Universiteit Leiden

nl en

LUCSoR welcomes Verena Meyer to the staff

LUCSoR is happy to welcome Verena Myer, researcher and lecturer in Islam in South and South-East Asia to the staff. In this interview she will discuss the course she is teaching, as well as her upcoming book.

Verena Meyer

Welcome to Leiden. When did you arrive here, and what has your experience been so far?

'I started officially on December 1st, but unofficially I've been around much longer because I was able to finish up the last semester of my Norwegian post-doc remotely. Generally, I love it here. I love the library. Anything I've ever looked for was just right here and I got it within 15 minutes. Another thing that I like about my position here is that there are both Southeast Asia studies and religious studies. In all other positions that I've ever been in, it always felt like I had to choose between the two. Here, that is not the case. '

You will be teaching the class “Islam and South and Southeast Asia”. What subjects are you going to be discussing?

'It's going to be pretty broad. It's going to be both the Malay-Indonesian world primarily, but then also looking at Islam minorities in other Southeast Asian countries and of course South Asia. It's going to be historical in the sense that we're going to be looking at how the area was gradually converted. But we are not only going to look at historical sources. We'll always look at how the memory of historical events shapes contemporary movements and contemporary self-understanding of Muslims in South and Southeast Asia. Obviously, we'll read various academic sources, but we'll also watch films and look at memes. So, I think we are going to have fun.'

You’re currently writing a book with the working title “Futures Past, The Politics of Memory in Islamic Java”. Can you tell some more about that?

'I'm currently reconsidering the title since it's not just about the politics. I think there can be a bit of a danger when we bring religion into close association with politics. So we'll see about that… The basic ideas of the book are regarding the construction of identity and how these constructions of identity are used. I will also be specifically looking at the driving force of memory; how we remember our shared past, how that can bring people together, and how we articulate who we are as a community by referring to our ancestors. So, what I'll be showing is that traditionalists and modernists have different meanings and purposes of memory. These meanings and purposes of memory are not static but are used in different ways at different moments. '

When do you reckon the book is going to hit the shelves?

'Yesterday? I won't say anything because then it will be jinxed. But hopefully soon. Let's say it will be under review this year.'

Interview by: Merel Vlak

Introduction video by Verena Meyer

Due to the selected cookie settings, we cannot show this video here.

Watch the video on the original website or

Want to read the full interview?

You can find the full interview on LUCSoR's Facebook page.

Go to the LUCSoR Facebook page
This website uses cookies.  More information.