The project centres on the lives, careers and achievements of a number of female Islamic leaders in six regions. The metropolitan centres of Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta are sites of technological innovation, giving rise to new forms of religious authority. Penang/Kedah (Malaysia) and Aceh (Indonesia) are provincial contexts that combine a history of political Islam with matrilocal traditions providing women with a strong position in local communities. East Java and South Sulawesi, finally, are characterized by strong traditions of male orthodoxy.
Using a combination of historical, ethnographic and visual research methods, this project analyzes the social and institutional contexts in which female religious authority is produced and performed, the place of individual religious leaders in local communities, (trans)national politics and media-scales, and the ways in which these cases may be contextualized in shifting repertoires of gendered imagery.