My name is Richard Fox and this is my homepage, which is devoted to the study of religion, media and performance in South and Southeast Asia.
Since 2012 I have taught at the Institut für Ethnologie, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, where I am a member of the collaborative research initiative on Material Text Cultures (SFB 933). I am also the founding editor of our occasional papers series, Heidelberg Ethnology, and act as the Chair of the Indonesia and Timor Leste Studies Committee at the Association of Asian Studies (AAS), and the Co-chair of the Religion in Southeast Asia Group at the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, following our intensive summer course in Old Javanese, I moderate Kawi in the World, a Facebook group of some 125 scholars sharing information and materials pertaining to the study of Old Javanese language and literature.
In 2002 I completed my doctorate in both Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), and have subsequently held research and teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Williams College and Universitas Udayana. Before coming to Heidelberg, I also conducted a ten-month fieldwork project on Balinese domestic rites under the auspices of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award.
My primary research and teaching interests lie in the historical and ethnographic study of South and Southeast Asian religions, with a special emphasis on media and performance in Indonesia and the wider Malay region. My first book, Critical Reflections on Religion and Media in Contemporary Bali, was published in 2011 in the Numen Series in the History of Religions (Leiden: Brill; see extended review essay in Asian Ethnology; also reviewed in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 2012, 168(4): 522-3). The book examines some of the ways in which Balinese have come to understand themselves as adherents to a modern, state-sanctioned form of Hinduism through practices mediated by text, television and improvisational theatre. A central focus of the book is the interplay between languages – particularly Indonesian, Balinese and Old Javanese, but also Sanskrit and English – and the complex relationship that obtains between linguistic, religious and socio-economic transformation.
More recently I have completed a second book project on ritual uses of script and writing, which is provisionally entitled More Than Words: Thoughts on Writing, Agency and Collective Life in Bali. The study is focused on contemporary uses of Balinese script, with a special emphasis on acts of writing employed in rites associated with architecture, healing and sorcery.
I have also been working on a series of interrelated projects focusing on trans-regional Islam, with an emphasis on the relationship between developments in contemporary Indonesia and the wider Islamic world. In addition to a pair of edited volumes on Entertainment Media in Indonesia (Routledge 2006, with Mark Hobart) and The Materiality and Efficacy of Balinese Letters (Brill 2016, with Annette Hornbacher), I have published a number of articles in leading European, American and Indonesian peer-reviewed journals, most recently including Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Netherlands); Archipel: études interdisciplinaires sur le monde insulindien (France); Modern Asian Studies (UK); History of Religions (USA); and Jurnal Kajian Bali (Indonesia).
In addition to what you’ll find here, further details and materials are also available on my academia.edu page.