Project Overview

Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy in Indonesia

Faculty Sponsor

Megan Abbas (


Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization
Asian Studies


As part of on-going research for a new book, this summer fellowship invites students to examine the intersection between religion and U.S. foreign policy in Indonesia. The larger book will investigate how American governmental institutions like the State Department, the CIA, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and major non-governmental organizations like the Rockefeller, Ford, and Asia Foundations have worked to mold Indonesian Muslims into useful allies since the country's independence in 1945. Summer 2024 research will focus on American relationships with Muslim political parties as a way to counter the rising popularity of communism in 1950s and 1960s Indonesia. Students will work closely with the professor - and one another - to organize, take on notes, and begin to analyze thousands of archival documents from both US governmental agencies and private foundations. While students are not expected to have any experience with archival research, interest in the history of U.S. foreign policy, modern Islamic politics, and/or Indonesia is required. This is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with historical research in Religion, MIST, or Asian Studies.

Student Qualifications

Students must have experience studying at least one of the following subjects at Colgate: U.S. foreign policy, modern Islamic politics, and/or Indonesia. Students should also have experience with and/or enthusiasm for primary source research in religion or history. 

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 10/03/2023 and close on 02/28/2024

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (