Melayu: The Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness

This volume offers a creative approach to the study of

Malayness while providing new perspectives to the studies

of identity formation and politics of ethnicity


In Melayu: The Politics, Poetics and Paradoxes of Malayness, the contributors examine the checkered, wavering and changeable understanding of the word Melayu by considering hitherto unexplored case studies dealing with use of the term in connection with origins, nations, minority-majority politics, Filipino Malays, Riau Malays, Orang Asli, Straits Chinese literature, women’s veiling, vernacular television, social dissent, literary women, and modern Sufism.


“What the volume does successfully is examine, though not obsessively so, those populations at the margins. This in turn enables something useful to be said about the ways in which ethnic categories are debated, questioned, rejected, constructed, and transformed. This is a thought-provoking collection and deserves our fullest attention.”

– V T King

“This volume adds valuable new perspectives to Melayu studies by focusing on Malayness in the margins…It convincingly demonstrates that Melayu persists and thrives in contemporary culture. Further, it shows that Malayness has important stakes for ordinary people.”

– Andrew Weintraub

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