SUU Hosts Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence

Published: September 08, 2023 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 4 minutes

Dr. Hasnul Insani Djohar smiling in a portrait

Southern Utah University has the privilege of hosting Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Hasnul Insani Djohar from Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia.

Djohar is headed to SUU’s History, Social Sciences, and Anthropology (HSA) department where she will instruct students through several classes for the 2023-24 academic year, including Indonesian and Islamic culture studies, and will give guest lectures based on her expertise in cultural, postcolonial and women’s studies. 

Fulbright Scholars are selected through intense competition. They are required to be proficient in English and have a project proposal for their time as a Scholar-in-Residence, including activities, course syllabi and academic research. According to Dr. Kurt Harris, Director of Learning Abroad and SUU’s Fulbright Liaison, the SUU faculty he surveyed recommended Dr. Djohar from among several candidates.

“She was clearly the most qualified and prolific scholar whose materials we reviewed. When I spoke with her via Zoom, I knew she would fit in at SUU and contribute greatly to the learning of our students, faculty and staff, and local community,” said Harris. 

 As a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, Djohar’s mission is to interact with the SUU student body, as well as faculty and staff. She also looks forward to engaging with the surrounding community and experiencing the range of American cultures first-hand through community outreach activities, professional enrichment opportunities and other campus activities. 

The newly appointed chair of HSA, David Lunt, offered his thoughts about having Djohar as SUU’s Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence, as well as how she can aid in his goals for the department. 

“My goal is to keep going–history may not change, but our perspective of it changes,” said Lunt. “It’s great to get a new perspective. One of the goals of a university–in my opinion, at least–is to expose students to the wide variety of the world. There are a lot of different ideas, people with different backgrounds, and so many lived experiences out there, but we sometimes lose track of that in rural Utah. I believe Dr. Djohar’s unique thoughts and experiences will be super-beneficial to the students. Not to mention that the climate, geography, language, predominant religion, etc. of Indonesia are all quite a contrast with what we're used to here in southwestern Utah. We are so lucky to have someone with Dr. Djohar's background, expertise, and experience come to Cedar City and offer to share with the SUU community.”

Possessing an impressive academic record, Djohar is prepared to bring her unique knowledge and perspective to SUU’s campus. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia in English and Arabic, a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in English Literature, and a Ph.D. from the University of Exeter in the UK in English. Following her scholarly endeavors, Djohar began teaching cultural studies, women’s studies, transnational Islamic writing and women’s literature of the Ummah at Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta in 2019, with postcolonial and Muslim women’s studies as her specialty. 

“I chose this field because I have a dream to help to reduce conflict and prejudice among different people and cultures, and I want to give a platform to marginalized voices, including post-colonized people and women of color,” said Djohar. “My main goals as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at SUU are firstly, to increase mutual understanding between Americans and Indonesians, and to exchange Indonesian and American cultures. I’ve learned I need to be more active and proactive in promoting peace and harmonies between the US and Indonesia, and in global society in general. Secondly, to help develop international studies at SUU and to support interdisciplinary studies at SUU. I am looking forward to teaching the cultures of Indonesia to SUU students and all the communities on campus.” 

Along with her personal goals, Djohar has high hopes for her students here at SUU and is also very excited about having a chance to teach the Indonesian language and culture to SUU students who want to visit Indonesia and Bali. 

“I really hope my students will be able to develop their integrated critical thinking skills and improve their global and multicultural studies, especially after they learn about Indonesia, which is the fourth most culturally diverse country and possesses the largest Muslim population in the world,” said Djohar. “I also hope my students will be able to widen their perspectives about Muslim societies and reduce prejudice and discrimination toward Islam and Muslim communities who have suffered from prejudice and discrimination because of the ideas of war and terror.”

Additionally, Djohar looks forward to experiencing the unique landscape around Cedar City and interacting with the local and campus community, as she has never previously visited Utah. 

Becoming a Fulbright Scholar may not have been something Djohar anticipated, but she is very grateful for the opportunity and thanks all those who helped her reach this point in her journey. 

“I’m very excited to explore Cedar City and teach at SUU, and would like to extend a special thank you to my academic colleagues who inspired me to study and teach subjects that I am passionate about. I also offer my love and thanks to my two children,” said Djohar. 

Southern Utah University welcomes Dr. Djohar to campus and looks forward to her positive influence in the classroom as a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. To learn more about the HSA program, visit their website. For more about Dr. Djohar’s studies, view her written works.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences FacStaff History Sociology and Anthropology Faculty History English

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Nikki Koontz