Professor John Sidel

Professor John Sidel

Sir Patrick Gillam Chair in International and Comparative Politics (Joint appointment with International Relations|)

Email: j.t.sidel@lse.ac.uk|
Office: CON 4.02, Connaught House
Office Hours: Tuesday 13:30-14:30 & Thursday 11:15-12:15
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6032
Website: personal.lse.ac.uk/SIDEL|

Biography and Research Interests


John T. Sidel is the Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Before taking up this post at the LSE in 2004, Professor Sidel taught for ten years at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He received his BA and MA from Yale University (1988) and his PhD from Cornell University (1995).

Professor Sidel specializes in the study of Southeast Asia and has three main areas of thematic expertise and interest in the study of politics, as reflected in his research, writing, and teaching:

Local Politics: bosses, caciques, clans, mafias, warlords, and various forms of machine politics and monopolistic pratices impeding democratization at the local level.

Religion and Politics: inter-religious violence, religious persecution, religion and democratization, and various forms of mobilization in the name of Islam.

Nationalism and Transnational Forces: the role of transnational ideological currents and social movements, diasporic communities, and international conflicts and conjunctures, in the making of 'nationalist' revolutions.

Professor Sidel is a member of the editorial board of the journal South East Asia Research| and the co-editor of the Contemporary Issues in the Asia Pacific| book series at Stanford University Press. You can find further information about the Series at SUP| and at the East-West Center|, which sponsors the Series.

Teaching Responsibilities


  • GV4C9Democratization and its Discontents in Southeast Asia
  • GV4D3Local Power in an Era of Globalization, Democratization, and Decentralization

Featured Books


sidelriots book

Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 2006)

In October 2002 a bomb blast in a Balinese nightclub killed more than two hundred people, many of them young Australian tourists. This event and subsequent attacks on foreign targets in Bali and Jakarta in 2003, 2004, and 2005 brought Indonesia into the global media spotlight as a site of Islamist terrorist violence. Yet the complexities of political and religious struggles in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, remain little known and poorly understood in the West.

In Riots, Pogroms, Jihad, John T. Sidel situates these terrorist bombings and other "jihadist" activities in Indonesia against the backdrop of earlier episodes of religious violence in the country, including religious riots in provincial towns and cities in 1995-1997, the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, and interreligious pogroms in 1999-2001. Sidel's close account of these episodes of religious violence in Indonesia draws on a wide range of documentary, ethnographic, and journalistic materials. Sidel chronicles these episodes of violence and explains the overall pattern of change in religious violence over a ten-year period in terms of the broader discursive, political, and sociological contexts in which they unfolded.

Successive shifts in the incidence of violence-its forms, locations, targets, perpetrators, mobilizational processes, and outcomes-correspond, Sidel suggests, to related shifts in the very structures of religious authority and identity in Indonesia during this period. He interprets the most recent "jihadist" violence as a reflection of the post-1998 decline of Islam as a banner for unifying and mobilizing Muslims in Indonesian politics and society. Sidel concludes this book by reflecting on the broader implications of the pattern observed in Indonesia both for understanding Islamic terrorism in particular and for analyzing religious violence in all its varieties.

Click here for the publisher's site|

Recent Publications


Dangers and demon(izer)s of democratization in Egypt: through an Indonesian glass, darkly
Sidel, John (2014) Dangers and demon(izer)s of democratization in Egypt: through an Indonesian glass, darkly. In: Gerges, Fawaz A., (ed.) The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 226-256. ISBN 9781107028630

The Philippines in 2013: disappointment, disgrace, disaster
Sidel, John T. (2014) The Philippines in 2013: disappointment, disgrace, disaster. Asian Survey, 54 (1). pp. 64-70. ISSN 0004-4687

Economic foundations of subnational authoritarianism: insights and evidence from qualitative and quantitative research
Sidel, John T. (2014) Economic foundations of subnational authoritarianism: insights and evidence from qualitative and quantitative research. Democratization, 21 (1). pp. 161-184. ISSN 1351-0347

Nationalism in post-independence Southeast Asia: a comparative analysis
Sidel, John (2013) Nationalism in post-independence Southeast Asia: a comparative analysis. In: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism. Oxford handbooks in history. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 472-494. ISBN 9780199209194

From cyberjihad to Habermas: understanding Muslim identity and resistance online
Sidel, John (2012) From cyberjihad to Habermas: understanding Muslim identity and resistance online. LSE Review of Books (18 Jun 2012) Blog Entry.

The fate of nationalism in the new states: Southeast Asia in comparative historical perspective
Sidel, John (2012) The fate of nationalism in the new states: Southeast Asia in comparative historical perspective. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 54 (01). pp. 114-144. ISSN 0010-4175

Walking in the shadow of the big man: Junstiniano Montano and failed dynasty building in Cavite 1935-1972
Sidel, John (2009) Walking in the shadow of the big man: Junstiniano Montano and failed dynasty building in Cavite 1935-1972. In: McCoy, Alfred W., (ed.) An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines. New perspectives in Southeast Asian studies. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, USA, pp. 109-162. ISBN 9780299229849

The Islamist threat in Southeast Asia: much ado about nothing?
Sidel, John (2008) The Islamist threat in Southeast Asia: much ado about nothing? Asian Affairs, 16 (3). pp. 339-351. ISSN 0306-8374

Social origins of dictatorship and democracy revisited: colonial state and Chinese immigrant in the making of modern Southeast Asia
Sidel, John (2008) Social origins of dictatorship and democracy revisited: colonial state and Chinese immigrant in the making of modern Southeast Asia. Comparative Politics, 40 (2). pp. 127-147. ISSN 0010-4159

Jihad and the specter of transnational Islam in Southeast Asia: a comparative historical perspective
Sidel, John (2008) Jihad and the specter of transnational Islam in Southeast Asia: a comparative historical perspective. In: Tagliacozzo, Eric, (ed.) Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement, and the Longue Durée. Contemporary issues in Asia and Pacific. Stanford University Press, Stanford, USA, pp. 275-318. ISBN 9780804761338

The manifold meanings of displacement: explaining inter-religious violence, 1999-2001
Sidel, John (2008) The manifold meanings of displacement: explaining inter-religious violence, 1999-2001. In: Hedman, Eva-Lotta E., (ed.) Conflict, Violence, and Displacement in Indonesia. Studies on Southeast Asia(45). Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, pp. 29-59. ISBN 9780877277750

It's not getting worse: terrorism is declining in Asia
Sidel, John (2007) It's not getting worse: terrorism is declining in Asia. Global Asia, 2 (3). pp. 41-49. ISSN 1976-068X

From Russia with love?
Sidel, John (2007) From Russia with love? Indonesia, 84 . pp. 161-172. ISSN 0019-7289

The Islamist threat in Southeast Asia: a reassessment
Sidel, John (2007) The Islamist threat in Southeast Asia: a reassessment. Policy studies (37). East-West Center Washington, Washington D.C., USA. ISBN 9789812304896

On the 'anxiety of incompleteness': a post-structuralist approach to religious violence in Indonesia
Sidel, John (2007) On the 'anxiety of incompleteness': a post-structuralist approach to religious violence in Indonesia. South East Asia Research, 15 (2). pp. 133-212. ISSN 0967-828X

Indonesia: migrants, migrant workers, refugees, and the new citizenship law
Sidel, John (2007) Indonesia: migrants, migrant workers, refugees, and the new citizenship law. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

Riots, pogroms, jihad: religious violence in Indonesia
Sidel, John (2006) Riots, pogroms, jihad: religious violence in Indonesia. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y., USA. ISBN 9780801445156

Bossism and democracy in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia: towards an alternative framework for the study of 'local strongmen'
Sidel, John (2004) Bossism and democracy in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia: towards an alternative framework for the study of 'local strongmen'. In: Harriss, John, Stokke, Kristin and Tornquist, Olle, (eds.) Politicising Democracy: the New Local Politics of Democratisation. International political economy series. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 51-74. ISBN 9781403934819

Liberalism, communism, islam: transnational motors of 'nationalist' struggles in Southeast Asia
Sidel, John (2003) Liberalism, communism, islam: transnational motors of 'nationalist' struggles in Southeast Asia. The Newsletter (32). p. 23. ISSN 0929-8738

Review of "Surabaya, city of work: a socioeconomic history, 1900-2000"
Sidel, John (2003) Review of "Surabaya, city of work: a socioeconomic history, 1900-2000". Indonesia, 76 . pp. 205-209. ISSN 0019-7289

Other schools, other pilgrimages, other dreams: the making and unmaking of 'jihad' in Southeast Asia
Sidel, John (2003) Other schools, other pilgrimages, other dreams: the making and unmaking of 'jihad' in Southeast Asia. In: Siegel, James T. and Kahin, Audrey R., (eds.) Southeast Asia Over Three Generations: Essays Presented to Benedict R. O'g. Anderson. Studies on Southeast Asia(36). Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, pp. 347-382. ISBN 9780877277354

Indonesia: internal and external displacement, November 2001 - August 2002
Sidel, John (2002) Indonesia: internal and external displacement, November 2001 - August 2002. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

Indonesia: the limits of democratization and decentralization, January 2000 - October 2001
Sidel, John (2001) Indonesia: the limits of democratization and decentralization, January 2000 - October 2001. WriteNet papers, 04/2001. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

'It takes a madrasah'?: Habermas meets Bourdieu in Indonesia
Sidel, John (2001) 'It takes a madrasah'?: Habermas meets Bourdieu in Indonesia. South East Asia Research, 9 (1). pp. 109-122. ISSN 0967-828X

Response to Ileto: or, why I am not an Orientalist
Sidel, John (2001) Response to Ileto: or, why I am not an Orientalist. Philippine Political Science Journal, 23 (1). pp. 109-122. ISSN 0115-4451

Riots, church burnings, conspiracies
Sidel, John (2001) Riots, church burnings, conspiracies. In: Wessel, Ingrid and Wimhofer, Georgia, (eds.) Violence in Indonesia. Abera Verlag, Hamburg, Germany, pp. 64-81. ISBN 9783934376168

Philippine politics and society in the twentieth century: colonial legacies, post-colonial trajectories
Hedman, Eva-Lotta E. and Sidel, John (2000) Philippine politics and society in the twentieth century: colonial legacies, post-colonial trajectories. Politics in Asia . Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415147903

Filipino gangsters in film, legend and history: two biographical case studies from Cebu
Sidel, John (2000) Filipino gangsters in film, legend and history: two biographical case studies from Cebu. In: McCoy, Alfred W., (ed.) Lives at the Margin: Biography of Filipinos Obscure, Ordinary, and Heroic. Monograph series(19). University of Wisconsin Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Madison, USA, pp. 149-191. ISBN 9781881261261

Indonesia update: trends toward consolidation, threats of disintegration (January-December 1999)
Sidel, John (1999) Indonesia update: trends toward consolidation, threats of disintegration (January-December 1999). WriteNet papers, 18/1999. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

Capital, coercion, and crime: bossism in the Philippines
Sidel, John (1999) Capital, coercion, and crime: bossism in the Philippines. Contemporary issues in Asia & the Pacific . Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, USA. ISBN 9780804737463

The usual suspects: Nardong Putik, Don Pepe Oyson, and Robin Hood
Sidel, John (1999) The usual suspects: Nardong Putik, Don Pepe Oyson, and Robin Hood. In: Rafael, Vicente L., (ed.) Figures of Criminality in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Colonial Vietnam. Studies on Southeast Asia(25). Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, pp. 70-94. ISBN 9780877277248

Indonesia update: transition and its discontents, July - November 1998
Sidel, John (1998) Indonesia update: transition and its discontents, July - November 1998. WriteNet papers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

Macet total: logics of circulation and accumulation in the demise of Indonesia's new order
Sidel, John (1998) Macet total: logics of circulation and accumulation in the demise of Indonesia's new order. Indonesia, 66 . pp. 159-194. ISSN 0019-7289

Murder Inc., Cavite: capitalist development and political gangsterism in a Philippine province
Sidel, John (1998) Murder Inc., Cavite: capitalist development and political gangsterism in a Philippine province. In: Trocki, Carl A., (ed.) Gangsters, Democracy, and the State in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia program series(17). Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, Ithaca, N.Y., USA, pp. 55-80. ISBN 9780877271345

Crisis and transition, catastrophe and progress. Update to 'Indonesia: economic, social and political dimensions of the current crisis'
Sidel, John (1998) Crisis and transition, catastrophe and progress. Update to 'Indonesia: economic, social and political dimensions of the current crisis'. WriteNet papers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

Take the money and run?: 'personality' politics in the post-Marcos Philippines
Sidel, John (1998) Take the money and run?: 'personality' politics in the post-Marcos Philippines. Up Public Policy Journal , 2 (3). pp. 27-38. ISSN 0118-0878

Indonesia: economic, social and political dimensions of the current crisis
Sidel, John (1998) Indonesia: economic, social and political dimensions of the current crisis. WriteNet papers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland.

The underside of progress: land, labor, and violence in two Philippine growth zones, 1985-1995
Sidel, John (1998) The underside of progress: land, labor, and violence in two Philippine growth zones, 1985-1995. Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 30 (1). pp. 3-12. ISSN 0007-4810

Philippine politics in town, district, and province: bossism in Cavite and Cebu
Sidel, John (1997) Philippine politics in town, district, and province: bossism in Cavite and Cebu. The Journal of Asian Studies, 57 (4). pp. 947-966. ISSN 0021-9118

Dark play: notes on a Balinese massacre
Sidel, John (1997) Dark play: notes on a Balinese massacre. Indonesia, 63 . pp. 187-194. ISSN 0019-7289

Rewind, pause, fast forward: viewing the ongoing political transition in Indonesia; 1996-97
Sidel, John (1997) Rewind, pause, fast forward: viewing the ongoing political transition in Indonesia; 1996-97. EIAS briefing paper series, 97/01. European Institute for Asian Studies, Brussels, Belgium.

Siam and its twin?: democratisation and bossism in contemporary Thailand and the Philippines
Sidel, John (1996) Siam and its twin?: democratisation and bossism in contemporary Thailand and the Philippines. IDS Bulletin, 27 (2). pp. 36-52. ISSN 0265-5012

On the waterfront: labour racketeering in the Port of Cebu
Sidel, John (1995) On the waterfront: labour racketeering in the Port of Cebu. South East Asia Research, 3 (1). pp. 3-17. ISSN 0967-828X

The Philippines: the languages of legitimation
Sidel, John (1995) The Philippines: the languages of legitimation. In: Alagappa, Muthiah, (ed.) Political Legitimacy in Southeast Asia: the Quest for Moral Authority. Contemporary issues in Asia and the Pacific. Stanford University Press, Stanford, USA, pp. 136-169. ISBN 9780804725040

Walking in the shadow of the big man: Junstiniano Montano and failed dynasty building in Cavite 1935-1972
Sidel, John (1993) Walking in the shadow of the big man: Junstiniano Montano and failed dynasty building in Cavite 1935-1972. In: McCoy, Alfred W., (ed.) An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines. Monograph series(10). University of Wisconsin Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Madison, USA, pp. 109-161. ISBN 9781881261087

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