A staple of postwar academic writing, “nationalism” is a contentious and often unanalyzed abstraction. It is generally treated as something “imagined,” “fashioned,” and “disseminated,” as an idea located in the mind, in printed matter, on maps, in symbols such as flags and anthems, and in collective memory.
In 1500 Malay Malacca was the queen city of the Malay Archipelago, one of the great trade centers of the world. Its rulers, said to be descendents of the ancient line of Srivijaya, dominated the lands east and west of the straits. The Portuguese, unable to compete in the marketplace, captured the town.
Violence and the Dream People is an account of a little-known struggle by the Malayan government and the communist guerrillas, during the 1948-1960 Malayan Emergency, to win the allegiance of the Orang Asli, the indigenous people of the peninsular Malaya.
Amok, one of the few Malay words commonly appearing in English, names a syndrome of unpredictable and indiscriminate homicidal behavior with suicidal intent. In tracing the development of this behavioral pattern, Spores examines historical data, including frequently colorful colonialist accounts of such episodes, from British Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies during the period 1800–1925.
One of the major processes in modern Southeast Asian history has been the development of ethnically heterogeneous towns and cities. Kucing, an intermediate-sized urban center in Sarawak, Malaysia, is today an institutionally complex, predominantly Chinese city of 100,000 led by modern political leaders. Lockard’s account of the development and growth of Kucing over 150 years devotes particular attention to the remarkable absence of ethnic conflict in the mixed society of Kucing.