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Common ground: Race and the colonial universe in British Malaya

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2009

Abstract

This article explores the common bases of knowledge on race among Malay intellectuals and British scholar-officials in British Malaya. It focuses on genealogies of knowledge that not only lead back to Europe, but to contexts in the Malay Archipelago, encompassing both coloniser and colonised as agents of production of colonial knowledge on race. Race was a strategy adopted by Malay intellectuals in a colonial milieu, in line with histories and conditions before and during the period of British control over Malaya. The notion of complicities is explored in studying the interaction between British and Malay intellectuals which produced colonial knowledge on race.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The National University of Singapore 2009

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References

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20 There is a wealth of information available on the subject of the history of anthropology. See, for example, Staum, Martin S., Labeling people: French scholars on society, race, and empire 1815–1848 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003)Google Scholar; Stepan, Nancy Leys, Picturing tropical nature (London: Reaktion Books, 2001)Google Scholar; and Stocking, George W. Jr, Victorian anthropology (New York: Free Press, 1987)Google Scholar.

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26 See chs. 6 and 7 in Milner's Invention of politics in colonial Malaya.

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31 Wahab Ali, Emergence of the novel, pp. 65–8, 104–5; Abdullah Sanusi, Peranan pejabat karang mengarang dalam bidang2 pelajaran sekolah2, pp. 20–1; Roff, Origins of Malay nationalism, pp. 51 fn. 66, 142, 155–7.

32 Roff, Origins of Malay nationalism, pp. 144–8; Hooker, Writing a new society, p. 76.

33 My translation of Za'ba's title is, ‘A short history of Malaya, selected and translated from relevant sections of “Malaya” written by Dr R.O. Winstedt (which was published in 1922)’.

34 Racial ideologies enabled the newspaper Utusan Melayu to extend its rhetoric as far as Ceylon (Milner, Invention of politics in colonial Malaya, p. 100).

35 Omar Mustaffa, ‘Angan-angan dengan Gurindam’, Utusan Melayu, 18 Jan. 1913, in Puisi-puisi kebangsaan 1913–1957, compiled by Abdul Latiff Abu Bakar (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1987), p. 3; Mir Hamzah, ‘Semenanjung…’, Warta Ahad, 25 June 1939, in the same volume, p. 118; Roff, Origins of Malay nationalism, p. 151.

36 Stocking, Victorian anthropology, pp. 57–8.

37 Wilkinson, Papers on Malay subjects; Wilkinson, R.J., Papers on Malay subjects, supplement: The aboriginal tribes (Kuala Lumpur: Printed by J.E. Wallace at the F.M.S. Government Press, 1926)Google Scholar.

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40 Sejarah ringkas Tanah Melayu, pp. 1, 9, 16–17, 28.

41 Ibid., p. 117.

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45 Ibid.; Sejarah ringkas Tanah Melayu, pp. 2–3.

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49 Annandale and Robinson, for instance, note that Malays characterise some indigenous tribes as ‘beasts’. Though they do not use such a term to describe these groups throughout their work, they take for granted that the latter are savage and uncivilised (Annandale and Robinson, Fasciculi Malayenses, p. 6).

50 Raffles, Memoir of the life and public services of Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, p. 15.

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56 Emerson, Rupert, ‘Introduction’, in Institute of Pacific Relations Inquiry Series, Government and nationalism in Southeast Asia (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1942), pp. 391Google Scholar; Wheeler, The modern Malaya.

57 Quoted in Hooker, Writing a new society, p. 70.

58 The Malays in Malaya, preface, pp. 29, 44.

59 Ibid., pp. 29, 31, 35.

60 Ibid., pp. 34–8, 103–4.

61 Ibid., pp. 90–4.

62Teguran dan jawaban-nya’ in Al-Ikhwan, 16 Nov. 1926, in The real cry of Syed Shaykh al-Hady, with selections of his writings by his son Syed Alwi Al-Hady, ed. Alijah Gordon (Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1999), pp. 189–94.

63 See, for example, the tone of Wilson, Woodrow's speech given in 1918 on self-determination in The human rights reader: Major political writings, essays, speeches, and documents from the bible to the present, ed. Ishay, Micheline R. (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 299304Google Scholar.

64 Roff, Origins of Malay nationalism, p. 150; Miller, Harry, The story of Malaysia (London: Faber and Faber, 1965), p. 167Google Scholar.

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