Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Etin Anwar recently returned from a 10-day trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, where she was invited for a workshop and the inauguration of the International Association for Indonesian Scholars (IAIS).
“The goal of establishing the Association,” Anwar says, “is to encourage collaboration between Indonesian expatriates and home based scholars and to enhance expats’ participation and contribution to the development of knowledge, technology and national development in Indonesia.”
The workshop, a follow-up to the founding of the IAIS in July in Den Haag, brought about 15 scholars from around the world to Jakarta. The workshop commenced with the inauguration of the IAIS officials and advisory board members for which Anwar has agreed to serve.
“The inauguration was attended by about 600 people,” says Anwar. “The Ministry of National Education inaugurated the new organization, followed by a panel discussion of experts on education in Indonesia including myself.”
Representing the Humanities at the ceremony as a specialist in Islam, Sufi Healing, comparative ethics, and women in Islam, Anwar says she was invited as one of the panelists to participate in discussing the mission statement and the program, talking about networking programs in Indonesia and nominating officials of organizations. Specifically, Anwar’s expertise was utilized on topics of education and gender.
Trips to Papua New Guinea, Jogjakarta and Makassar, where Anwar and other guests stayed for three days, were also part of the workshop. In Makassar, Anwar lectured about her experience as a teacher, a scholar and a community member at the Colleges.
In addition to the workshop events, Anwar was featured on the Indonesia talk show, “Kick Andy,” on Metro TV, where she discussed such varied topics as “my experience teaching in the West and why I choose to teach in the West, polygamy, the Western view of Islam and women in Islam.”
Anwar also discussed her everyday life as a professor at HWS, where she teaches a diverse series of courses, including “Playing God: Ethical Debates in Medicine,” “Islamic Ethics and Politics,” “Introduction to Islamic Religious Tradition” and “Gender and Islam,” among others. The program will be aired on Friday, Nov. 27, at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov.29, at 3:30 p.m.
Anwar also recently published an article, “Dialects of Islamophobia and Radicalism in Indonesia,” in ASIANetwork Exchange, a journal for Asian studies in the liberal arts. Her most recent book “Gender and Self in Islam” just came out in paperback this year. The book explores the methods that might succeed in bringing about an egalitarian change. These include the reform of a nation’s judicial and legal system to respect individuals equally and cultural change through religious and social means. As Anwar points out, no matter how egalitarian a country’s judicial system, the advancement of true equality requires a culture that embraces these forward-thinking ideals.
Anwar holds a B.A. from State University for Islamic Studies in Bandung, Indonesia, a master’s degree from McGill University and a doctorate from the Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture Program at the State University of New York at Binghamton.