John Bowen

Dunbar-Van Cleve Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology, Arts & Sciences

Ambassador to:

University of Indonesia


John Bowen earned his BA from Stanford University, did graduate studies at the école Pratique des Hautes études, Paris and earned his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Bowen studies problems of pluralism, law and religion, and in particular contemporary efforts to rethink Islamic norms and law in Asia, Europe and North America. His long-term fieldwork has been in Indonesia, particularly in Aceh, and is most recently reflected in his book “Islam, Law and Equality in Indonesia: An Anthropology of Public Reasoning” (Cambridge, 2003). His book on Islam and the state in France, “Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves,” was published by Princeton in 2006. He has held several positions in professional organizations including: associate editor of American Anthropologist, president of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, and member of the editorial board of Studia Islamika (Jakarta). Professor Bowen has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, received the Herbert Jacobs Book Prize from the Law & Society Association, and is currently a Carnegie Scholar.