Dr. Frank Fanselow

Associate Professor

PhD London School of Economics


I was trained as a socio-cultural anthropologist at the American University in Cairo (B.A.) and the London School of Economics (Ph.D.) and taught at Yarmouk University in Jordan (1987-90), the American University in Cairo (1990-97), and University Brunei Darussalam (1997-2012) before joining Zayed University in 2013. I have also been a Visiting Professor at the Institute for the Research in Humanities at Kyoto University (2012).

My research is in the area of sociology/anthropology of Islam and has looked at Muslim communities in a variety of contrasting socio-political contexts: a Muslim minority in non-Muslim society (Tamil Muslims in South India), a non-Muslim minority in Muslim society (ethnic conflict between indigenous Dayak groups and transmigrants in Indonesian Borneo), and of a Muslim ethnic minority in a Muslim majority society (Pakistani migrant labourers in the Jordan Valley, Tamil Muslims in the UAE); Islam as a source of resistance to the state (religious preachers in pre-revolutionary Egypt in the 1990s) and as the source of legitimacy of the state (Islam and Malay monarchy in Brunei). My work has been published in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Eastern Anthropologist, Southeast Asia, Journal of Muslim Minority Studies, Zinbun, and Journal of Southeast Asian Studies.

At Zayed University I teach the following courses: Introduction to Culture and Society, Research Methods, Comparative Intellectual Traditions, Peoples of the World, World Regions: South Asia


Abu Dhabi Campus, MF 2.1.016


(971) 2 599 3462

Research and Professional Activities

My research Focus:

  • Sociology/anthropology of Muslim Societies;

Middle East (Gulf, Egypt), South Asia (Tamilnadu, Sri Lanka), Southeast Asia (Borneo)

My Publication:

  1. 2014. "The Anthropology of the State and the State of Anthropology in Brunei", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 45 (1), pp. 90-112.   2012. "Religion in Sri Lanka", "Religion in Brunei Darussalam", Handbuch der Religion in den Ländern der Welt, Nordhausen: Bautz Verlag.  
  2. 2008. “Brunei: The Challenges of Cultural Globalization”, South-East Asia 8 (1): 99-107.   2006. “The Rise Communalism in Tamil Nadu”, in: Nadeem Hasnain (ed.), Islam and Muslim Communities in South Asia. New Delhi, Serials Publications.  
  3.  1996. “The Disinvention of Caste Among Tamil Muslims”, in: C.J.Fuller (ed.) Caste Today, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996: 202-226.  
  4. 1990  “How Bizarre is the Bazaar Economy Really?’,  Man: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 25, 2: 250-265.   1989  “Muslim Society in Tamil Nadu: A Historical Perspective”, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 10, 1: 264-289.
  5. Publications:  https://zayed.academia.edu/FrankFanselow