Seminar on the Caliphate in Southeast Asian History

I gave a talk on territorial enclosures and the Caliphate on the Malay Peninsula for the History Seminar Series at Flinders University today. Why? Because they invited me!

My talk focused on the allure the Ottoman Caliphate held for anti-colonial rebels during the British period of forward movement—and the ways in which seemingly-localised uprisings were really aimed at the world system as a whole, as well as at local tactics for privatising land and forests.

The Allure of the Caliphate in Southeast Asia

 

My chapter appears in this edited volume on interconnections between Ottoman Turkey and Southeast Asia, edited by Andrew Peacock and Annabel Gallop.

Institutions like Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies are beginning to call attention to the likelihood that the Islamic State is consolidating its Southeast Asian networks with terror attacks in mind.

Today, I had a book chapter published which seeks to move beyond the threat-and-response rhythm created by groups like the Islamic State and national governments in our region and around the world. Instead, I’ve worked to show that the allure of the Caliphate in Southeast Asia has a history, indeed one that can be reconstructed from fragments of evidence left behind by the British in Malaya, for example. My chapter analyses when and why Malay Muslims invoked the Ottoman Caliphate in resistance movements against British colonisation on the Malay Peninsula.

The chapter is called ‘We Hope to Raise the “Bendera Stambul”: British Forward Movement and the Ottoman Caliphate on the Malay Peninsula’.

  • As the book is acquired by Australian libraries, holdings should begin to appear in Trove, the online catalogue of the National Library of Australia.

New Frontiers of Land Control

The Routledge edited volume, New Frontiers of Land Control.

The Journal of Peasant Studies special issue, New Frontiers of Land Control, has now been published by Routledge as an edited volume. Like the original journal special issue, this volume contains my piece, ‘Making Spaces, Making Subjects: Land, Enclosure and Islam in Colonial Malaya’.

A preview is available on Google Books.

Resources, Conflict and Religious Identity in Malaya

A poster issued by the Journal of Peasant Studies.

In my article in the Journal of Peasant Studies, I look at how struggles related to land control fed in to an Islamist uprising in Malaya in 1928. I examine how the colonial enclosure of territory was related to projects for producing colonial subjects, and how these projects were opposed in the language of jihad, caliphate and holy war. The article is in a special issue of the journal titled New Frontiers of Land Control, edited by Nancy Lee Peluso and Christian Lund.

My abstract is here:

Land control struggles were central to multiple projects of enclosure in colonial Malaya. Indeed, enclosures created Malaya, a discrete geo-body constructed by bounding the Malay polities of the Malay Peninsula. It also underpinned technocratic regimes for managing land, forest and property, including in Terengganu, the last peninsular state to be colonised. Enclosure, however, was directed not only at territorialising landscapes; it was also a biopolitical project for bounding subjects and subjectivities, producing both Malayans and racially-constructed Malay peasants. One response by Terengganu cultivators, a holy war,was grounded in an audacious globalism, through which they rejected the enclosures which bound them in ever-tightening webs of discipline and control.

If you can access it, the full text is available from Taylor and Francis.

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