Academic Profile : No longer with NTU

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Asst Prof Faizah Binte Zakaria
Assistant Professor, School of Humanities
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Faizah Zakaria holds a PhD in History from Yale University and an M.A in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore. Her scholarship centers on religion and ecology in maritime Southeast Asia. Her book, titled The Camphor Tree and the Elephant: Religion and Ecological Change in Maritime Southeast Asia is forthcoming in January 2023. In this project, she uses the North Sumatran highlands as a lens to examine how mass religious conversions from animism to monotheism were catalyzed by environmental transformations. The book is supported by a First Book Subvention Award by the Association of Asian Studies in the United States.

In NTU, she teaches courses on the Muslim World, the Malay World, heritage medicine and environmental history. She is co-coordinator of the school's Southeast Asian Studies research cluster and is a member of the Environmental Humanities as well as Religion, Society and Trust research clusters.

Outside NTU, she serves as a board member of the National Heritage Board, as an editor in the editorial collective at the journal Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-, en volkenkunde , and as a committee member in the Association of Asian Studies' Southeast Asian Studies Council.

New projects underway with the support of various grants include a case-based inquiry into the history of charismatic fauna and a longue durée study on the multi-faceted, long-term impacts of volcanic eruptions in the Southeast Asia region. She co-directs a digital humanities project on comparative heritage medicine with Michael Stanley-Baker and Francesco Perono Cacciafoco.
Indigenous peoples and religious communities in Southeast Asia, environmental justice and sustainability, mass violence, human rights and the Anthropocene.
  • Linking History, Botany, Traditional medicines and Biomedicine
  • Magic and Materiality in the Malay World: Historicizing Religion and Ecology in the Region
  • Polyglot medical Heritage in Maritime Southeast Asia: Foundational Resources and Digital Tools
  • The Construction of Charisma for Conservation: Mega-Fauna in Maritime Southeast Asia
First Book Subvention Award, Association of Asian Studies, 2022.

Shortlist, Indonesia and Malay World Young Scholar Prize, 2019.

Shortlist, International Convention of Asian Studies (ICAS) Book Prize for best PhD dissertation in the humanities category, 2019. Won a reading accolade for ‘most captivating and accessible work for a non-specialist audience.’

Arthur and Mary Wright Prize awarded for outstanding dissertation in a field of history outside US and Europe at Yale University, 2018.

Association of Asian Studies ITLSC Student Paper Prize, best graduate student paper presented at the AAS conference in the area of Indonesian studies, 2017.
Courses Taught
 The Islamicate World

 History of the Malay World: Past Histories, Present Identities

 Climate and Society in Historical Perspective

 Singapore: The Making of a Cosmopolitan City-State

 Historiography: Theory and Methods

 Heritage Medicine: Comparing Chinese and Malay Traditions (with Michael Stanley-Baker)