Dr Kirsten E. Schulze

Dr Kirsten E. Schulze

Associate Professor

Department of International History

Room No
Office Hours
Thursdays 9:00am - 11:00am
Key Expertise
Militant Islam, Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Southeast Asia

About me

Dr Kirsten E. Schulze is Associate Professor in International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She served as the Deputy Director of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC) 2014-16, as the Head of the LSE Ideas Southeast Asia Programme 2012-14, and she chaired the Indonesian seminar series at Chatham House 2004-12. She is also a member of the LSE SEAC Steering Committee and the LSE Middle East Centre Management Committee.

Dr Schulze works on armed conflict, communal and separatist violence, as well as political Islam and militant jihadism in Indonesia and the Middle East. She has a DPhil from Oxford University (1994) and worked as a lecturer in Politics at Queen’s University Belfast (1994-1995) before coming to the LSE.

Other titles: Masters Examinations Board Chair, Chair of the GSBE Graduate School Board of Examiners (1 August 2024 until 31 July 2027)

Expertise Details

Arab-Israeli Conflict; Indonesian History; Militant Islam; Ethnic and Communal Conflict; Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Southeast Asia

Teaching & supervision

Dr Kirsten Schulze usually teaches the following courses in the Department:

At undergraduate level:

HY328 - The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Nationalism, Territory, Religion

At postgraduate level:

HY435 - Political Islam: From Ibn Taymiyya to ISIS

HY487 - Islam, State and Conflict in Southeast Asia


Dr Schulze also supervises the following PhD students:

 Research student  Provisional thesis title
Armand Azra bin Azlira The End of Anticolonialism in Malaysia: From the British Recolonisation of Malaya to the 1969 Race Riots, c.1945-1969
Jonathan Franco The Peacekeeping Role of the United Nations in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

She supervised the following PhD students in the past:

 PhD graduate  Thesis title
Fadi Esber The Politics of Partition in French Mandate Syria, 1920-1936 (2023)
 Ranj Alaaldin  Iraq: The rise of the Shi’a, 1958-1980 (2015)
 Sarah Ashraf  Of Military and Militancy: The rise of Pakistan’s Praetorian Military Structure and its Relationship with Militant Islam (2018)
 Jonathan Cummings  ‘Muddling through’ hasbara: Israeli government communications policy, 1966-1975 (2012)
 Saad Eskander  Britain’s policy towards the Kurdish Question, 1915-1923 (1999)
 Sajjan Gohel  Insurrection of the Ideologues: the evolution of Egyptian Islamist radical thought from Hassan al-Banna to Ayman al-Zawaheri (2009)
 Anne Irfan  Internationalising Palestine: UNRWA and Palestinian Nationalism in the Refugee Camps, 1967-82 (2018)
Judith Jacob From Kartosuwiryo to Sungkar: The evolving ideology of Indonesia’s Darul Islam movement, 1928-1993 (2021)
 Vishnu Juwono  Berantas Korupsi: a political history of governance reform and anti-corruption initiatives in Indonesia 1945-2014 (2016)
 Michael Kerr  Imposing power-sharing: Conflict and Coexistence in Northern Ireland and Lebanon (2004) co-supervised with Brendan O’Leary
 Amal Tarhuni Mezughi The United States, Britain and Qadhafi’s Libya: revisiting the road to confrontation, 1969–1986
 Amos Nadan  The Arab rural economy in mandate Palestine, 1921-47: peasants under colonial rule (2001) co-supervised with Gareth Austin
 Sara al-Qaiwani  Nationalism, revolution, and feminism: women in Egypt and Iran from 1880-1980 (2015) Co-supervised with Taylor Sherman
 Laura Ryseck  The search for national identity in post-colonial, multi-communal states: the cases of Eritrea and Lebanon, 1941-1991 (2014)
 Daniel Strieff  The president and the peacemaker: Jimmy Carterand the domestic politics of Arab-Israeli diplomacy (2013)
 Gary Sussmann  The referendum in F.W. de Klerk’s war of manoeuvre: an historical institutionalist account of the 1992 referendum (2003) co-supervised with Brendan O’Leary
 Tobias Thiel  Citizen Revolt for a modern state: Yemen’s revolutionary moment, collective memory, and conscientious politics sur la longue duree (2013)
 Corrin Varady  From peacemaking to ‘vigorous self-defence’: US foreign policy and the multinational force in Lebanon 1982-84 (2015)

Student testimonials

Dr Kirsten Schulze has received praise for her teaching over the years. In 2018, she was recognised by the LSESU as a runner-up in the Inspiration Teaching category in the Student-Led Teaching Excellence Awards. The LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards are the only awards at LSE that are student-led. Students make the nominations and students choose the winners.

Here is one of her students' testimonials:

"Last weekend [early February 2016] I participated in the London Security Exercise (LSE's very own Model UN conference, which consists of Crisis Committees only). As Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the Israeli Cabinet I had to address the First Intifada over three days. I ended up winning the award for 'Best Delegate' and I would like you to know that this is to a large extent thanks to your incredibly rewarding Arab-Israeli Conflict course.

"Throughout the previous academic year I would leave your information-intensive lectures and classes with pages and pages of notes that were well worth the ensuing hand cramp. From the various ideological strands of Arab nationalism, Zionism, and political Islam, to the grand strategy and tactics of war and diplomacy, to the everyday identity politics of Palestinian flags attached to donkeys, you weaved together such a diversity of themes and managed to convey them with unrivalled analytical clarity and pedagogical passion. Far beyond the small triumph of winning 'Best Delegate' at a university Model UN conference, your teaching will stay with me for a long time to come."

Ingrid Hampe (2015/16)


Dr Kirsten Schulze is currently writing a history of the Ambon Conflict.

Her publications include:



Her most recent presentations are:
  • 'Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia: Communal Conflict, Separatism and Terrorism' presented at Ben Gurion University (Israel), March 2014;
  • 'Indonesian-US Military Relations' presented at Birmingham University, January 2014;
  • 'The Rohingya Conflict and its impact on Muslims in ASEAN: The case of Indonesia' presented at LSE Ideas/ASEAN UK Business Forum Conference, December 2013.


And recent Public Lectures have included:

  • 'Gerakan Aceh Merdeka: Freedom Fighters or Terrorists?', Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University;
  • 'Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency: A Strategic Analysis of the Aceh Conflict,'Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore;
  • 'The Conflict in Aceh and Indonesia's Integrated Operation, 19 May 2003 - Present', US State Department;
  • 'Aceh under Martial Law', Council on Foreign Relations; 'Towards an Islamic State? Indonesia since Suharto', LSE Asia Research Centre.


 SchulzeFieldwork1  Protesters during the 2003 trial of Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.
 SchulzeFieldwork2  Deserted street in Ambon city during the communal conflict in 2001.
 SchulzeFieldwork3  ‘The Dayak will fight to the last drop of blood as long as the Madurese are in the land of Kalimantan’ – Sign posted during the Dayak-Madurese conflict in 1999.
 SchulzeFieldwork4  Fighters of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in the jungles of Aceh in 2003.

News & media


New co-edited volume

Exporting Global Jihad: Critical Perspectives from Asia and North America (IB Tauris) is the second of a two-volume collection that looks at the extent and nature of global jihad from the hinterlands of jihad beyond the traditionally viewed Middle Eastern "centre". Co-edited with Dr Tom Smith (Portsmouth), the book also contains a chapter Dr Schulze co-authored with Dr Julie Chernov Hwang (Goucher College), “From Afghanistan to Syria: How the global remains local for Indonesian militant Islamists”. Read more


New article in Contemporary Southeast Asia

In April, Dr Schulze just released a new article, “From Ambon to Poso: Comparative and Evolutionary Aspects of Local Jihad in Indonesia”, in a special issue on militant Islam in Southeast Asia (41:1) which she also co-edited with Dr Julie Chernov Hwang (Goucher College, USA). Access the issue here. Free for LSE users here.


New article in Terrorism and Political Violence

Dr Schulze co-authored a new article in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence with Dr Julie Chernov Hwang (Goucher College), entitled "Why They Join: Pathways into Indonesian Jihadist Organizations", available online now. This article explores four pathways to entry into Indonesian Islamist extremist groups: study sessions, local conflict, kinship, and schools. It argues that within all four of these pathways, social bonds and relationships are the common thread in encouraging entry as well as in fostering commitment. Drawing on original fieldwork including 49 interviews with current and former members of Jemaah Islamiyah, Mujahidin KOMPAK, Darul Islam, Mujahidin Tanah Runtuh, Indonesia’s pro-ISIS network, and other jihadist groups as well as 57 depositions and court documents, this article explores the development and evolution of these pathways and how relational ties play a role in each.


New article in the CTC Sentinel

Dr Schulze released a new article in the CTC Sentinel entitled “The Surabaya Bombings and the Evolution of the Jihadi Threat in Indonesia” (June/July 2018, Vol. 11, Issue 6). On May 13, 2018, three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, were targeted by suicide bombers comprising one single family of six. Dr Schulze argues these are the first suicide bombings involving women and young children in Indonesia, thus marking a new modus operandi. They also show an increased capability among Indonesian Islamic State supporters when compared to previous attacks. But this increase is not necessarily indicative of a greater capacity across Indonesia’s pro-Islamic State network and the involvement of whole families reflects a broadening participation in Indonesian jihadism rather than a complete departure. The recent upsurge in violence is locally rooted, even if it is framed within the broader Islamic State ideology. The attacks also bring to the fore the role of family networks and the increased embrace of women and children in combat roles.


LSESU Student-Led Teaching Excellence Awards 2018

Dr Schulze was recognised by the LSESU as a runner-up in the Inspiration Teaching category in the Student-Led Teaching Excellence Awards 2018. Overall, the awards this year led to over 900 individual nominations, with over 400 members of staff across LSE being nominated in 7 categories of awards. After careful consideration the panel  recognised 1 winner, 2-5 runners-up and 4-10 highly commended staff members in each category. The LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards are the only awards at LSE that are student-led. Students make the nominations and students choose the winners.


New article in Asian Security

Dr Schulze published a new article in the journal Asian Security with Professor Joseph Chinyong Liow (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), entitled “Making Jihadis, Waging Jihad: Transnational and Local Dimensions of the ISIS Phenomenon in Indonesia and Malaysia”. The article aims to explain how, where and why the transnational and local intersect as well as the role of religion, particularly in the ideological narratives and recruitment strategies of local jihadi groups. At the heart of their analysis is the question to what extent Indonesians and Malaysians were lured into joining ISIS as a result of its “universal” ideology and global recruitment strategy or whether they were instead propelled by local Indonesian and Malaysian dynamics into Syria and into “importing” and “indigenizing” ISIS to advance their own agendas. LSE users, can read the article for free.


LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards

In May 2017, Dr Kirsten Schulze was recognised in the LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards with a "highly commended" nomination in the category of "Research Guidance and Support”. The LSESU Teaching Excellence Awards are the only awards at LSE that are student-led. Students make the nominations and students choose the winners.


LSE Excellence in Education Award

In June 2016, Dr Kirsten Schulze won an LSE Excellence in Education Award with other members of the Department. Designed to support the School’s aspiration of creating ‘a culture where excellence in teaching is valued and rewarded on a level with excellence in research’ (LSE Strategy 2020), the Excellence in Education Awards are made, on the recommendations of Heads of Department, to staff who have demonstrated outstanding teaching contribution and educational leadership in their departments.