Department Chair:
Cynthia Chapman

Administrative Assistant:
Brenda Hall

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8866
Fax: (440) 775-6910

Rice Hall 316
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Daniel Birchok

Daniel Birchok

Visiting Assistant Professor

Contact Information


Rice 118
(440) 775-8604

Daniel Birchok

Daniel Birchok

Professor Birchok

Educational Background

  • BA, History and Education with a minor in Religious Studies, John Carroll University, 2002
  • MA, Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 2004
  • PhD, Anthropology and History, University of Michigan, 2013

I am a scholar of Islamic practice and history in Southeast Asia with training in both anthropology and history.  My primary field and archival research site is the Indonesian province of Aceh, where I focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  My research examines the ways in which Indonesian Muslims place themselves in relation to multiple points in the Islamic past through ritual, genealogical, narrative and other practices.  This allows me to rethink the ways in which scholars have approached Islamic locality and its relationship to the broader Islamic world.  My new research focuses on Islam and masculinity in Southeast Asia, with attention especially to parallels between forms of Sufi and more general male sociality in the Indonesian archipelago.  I am currently working on an article examining the intersection of Islamic ethical reasoning and notions of a properly Islamic life course in Aceh.

At Oberlin I will be teaching "Religions of Indonesia" in Fall 2013 and "Ethnography, Religion, and Gender in Southeast Asia" in Spring 2014.  More generally, my teaching interests include Islam; Islam and masculinity; religion and gender; historical and anthropological approaches to the study of religion; ethnographic field methods; the intersections of religion, space, and time; Islam in the Indian Ocean world; and the history of religion in Indonesia.

My publications include a forthcoming chapter, entitled " "Locating the Descendants of Ali in Southwest Aceh: The Places of Alid Piety in Late 20th-century Seunagan," in a volume entitled Shi'ism and Beyond: 'Alid Piety' in Muslim Southeast Asia, edited by R. Michael Feener and Chiara Formichi, and a short article entitled "Coffee and comedy," in the on-line periodical Inside Indonesia, available at