Daromir Rudnyckyj

Daromir Rudnyckyj

Accepting MA/PhD students

Office: COR B210

PhD U of California, Berkeley

Area of expertise

Globalization; ethnography; religion; money; cryptocurrency; development; economy; social studies of finance; the state; liberalism & neoliberalism; Southeast Asia; North America; Europe

Funding is available for MA and PhD students interested in joining the Future of Money project and/or the Counter Currency Laboratory. Contact Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj for more information.

Daromir Rudnyckyj is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Victoria, where he serves as Director of the Counter Currency Laboratory and Principal Investigator for the Futures of Money project.  He is also the President of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion  and serves as a Councillor for the American Ethnological Society.  His research addresses globalization, money, religion, development, capitalism, finance, and the state.  He conducts field and archival work in Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. His current research examines the techno-politics of money, with a focus on experiments in producing monetary forms and public debates over currency reform. Dr. Rudnyckyj’s most recent book, Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2019), examines efforts to create a transnational financial network independent of debt and  efforts to make Kuala Lumpur the “New York of the Muslim World” by transforming it into the central node in a transnational Islamic financial system.  With Filippo Osella, he co-edited the volume, Religion and the Morality of the Market (Cambridge University Press, 2017).  Dr. Rudnyckyj’s book, Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization, and the Afterlife of Development (Cornell University Press, 2010), was awarded a Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society. He has published essays in American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Social Text, Anthropological Theory, JRAI, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, the Journal of Asian Studies, and elsewhere. His research has been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and other scholarly foundations. His courses focus on a variety of topics, including globalization, the anthropology of knowledge, liberalism and neoliberalism, finance and money, development, sovereignty and the state, religion, colonialism and post-colonialism, Islam, and Southeast Asia. He welcomes applications from students working on a variety of topics including: (1) globalization and development; (2) contemporary religious practices; (3) money and alternative monetary forms; (4) neoliberalism, financialization, and knowledge economies; (5) techno-politics in Southeast Asia; (6) the anthropology of science, technology, and knowledge. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago.


  • Anthropology of money
  • Anthropology of knowledge
  • Economic anthropology
  • Political anthropology
  • Globalization
  • Religion
  • Southeast Asia


Fall 2023

  • Not teaching

Spring 2024

  • ANTH 150 Money and Culture
  • ANTH 483 Anthropology of Money in Theory and  Practice

Faces of UVic Research

This video is a short introduction to my current research.

Current projects

Spiritual Economies: Islam and the Afterlife of Development

This project analyzes a socio-technical scheme for developing faith in contemporary Southeast Asia. I analyze how Islam is mobilized to facilitate the neoliberal reform of state-owned enterprises planned for privatization. Based on more than two years of ethnographic research, most of which took place at state-owned Krakatau Steel in western Java, I examine how what is referred to as “spiritual reform” is designed to address the challenge posed by the end of faith in development (the utopian aspirations inherent in modernization and industrialization). I analyze how efforts to merge Islam with the ethics of globalization create what I term the “afterlife of development”: the assemblage of a modernist commitment to rationality and domains, like religious practice, that previously lay outside the logic of modernization and development.
View the interactive, hypertext essay on this project now.

Homo Economicus or Homo Islamicus?: The Globalization of Islamic Finance

Recent financial crises around the globe have precipitated renewed enthusiasm across the Muslim world for an Islamic alternative to conventional finance. This project is an ethnographic investigation of ambitious plans in contemporary Malaysia to develop the infrastructure necessary to create a transnationally valid Islamic financial system. The project documents the debates among government planners, Islamic scholars, bankers, and others as the state seeks to make the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, the “New York of the Muslim world”: the central node in a transnational Islamic financial network. The project asks whether Islamic finance offers an alternative economic rationality to conventional capitalism or whether it simply represents a translation of homo economicus into Islamic idioms. This ethnographic study of the everyday practices of creating a transnational Islamic financial infrastructure offers the possibility of an alternative conceptualization of globalization, insofar as it focuses on a global network in which traditional centers in Europe, the United States, and East Asia play a relatively minor role.

Gift or Graft?: Anti-Corruption in Indonesia

I have recently initiated a project on the emergence of corruption as an object of intervention in Indonesia and the effects of state and para-state efforts to diagnose and prevent corruption. I seek to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the category corruption and its effects by asking what forms of economic rationality are produced through denoting certain practices corrupt. This project focuses not so much on determining the causes of corruption, but rather on how corruption is represented and acted upon as a problem that is simultaneously moral and economic. At stake in this transformation is a radical redefinition of what constitutes a moral economy, as the rationality of gift exchange is called into question in efforts to conform to prevailing global norms.

The Everyday Life of Modernity: Forging the Nation in an Indonesian Steel Town

This ongoing ethnographic project documents the worldviews of a generation of engineers and other skilled workers who worked at Krakatau Steel, a massive state-owned company in western Java and the largest steel factory in Southeast Asia. In describing the lives of workers who produced steel, the signature material symbol of modernity, I show how their hopes and aspirations were connected to a broader set of assumptions about development, progress, and the conduct of modern life.

Selected publications

Books and Edited Volumes

  • 2021, Turkish edition. Borcun Ötesinde: Küresel Finansta Islami Deneyimler. Istanbul: Albaraka Yayınlar.
  • 2019. Southeast Asian edition published by National University of Singapore Press.
  • 2019. Beyond Debt: Islamic Experiments in Global Finance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • 2017. Religion and the Morality of the Market. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (co-edited with Filippo Osella).
  • 2010. Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization, and the Afterlife of Development.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Articles and chapters

  • 2020. Rudnyckyj, Daromir and Jerome Whitington. “The Ethnography of the Global after Globalization.” Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 10(3).
  • 2020. Rudnyckyj, Daromir. “Spiritual Economy as Mesoanalytics: An Ethnography of a Global Problem Space in Indonesia.” Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 10(3).
  • 2018. Rudnyckyj, Daromir. “Crisis Effects,” Cultural Anthropology. 33(4).

  • 2017. “Subjects of Debt: Financial Subjectification and Collaborative Risk in Malaysian Islamic Finance,” American Anthropologist. 119(2): 269-283.
  • 2017. “Assembling Islam and Liberalism: Market Freedom and the Moral Project of Islamic Finance.”  In Religion and the Morality of Markets, edited by Daromir Rudnyckyj and Filippo Osella. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 
  • 2017. “Assembling Market and Religious Moralities.”  In Religion and the Morality of Markets, edited by Daromir Rudnyckyj and Filippo Osella.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (with Filippo Osella).
  • 2017. “Debating Form, Consuming Substance: Halal Authenticity in Malaysian Islamic Finance,” Practical Matters. 10: 1-14.
  • 2017. “Objectifying Economies: Contemporary Themes in Economic Anthropology.” In Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology, edited by Simon Coleman, Susan Hyatt, and Ann Kingsolver. London: Routledge.
  • 2016. “Islamizing Finance: From Magical Capitalism to a Spiritual Economy,” Anthropology Today. 32(6): 8-12.
  • 2015.  “Religious Reform and Emerging Middle Classes.” In the Routledge Handbook of Religions in Asia, ed. Bryan Turner and Oscar Salemink, 329-342. London: Routledge.
  • 2015. “Religion and Economic Development.” In the Routledge Handbook on Religions and Global Development, ed. Emma Tomalin, 405-417. London: Routledge.
  • 2014. "Afterlives of Development." Symposium in Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 37(1). Co-edited with Anke Schwittay.
  • 2014. “Regimes of Self-Improvement: Globalization and the Will to Work.” Social Text. 32(3): 109-127.
  • 2014. “Economy in Practice: Islamic Finance and the Problem of Market Reason.” American Ethnologist.  41(1):110-127.
  • 2014. “Islamic Finance and the Afterlives of Development in Malaysia." Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 37(1)69-88.
  • 2014. “Introduction: Afterlives of Development." Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 37(1):3-9. (Co-authored with Anke Schwittay).