Taking his 2018 book as a point of departure, Sumit Mandal explores the connected histories and tensions in the transregional architecture of Arab identities in the Malay world. Scattered across the archipelagic region, creole Hadramis represent a long and meaningful history of Arab connections and interactions with Asia. The “Malay world” in this instance is an imperfect but helpful label that captures the fluid cultural geography of the region before it was divided into colonial states, and, subsequently, the nation-states Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Creole Hadramis and the transregional connections they represent have continued to matter in the nation-states in question. Their presence is a persistent reminder of complex if not fluid identities in racialised contexts.
Arabs in the Malay World: Creole Histories in a Racialised Context
Sumit Mandal (University of Nottingham Malaysia), Chair: Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität Berlin)
Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin
Sumit Mandal is Associate Professor at the School of Politics, History and International Relations at the University of Nottingham Malaysia. He is a historian who works on Muslim societies in the Indian Ocean with a focus on questions of identity. His interests extend to the cultural politics of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. He is currently doing research on histories of keramat or Muslim shrines inflected by Malay world connections and found in the southern Indian Ocean, stretching from Jakarta, Indonesia to Cape Town, South Africa. His book Becoming Arab: Creole Histories and Modern Identity in the Malay World was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.