1st Edition

Face-veiled Women in Contemporary Indonesia

By Eva F. Nisa Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Face veiling is relatively new in Indonesia. It is often stereotyped as a sign of extremism and the growing Arabisation of Indonesian Muslims. It is also perceived as a symbol that demonstrates a lack of female agency. However, increasing numbers of women are choosing to wear the cadar (the full face veil). This book provides an ethnographic study of these women: why they choose to wear the cadar, embody strict religious disciplinary practices and the consequences of that choice. The women in this book belong to two Islamic revivalist movements: various Salafi groups and the Tablīghī Jamāʿat. Indonesia has constantly witnessed transformations in the meanings and practices of Islam, and this book demonstrates that women are key actors in this process. Nisa demonstrates that contrary to stereotypes, the women in this study have an agency which is expressed through their chosen docility and obedience.

    Introduction 1. The Practice of Face Veiling in the Archipelago 2. The Production of Islamic Knowledge and the Introduction of Taat Habitus 3. Media and Cadari: From Ayat Ayat Cinta to the Niqab Squad 4. Cadari in Tablīghī Jamāʿat and Salafi Educational Institutions 5. Finding a Niche: Face-Veiled University Students in Indonesia 6. Cadari as Dedicated Actors 7. Taat Agency and the Embodiment of True Islam


    Eva F. Nisa is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

    ‘Well written, engaging, and thoroughly researched, this book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on Indonesian Islam. Its ethnographic and theoretical contributions make it particularly valuable to those who are interested in local Islam in global contexts, gender and religious movements, and the evolving role of Islam in contemporary Indonesian society.’ – Suzanne Brenner, University of California, San Diego in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology

    ‘Essential to scholars, researchers, and university students in the field of Islamic studies, particularly those whose focus are in the context of Indonesia or Southeast Asia. Those in anthropology may also find the book a useful reference in understanding the religious practices by some of the Indonesian Muslim community in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.’ – Aan Diana, Desi Nuralim and Aulia Geger Jagatin in International Journal of Asian Studies

    'Contributes to the discourse of gender studies in Asia and the wider context by unpacking the complexity of the everyday life experienced by cadari as they negotiate the interplay between piety, agency, and the rise of revivalist movements. The author provides strong theoretical foundations for each aspect.'– Nurti Rahayu, Myrza Rahmanita and Bayu Andika Prasatyo in Journal of Gender Studies