Carla Jones Headshot
Professor • Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Department Chair
(Ph.D. • UNC Chapel Hill • 2001)

HALE 468


Office Hours
12-3pm, Wednesdays

Carla Jones’ research analyzes the cultural politics of appearance in urban Indonesia, with particular focus on femininity, domesticity, aesthetics and Islam.  She has written extensively on self-improvement programs, manners and middle-class respectability during the Suharto and post-Suharto periods in Yogyakarta and Jakarta, and is the co-editor, with Ann Marie Leshkowich and Sandra Niessen, of Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian Dress (Berg, 2003).  Her current work situates anxieties about Islamic style in the context of broader debates about corruption and exposure. She is especially interested in the suspicions that settle on covered women in contemporary Indonesia, in which accusations of hypocrisy intersect with gendered assertions about revelation and propriety.

Jones was President of the Association for Feminist Anthropology from 2017-19.

In 2017, she co-edited a special section of the journal American Ethnologist, with Dr. Martin Slama, on social media and religion in Southeast Asia. From 2007-09, Jones was co-PI, with Professor Ruth Mas then of the Department of Religious Studies, of a six-person University of Colorado seed grant analyzing transnational conceptions of Islamic community.

In 2021, Jones led a team of colleagues in crafting guidelines for the American Anthropological Association designed to assist anthropologists mitigate the uneven effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Special interests include: materiality, feminist theory, anthropology of middle classes, consumption and corruption.

Selected Publications:

  • 2023 “Making an Appearance: Images, Frailty, and the Potency of Beauty in the Indonesian Modest Fashion Scene.” In Provocative Images in Contemporary Islam. Bart Barendregt, David Kloos, Leonie Schmidt, and Mark Westmoreland, eds., pp. 165-193. Leiden: Leiden University Press
  • 2021  “Mualaf Chic: Conversion and Mediation in Indonesian Pious Sociality.” CyberOrient 15(1): 172-205 
  • ​2021  Freeman, Carla and Carla Jones. “Catherine Lutz: Feminist Scholar, Feminist Mentor.” In “Genealogies of the Feminist Present: Lineages and Connections in Feminist Anthropology,” edited by Lynn Bolles and Mary H. Moran, American Ethnologist, May 24, 2021
  • 2020   “Pandemic Diaries: Affect and Crisis,” American Ethnologist, May 20, 2020 
  • 2020   "Gender." “Mary Steedly’s Anthropology of Modern Indonesia: A Collection of Keywords,” Indonesia 109 (April): 45-59, Cornell Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University Press
  • 2020  "A Case for Agitation: On Affect and Writing." In Writing Anthropology: Essays on Craft and Commitment. Carole McGranahan, ed. Durham: Duke University Press
  • 2019   Jones, Carla and Jennifer Wies. 2019. “Feminist Anthropology for Our Times." Anthropology News, August 26, 2019. DOI: 10.1111/AN.1243
  • 2019   “The Globalization of Asian Dress: Re-Orienting Fashion or Re-Orientalizing Asia?" Ann Marie Leshkowich and Carla Jones. In The Anthropology of Fashion and Dress: A Reader. Pp. 295-310. Joanne Eicher and Brent Luvaas, eds. London: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • 2019   “Dress for Sukses: Fashioning Femininity and Nationality in Urban Indonesia.” In The Anthropology of Fashion and Dress: A Reader. Pp. 209-218. Joanne Eicher and Brent Luvaas, eds. London: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • 2018   "Piety." In The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Pp. 4631-33. Hilary Callan, ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
  • 2018   "Stylish Ethics: Indonesian Modest Fashion and National Image." In Contemporary Muslim Fashions. Pp. 70-79, catalogue for Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibit, de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA
  • 2018   "Consumption and the New Middle Classes." In The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. Pp. 187-196. Robert Hefner, ed. London, UK and New York, USA: Routledge
  • 2017   "Piety, Celebrity, Sociality: A Forum on Islam and Social Media in Southeast Asia," co-edited with Martin Slama, American Ethnologist, November 8, 2017 
  • 2017   "Images of Desire: Creating Virtue and Value in an Indonesian Islamic Lifestyle Magazine." In The Routledge International Handbook to Veils and Veiling Practices. Pp. 213-221. Anna-Mari Almila and David Inglis, eds. London, UK and New York, USA: Routledge                 
  • 2016   “Pious Sight: Seeing Value as Rights in Java,” Comment on Retsikas, Kostas, “The Other Side of the Gift: Soliciting in Java.” Heidelberg Ethnology Occasional Paper No. 4: 17-19, May 2016
  • 2016   “Images of Desire: Creating Virtue and Value in an Indonesian Islamic Lifestyle Magazine.” In Islam, Marketing and Consumption: Critical Perspectives on the Intersections. Pp. 102-122. Jafari, Aliakbar and Özlem Sandikci, eds. London, UK and New York, USA: Routledge
  • 2013    “Wanita Karir (Career Woman)." In Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity.
  • 2012   "Gender Matters: the cultural politics of gender in Southeast Asia."  Review article on the state of scholarship on gender in Southeast Asian area studies and of O’Shaughnessy, Kate (2009) Gender, State and Social Power in Contemporary Indonesia: Divorce and Marriage Law, Routledge, London and New York; Peletz, Michael, (2009) Gender Pluralism: Southeast Asia Since Early Modern Times, Routledge, London and New York; and Robinson, Kathryn (2009) Gender, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia, Routledge, London and New York.  Southeast Asia Research 20(3):445-448
  • 2012   “Women in the Middle: Femininity, Virtue, and Excess in Indonesian Discourses of Middle-Classness.” In The Global Middle Classes: Theorizing Through Ethnography. Pp. 145-167. Rachel Heiman, Carla Freeman, and Mark Liechty, eds. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press
  • 2011   “Transnational Discourses of Islamic Community.” Carla Jones and Ruth Mas. Co-edited special issue on transnational Islam, Nations and Nationalism 17(1):2-6, January 2011
  • 2010: “Materializing Piety: Gendered Anxieties about Faithful Consumption in Contemporary Urban Indonesia.” American Ethnologist 37(4):617-637.
  • 2010: “Images of Desire: Creating Virtue and Value in an Indonesian Islamic Fashion Magazine.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 6(3):91-117, Fall 2010.
  • 2010: “Better Women: The Cultural Politics of Gendered Expertise in Indonesia.” American Anthropologist 112(2):270-282.
  • 2009: Wanita Karir: Figures of Indonesian Modernity. Joshua Barker and Johan Lindquist, et al.  Indonesia 87: 35-72.
  • 2007: Fashion and Faith in Urban Indonesia. Fashion Theory 11(2/3): 211-232. PDF
  • 2004: Whose Stress? Emotion Work in Middle-Class Javanese Homes. Ethnos 69(4): 509-528. PDF
  • 2003: “Introduction: The Globalization of Asian Dress: Re-Orienting Fashion or Re-Orientalizing Asia?,” Carla Jones and Ann Marie Leshkowich. In Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian Dress. Oxford: Berg Press, pp. 1-48. PDF
  • 2003: Dress for Sukses: Fashioning Femininity and Nationality in Urban Indonesia. In Re-Orienting Fashion: The Globalization of Asian DressOxford: Berg Press, pp. 185-214. PDF
  • 2003: What Happens When Asian Chic Becomes Chic in Asia? (co-authored with A.M. Leshkowich) Fashion Theory 7(3/4):281-300. PDF

Book Reviews:

  • 2020 Review of Alessandra Lopez y Royo (2020) Contemporary Indonesian Fashion: Through the Looking Glass. London and New York: Bloomsbury. Archipel: Études interdisciplinaires sur le monde insulindien 99: 286-89 
  • 2019 Review of Smith-Hefner, Nancy (2019) Islamizing Intimacy: Youth, Sexuality, and Gender in Contemporary Indonesia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. The Journal of Asian Studies
  • 2019   Review of Kloos, David (2018) Becoming Better Muslims: Religious Authority and Ethical Improvement in Aceh, Indonesia. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • 2018   Review of Lee, Doreen (2016) Activist Archives: Youth Culture and the Political Past in Indonesia. Durham: Duke University Press. Indonesia 105:211-213
  • 2018   Review of Freeman, Carla (2014) Entrepreneurial Selves: Neoliberal Respectability and the Making of Caribbean Middle Class. Durham: Duke University Press. Association for Feminist Anthropology book reviews, published March 14
  • 2015   Review of Lewis, Reina, ed. (2013) Modest Fashion: Styling Bodies, Mediating Faith. London and New York: I.B. Tauris. International Journal of Fashion Studies 2(2):340-342
  • 2015   Review of Rinaldo, Rachel (2013) Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia. New York: Oxford University Press. Pacific Affairs 88(3)744-746, September 2015
  • 2012   Review of Davies, Sharyn. (2010) Gender Diversity in Indonesia: Sexuality, Islam and Queer Selves. London and New York: Routledge. Asian Studies Review 36(4):585-586
  • 2011   Review of Rudnyckyj, Daromir. (2010) Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. American Ethnologist 38(4):846-847
  • 2011   Review of Lim, Francis Khek Gee, ed. (2009) Mediating Piety: Technology and Religion in Contemporary Asia. Leiden: Brill. Religion 4(2):299-303
  • 2010   Review of Fischer, Johan (2008) Proper Islamic Consumption: Shopping among the Malays in Modern Malaysia. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. American Ethnologist 37(1):180-181
  • 2009  Review of Newberry, Jan (2006) Back Door Java: State Formation and the Domestic in Working Class Java. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press. The Journal of Asian Studies 68(4):1345-1347
  • 2008   Review of Brewer, John and Frank Trentmann, eds. (2006) Consuming Cultures, Global Perspectives: Historical Trajectories, Transnational Exchanges. Oxford: Berg. American Anthropologist 110(3):384-385 
  • 2007   Review of Gade, Anna (2004) Perfection Makes Practice: Learning, Emotion, and the Recited Qur’an in Indonesia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press American Anthropologist 109(4):765
  • 2007   Review of Boellstorff, Tom (2005) The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Journal of Asian Studies 66(4):1217-1220

Graduate Studies Information

Professor Jones’ primary research situates theoretical questions about gender, class and subjectivity in the context of contemporary urban Indonesia. Specifically, she is interested in how large-scale state agendas that position women citizens in the domestic sphere intersect with capitalist celebrations of consumer desire.

Research Interests

  • Globalization
  • Subjectivity
  • Materiality
  • Governmentality
  • Critical gender theory
  • Mass media
  • Consumption
  • Affect

Professor Jones is interested in graduate students with the following:

  • Students who are curious about questions of consumption, religion, globalization or gender, especially in Asia
  • Students whose theoretical interests include modernity, middle classes, affect, or materiality are especially invited to apply

More about Professor Jones

Jones's newest research addresses debates about mass consumer culture and Islamic commodities in Indonesia.

*Professor Jones is not accepting graduate students for Fall 2024