Welcome

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). It 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.

More recently I have been working on a series of interrelated projects focusing on Islam in contemporary Indonesia, while completing a monograph on the use of Balinese script in rites of healing, sorcery and architecture. Centered on a critical ethnography of script use, the book explores the relationship between writing, agency and collective life—with an eye to wider theoretical debates in the analysis of media and communication. Provisionally entitled The Life of Letters: Religion, Script and Writing in Contemporary Bali, the monograph will be submitted to the Universität Heidelberg as my Habilitationsschrift.

In addition to edited volumes on Entertainment Media in Indonesia (Routledge 2008, with Mark Hobart) and The Materiality and Efficacy of Balinese Letters (Brill forthcoming, with Annette Hornbacher), my most recent publications have appeared in Archipel: Études interdisciplinarires sur le monde insulindien, History of Religions, Modern Asian Studies, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Asian Journal of Communication, and the Jurnal Kajian Bali.

In addition to what you’ll find here, further details and materials are also available on my academia.edu page.

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