and the University of Chicago, which had formative impact on a number of later Indonesian religious leaders and intellectuals.
- Admission to domains of religious learning, reserved for men in other Muslim societies, such as law and jurisprudence, was open to women, often from the beginning of the IAIN’s founding.
- A predominant number of Islamic leaders in the country's largest Islamic organisation were educated at the IAIN, while Muslim leaders in other countries would often have found it damaging to their reputation to attend a state institution of Islamic and religious studies.
- A significant number of Muslim political reformers contributing to the recent democratic project are graduates of the IAIN.
- The transformation of the IAIN into universities after Indonesian reformasi, with levels of bureaucratic autonomy from the state, set the institution apart from comparable state universities of Islamic learning in other Muslim countries where the leading personnel are presidential appointees (cp. Al-Azhar in Egypt).
The aim of this organisational history is to elucidate the evolution of this multi-faceted institution of higher Islamic learning and the far-reaching effects it has had on Indonesian society beyond the realm of intra-Muslim politics, organisational renewal and elite recruitment. The working hypothesis is that, without the IAIN, the generation of pluralistically-oriented religious leaders who made democratisation in 1998 possible would not have emerged.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Devin Stewart. Female Religious Authority in Shi’i Islam: A Comparative History. Edinburgh and Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018/2019.
- Künkler, Mirjam, John Madeley and Shylashri Shankar, eds. A Secular Age Beyond the West. Religion, Law and the State in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “The Bureaucratization of Religious Education in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” In Regulating Religion in Asia: Norms, Modes, and Challenges, edited by Arif A. Jamal, Jaclyn L. Neo, and Daniel Goh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Tine Stein, eds. Constitutional and Political Theory. Selected Writings by Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Rule of Law or Rule by Law? Iran’s Bar Association as a pawn in Islamic-republican contestations.” In Beiträge zum Islamischen Recht XII, edited by Sylvia Tellenbach and Thoralf Hanstein, 133-53. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017.
- Clarke, Morgan, and Mirjam Künkler. “De-centring Shiʿi Islam.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 45, no. 1 (October 2017): 1-17.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Constitutionalism, Islamic Law, and Religious Freedom in post-independence Indonesia.” In Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy, edited by Asli Bali and Hanna Lerner, 179-206. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Alfred Stepan, eds. Al-Dimokratia va al-Islam fi Indonisia. Beirut: All Print Publishers, 2016.
- Kloos, David, and Mirjam Künkler. “Studying Female Islamic Authority: From Top-Down to Bottom-Up Modes of Certification.” Asian Studies Review 40, no. 4 (December 2016): 479-90.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Hanna Lerner. “A Private Matter? Religious Education and Democracy in Indonesia and Israel.” British Journal of Religious Education 38, no. 3 (September 2016): 279-307.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Yüksel Sezgin. “The Unification of Law and the Post-colonial State. Limits of State Monism in India and Indonesia.” American Behavioral Scientist 60, no. 8 (July 2016): 987-1012.
- Sezgin, Yüksel, and Mirjam Künkler. “Regulation of Religion and the Religious: The Politics of Judicialization and Bureaucratization in India and Indonesia.“ Comparative Studies of Society and History 56, no. 2 (2014): 448-78.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Alfred Stepan, eds. Democracy and Islam in Indonesia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Alfred Stepan. “Indonesian Democracy in Theoretical Perspective.” In Democracy and Islam in Indonesia, edited by Mirjam Künkler and Alfred Stepan, 3-23. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Pluralist Democracy as a Consensual Discourse: Islamic-Secular Coalitions in Reformasi Indonesia.” In Democracy and Islam in Indonesia, edited by Mirjam Künkler and Alfred Stepan, 53-72. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013.
- Brocker, Manfred, and Mirjam Künkler. “Religious parties: Revisiting the inclusion-moderation hypothesis – Introduction.” Party Politics 19 (March 2013): 171-86.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Religion-State Relations and Democracy in Egypt and Tunisia: Models from the Democratizing Muslim World — and their Limits.” Swiss Political Science Review 18 (2012): 114-19.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Electoral Victory, Political Defeat: The Elimination of Zones of Autonomy in Khatami’s Iran.” In Problems Confronting Contemporary Democracies, edited by Douglas Chalmers and Scott Mainwaring, 166-202. Notre Dame (IN): Notre Dame University Press, 2012.
- Künkler, Mirjam. “Theocracy-” In Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, 547-49. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.
- Künkler, Mirjam, and Roja Fazaeli. “The lives of two mujtahidahs: Female Religious Authority in 20th century Iran.” In Women, Leadership and Mosques: Contemporary Islamic Authority, edited by Masooda Bano and Hilary Kalmbach, 127-60. Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011.