Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

1 - The Making of Halal Science: Lard Scandals, Shafi'i Fatwas, and Pharmacology Labs in Indonesia

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor

The booming of halal products worldwide has gained much attention across disciplines including business school, Islamic law, food science, pharmacology, anthropology, and more. Yet, the phenomenon remains underexplored within Studies of Technology and Society (STS). Anthropologist Johan Fischer’s work represents the pioneering efforts in research on Halal things. He analyzes Malay Muslim middle-class’ desire for Islamic commodities, the institutionalizing power of the state, the branding of halal products, and the technologies employed in the halal lab. Building upon, but  differing from, Fischer’s observation of “Islamization of material technology and techniques”(2015:105), in this paper I focus on the techno-social processes that made possible ‘the scientification of halal certification’ after a series of food scandals unfolded in Indonesia.


Through 3 years of archival research of local newspapers and magazines, interviews with auditors/technicians working in the LPPOM MUI and with the nation’s most prestigious halal scientists in the Pharmacy Faculty at Gajah Mada University, I elaborate a techno-social history of the making of halal science in Indonesia. I argue that the historical birth of halal science in Indonesia was not a direct result of consumers’ concerns or of state policies. Rather, halal science was materialized through the complicated “co-production” (Jasanoff, 2004) between trans-local scientists, Chinese-owned factories, the judgment of Shafi’i Islamic thoughts in handling lard scandals, as well as the detectable porcine materiality in the laboratory. In a word, it was through complex bio-ethno-religious politics that halal science was forged, aiming to produce new social and material knowledge at the same time.

Send Email for En-Chieh Chao


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1 - The Making of Halal Science: Lard Scandals, Shafi'i Fatwas, and Pharmacology Labs in Indonesia



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