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James Hoesterey Associate Professor. Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Religion (2019-2022)

Jim Hoesterey received his BA from Marquette University, his MA from the University of South Carolina, and his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining Emory, he was the Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Studies at Lake Forest College, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) New Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan. His research and teaching interests focus in Islam, media, and politics. His first book, Rebranding Islam: Piety, Prosperity, and a Self-help Guru (Stanford University Press, November 2015), chronicles the rise, fall, and rebranding of celebrity televangelist Kyai Haji Abdullah Gymnastiar. In 2016, Rebranding Islam was awarded Runner-Up for the Clifford Geertz Book Prize awarded by the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

Hoesterey is currently leading a large research project on diplomacy, soft power, and the making of "moderate Islam" in Egypt, Morocco, and Indonesia (generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation's Program on Religion & International Affairs).

Hoesterey has served as Chair of the Indonesia-Timor Leste Studies Committee at the Association for Asian Studies (2011-2015); Secretary at the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS); and, steering committee member for the Religions of Southeast Asia unit at the American Academy of Religion (AAR). He also served as an international board member for the Commission for Visual Anthropology (2008-2016) and worked on several documentary films in Indonesia and Ethiopia, broadcast worldwide on Discovery Channel, National Geographic International, Travel Channel, and the BBC.


  • PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009
  • MA, University of South Carolina, 1999
  • BA, Marquette University, 1997

Research and Teaching

  • Islam, Media, and Politics in Southeast Asia
  • Soft Power, Religious Diplomacy, and the Making of "Moderate Islam"
  • Pilgrimage and Ritual
  • Religion and the State