Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism in the Modern Malay World
The narrative of Malay identity devised by Malay nationals, writers and filmmakers in the late colonial period associated Malayness with the village or kampung, envisaged as static, ethnically homogenous, rural, etc. Joel Kahn challenges the kampung version of Malayness, arguing that it ignores the immigration of Malays from outside the peninsula to participate in trade and commercial agriculture, the substantial Malay population in towns and cities, and the reformist Muslims who argued for a common bond in Islam. Owing to a rising dissatisfaction with the established order and new modernist sensitivies, especially among the younger generation, the author argues that it is time to revisit the alternative, more cosmopolitan narrative of Malayness.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"'This is a book which in my view very much needed to be written since it corrects quite a few commonly held misconceptions about Malaysia by marshalling materials from quite diverse domains into what is an original and synthetic whole. The book will be widely read, in particular by Southeast Asianists but also more generally by anthropologists, sociologists and historians concerned with nationalism and cosmopolitanism.... [T]he questions Kahn asks are the important ones, and the material is drawn together in quite new ways.... [This book] is likely to be regarded as an indispensable study of nationalism and identity politics for regional specialists and, more generally, for anthropologists and historians interested in cosmopolitanism and post colonial politics.' (Janet Carsten, University of Edinburgh)."