Founders & Directors

The Observatory was founded by Gabriel Facal and Gloria Truly Estrelita. It is headed in co-direction with Sarah Anaïs Andrieu.


Gabriel FACAL – Anthropologist, Centre Asie du Sud-Est/CASE (EHESS-CNRS, Paris); Institut de recherches Asiatiques/IrAsia (Aix-Marseille Université-CNRS, Marseille); Patrimoines locaux, Environnement et Globalisation (IRD-MNHN, Paris).


Over the past fifteen years, my work is related to the themes of ritual initiation, martial arts, customary authority, ancestry, political violence, religious violence, and popular resistance. My fieldwork started in 2004 in Indonesia, where I focused on the village monograph of Banten’s martial initiation school, west of Java. In my PhD (2012), I studied several martial schools’ links to the regional government and military elites. I then developed expertise on national political dynamics, essentially on the issues of corruption and clientelism. I also studied groups opposing the government’s growing liberal-influenced authoritarianism and worked on Muslim political groups, even to their extremes, at the Southeast Asian level. Therefore, over the years, I operated a change of scale through a decentralisation that is both thematic and regional. I realise my fieldwork in the Malay world directly in the Malay language. My spouse is Indonesian, and we have two children. I was born in the northern Basque country to a French mother and an Argentinian father.

Over the last four years, I contributed to the following projects: Martial Arts:; Authority & Aesthetics:; Territory & Matrimonial Alliance:

Gloria Truly ESTRELITA – Historian, Centre Asie du Sud-Est/CASE (EHESS-CNRS, Paris).

Gloria Truly Estrelita earned her master’s degree in Criminology from Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta. She also holds an LLM from Kyushu University, Japan, and a Master 2 in Asie Méridionale et Orientale (AMO) from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris. Before coming to France in 2013, she worked at the Centre for Criminological Studies in Indonesia (Pusat Kajian Kriminologi) and taught Criminology at Universitas Indonesia as a guest lecturer. She was also an associate researcher at the Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia/IRASEC (2019-2021). Currently, she is a PhD student at the EHESS Paris. She is interested in religion in prison, in particular in the Indonesian carceral system. Together with Gabriel Facal, she contributed to the 2020 edition of IRASEC‘s annual report.

Sarah Anaïs ANDRIEU – Anthropologist, Centre Asie du Sud-Est/CASE (EHESS-CNRS, Paris).


Sarah Anaïs Andrieu earned her PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology at EHESS, Paris. She works since 2005, about cultural and heritage politics, particularly regarding “traditional” practices in Indonesia. Living in Bandung since 2006, she has been working about Sundanese wayang golek puppet theatre considering its identity, mystical, heritage and political dimensions, ranging from local observation to the apprehension of international policies (2005-2018). She has also been studying the practice of female circumcision in West Java (2014-2015) and powerful objects (pusaka) (2018-2019). Her current topics still cover heritage and memory processes as linked to cultural practices. In 2020, she starts new research about (a)-religious alternative groups (New Age and atheism) in Indonesia.