Associate Professor • Faculty Director, Center for Asian Studies


Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2007
M.A., University of Chicago
B.A., Barnard College

CAS Speaker Bureau Topic(s)


Research Interests

Gender; Globalization; Culture; Religion, including Islam; Social Movements; Southeast Asia

Regional and Thematic Interests

Southeast Asia
Gender; Religion; Government/Political Systems


Rachel Rinaldo is a cultural sociologist interested in gender, globalization, social change, religion, and qualitative methods, with a special focus on the developing world and Muslim societies in Southeast Asia. She has conducted fieldwork in Indonesia since 2002. Her first book, Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia (Oxford 2013) is an ethnographic study of Muslim and secular women activists in the country with the world's largest Muslim population. Her current research projects include a study of marriage and divorce in urbanizing Java, a study of how global and transnational processes are influencing the emergence of contemporary art in Southeast Asia, and a study of gender and family dynamics in the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. 

Selected Publications

Rachel Rinaldo and Jeff Guhin. 2019. "How and Why Interviews Work: Ethnographic Interviews and Meso-Level Public Culture. Sociological Methods and Research (online first):

Rachel Rinaldo. 2019. "Obedience and Authority among Muslim Couples: Negotiating Gendered Religious Scripts in Indonesia." Sociology of Religion 80(3): 323-349.

Rachel Rinaldo. 2019. "The Women's Movement and Indonesia's Transition to Democracy." Chapter 7 in Activists in Transition: Progressive Politics in Democratic Indonesia, edited by Thushara Dibley and Michele Ford. Cornell University Press, pp. 135-152.

Manisha Desai and Rachel Rinaldo. 2016. “Reorienting Gender and Globalization: Introduction to the Special Issue.” Qualitative Sociology 39/4.

Orit Avishai, Afshan Jafar, and Rachel Rinaldo. 2015. “A Gender Lens on Religion.” Gender & Society 29(1): 5-25.

Rachel Rinaldo. 2014. "Pious and Critical: Muslim Women Activists and the Question of Agency." Gender & Society 28(6): 824-246.

Rachel Rinaldo. 2013. Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia. New York: Oxford University Press.