Saskia Schäfer
Head of Research Group

Saskia Schäfer’s research focuses on politics and religion. She has held post-doctoral positions at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, both at Columbia University, and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her Dr. phil. in political science from the Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin in collaboration with the multidisciplinary Graduate School “Muslim Cultures and Societies.” She is currently preparing a manuscript on religious freedom and orthodoxy in Indonesia.

image © Mareike Stoll

Mutmainna Syam
PhD Candidate/Research Assistant

Mutmainna Syam holds a M.A. in International Relations from Gazi University, Turkey. While studying in Turkey, she also worked for the Indonesian Embassy in Ankara as a Political Analyst Assistant. She is currently conducting research about religious authorities and democracy in the education sector in Indonesia.

Dissa Julia Paputungan
PhD Candidate

Dissa Julia Paputungan received her M.A. in political science from Osnabrück University. Her research interests include public policy, civil society, and the use of social media. She is currently conducting her PhD research about intolerance and civil society organizations in the education sector in Indonesia. Her PhD research is funded by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Bahar Çatı
Student Research Assistant

Bahar Çatı studies Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her academic focus is on global feminist movements and Islamism. She also works on nation-building in the Middle East, especially in Turkey and Kurdistan, and contributions made to nation-building by the respective diasporas in Germany. She has been a Rosa Luxemburg Foundation fellow since 2020.

External collaborators

Leona Pröpper works as a One World Promoter with the human rights organization Watch Indonesia!. She collaborates with SIDIT on urban development and civil society. 

Zeynep Balcioglu works as a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University in 2021. Her research focuses on multi-level governance structures, social services, and assistance provisions for refugees and immigrants, local bureaucracies, and international humanitarian organizations. She holds a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University and an MA in Global Ethics and Human Values from King’s College London. After joining the team in Berlin for a post-doctoral fellowship in 2022, she continues to collaborate with SIDIT on a project on notions of democracy among elites in Turkey.

Former members and former guest researchers

  • Devin Can Atakan (Intern, August 2023 – December 2023)
  • Vivaan Jain (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, August 2023 – November 2023)
  • Ulaş Ustaer (Intern, July 2023 – August 2023)
  • Farina Salma (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, May 2023 – August 2023)
  • Büşra Döner (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, June 2023 – August 2023)
  • Zeynep İnal (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, April 2023 – June 2023)
  • Fatma İhtiyar (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, August 2022-February 2023)
  • Bryan Christopher Tan (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, June 2022-September 2022)
  • Marisa Chávez Gómez (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, June 2022-September 2022)
  • Muhittin Ahmedoğlu (Research Assistant, February 2020-May 2022)
  • Mehmet Keserli (Student Research Assistant , March 2021-March 2022)
  • Amalie Ravn Østergaard (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, July-August 2021)
  • Büşra Nur Beşir (Intern, Erasmus Internship Program, July-August 2021 and October 2022- May 2023)
  • Joseph Black (Intern, Humboldt Internship Program, May-July 2021)
  • Lea Ebeling (Student Research Assistant, August 2019-April 2021)
  • Prof. Merlyna Lim (Guest Researcher, September-October 2019