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Call for research proposals: Contending Modernities working group on Indonesia

Contending Modernities, an interdisciplinary research and education initiative based at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, is currently developing a working group on Indonesia focusing on the theme of Authority, Community and Identity. The working group will explore and analyze the complex relationships between the various contending authorities, communities and identities that have shaped, and been shaped by, religious life at both the societal and state levels.

Call for proposals
Contending Modernities invites scholars, experts and activists to submit research proposals that explore the conditions for the possibility of peaceful coexistence among diverse ethnic and religious communities in Indonesia, through a wide range of engagement with religious and secular forces. Here, coexistence is understood not simply as peacefully living side by side, but as involving some degree of interaction and cooperation across the lines of religious and ethnic divisions. Recognizing the complexity inherent within diverse social contexts, and that the conditions that make peaceful co-existence possible could vary from one place to another, we aim to focus on possibilities as a lens by which coexistence in intricate social contexts can be better understood. To this end, the working group will examine and analyze the possibilities of conflict transformation, peacebuilding and peacekeeping in both post-conflict and relatively long-held peaceful societies, assessing and evaluating a wide range of efforts and activities undertaken by various actors to build and maintain peace.

We are especially interested in research that (1) investigates how various religious (Muslim and Christian) and secular forces collaborate, contend, negotiate, and at times compete with one another, both within and across traditions, and (2) pays a close attention to local voices, perspectives and questions about what makes peaceful coexistence possible in such a complex intersection between contending authorities, communities and identities. The thematic focus on peaceful coexistence can also be seen as a lens through which the changing dynamics of authority, community and identity in Indonesia can be addressed, for “who prevails” in this contention and contestation will have major impacts on how religious diversity and freedom are managed in Indonesia.

Researchers whose proposals are selected will form the core team of the Indonesian working group and will engage in research, colloquium, conferences and the production of publications throughout the duration of the 3-year project.

Key Issues
Possible key issues may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The state management of religion
  • Changing dynamics in majority-minority relations
  • Muslim-Christian relations: Confrontation and cooperation
  • Contending authorities, communities and identities in post-conflict societies
  • Religious radicalization and its impact on the family (especially on youth and/or women)
  • Pluralism and ethno-religious conflicts
  • Resisting religious radicalism through peace education

In developing a research proposal on any of the above themes, researchers are encouraged to consider the following guiding questions: What makes peaceful coexistence possible in the modern context? How will the research address in one way or the other the changing dynamics of authority, community and identity in Indonesia?

Proposal Requirements
Each proposal (2,000 words) shall consist of the following:

Research Outlook:

  • What is the project’s working title?
  • What are the main research questions that you wish to explore?
  • How is your research proposal relevant to the main themes of authority, community, and identity?
  • What research has been carried out on the proposed theme and what needs to be explored further?

Research Methodology:

  • How do you envisage conducting the research?
  • How will data be collected?
  • What research activities will be conducted? (Field research, workshops, focus group discussions, etc.)
  • What methodological and ethical considerations need to be explored?


  • What kind of products do you expect to produce? (e.g. Scholarly products such as monographs, journal articles; curricular materials; accessible writing for a wider audience; scholarship in service of the people)
  • How do you envisage managing and overseeing the successful production of deliverables? 


  • Please provide a detailed three-year timeline


  • Please provide a detailed budget for the research project

Important Dates:

  • Deadline for submission of research proposal: December 15, 2014
  • Notification of selection/acceptance: January 2015
  • Confirmation of participation: February 2015
  • First meeting at Notre Dame: April 16-17, 2015

Please contact Mun’im Sirry with any questions and for further information.

Mun’im Sirry
1135 Flanner Hall
University of Notre Dame, IN 46556

Email: msirry@nd.edu;
Phone: 1(574)631-1796


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