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New Perspectives and Research on Malaysian History

Cheah Boon Kheng

Publication Year: 2007

Historiography is both the study of the writing of history, and the history of historical writings. The book deals with the current research interests, methods, thinking and trends in Malaysian historical writing. The individual essays focus not only on new historical sources and methodologies, but also on debates between different schools of Malaysian historians on conceptual issues and on ways to reconstruct the Malaysian past. For a long time the primary object of Malaysian historical studies has been the nation-state, but some of the historians in this volume now argue that local history, social history, economic history, and the role of women, minorities and marginalized groups like trishaw riders are equally important concerns within Malaysia's socially diverse and multi-ethnic society. The essays also discuss challenges Malaysian historians face from new movements like post-modernism in representing historical truth and objectivity. This book should be of interest not only to students of Malaysian history, but also to the general reader.

Published by: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

Title page

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Copyright page

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pp. iii

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pp. iv

This volume on the historians and the writing and research of Malaysian history, edited by Dr Cheah Boon Kheng, our journal editor, is the first of two volumes on historiography, which the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society is publishing to commemorate its 130th anniversary this year. The second volume is “Historians and their discipline: The call of Southeast Asian History” which is being edited by Emeritus Professor Nicholas Tarling of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. v-vii

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pp. 1-7

Since the 1950’s and 1960’s debates on Euro-centric versus Asia-centric forms of history writing, Malaysian historians have moved away to debate and write their own autonomous histories. Where the earlier debates on historiography were between Malaysians and foreigners, the debates among Malaysian historians...

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Scribes and Historians, State Museums And State Histories

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pp. 9-59

There is not much focus on Malay state history or provincial history and its development in current Malaysian historiography. Many of us are familiar with the various Malay state chronicles of Pahang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan and Johor which have been in existence since the 17th century, hand copied from one generation...

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Re-Reading Adat Laws and Legal Texts as Sources of Malay Social Stability

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pp. 61-96

Few Malaysian historians have paid sufficient attention to legal texts, and legal texts have, therefore, remained the preserve of those specializing in literary or legal studies and philology. R. J.Wilkinson was one of the first scholars to have discussed...

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Syair as a Historical Source: The Syair Tantangan Singapura, a nineteenth century text

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pp. 97-117

Syair originates from an Arab-Persian word, which means poetry. According to Harun Mat Piah, a Malay syair is the reflection of the life of the Malays enriched with various colours and hues that describe their lives. It is considered as the propert

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New Theories and Challenges in Malaysian History

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pp. 119-145

In this paper I shall discuss new theories and debates in historiography (i.e. historical writing), which present challenges to Malaysian historians in the transmission of historical knowledge. The new theories and debates occur within the current three main...

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Writing Marginalized Groups into Malaysian Social History

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pp. 147-158

This paper argues in support of the writing of social history, which does not constitute the main stream of Malaysian historiography. Its subject matter is the role played by Malay trishaw riders in Kota Bharu, Kelantan between the 1960s and 1980s as the ‘middlemen’ or...

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The Gerschenkron Advantage:New directions for forging ahead in Malaysian Economic History

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pp. 159-178

The main agenda of economic history1 is to understand the function of economies in the past, seemingly a task for a person trained in the discipline of economics, rather than in history. However, as an adequate understanding of past economies requires...

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Highlighting Malay Women In Malaysian Historiography

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pp. 179-209

In the 1970s the omission of women in contemporary historical narratives was first raised by women’s liberation movements in the United States. The discussions among the leading feminists subsequently led to a new trend in intellectual discourse and...

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Writing on Orang Asli1 into Malaysian History

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pp. 211-228

Malaysian historiography, since independence from colonial rule, has paid greater attention to local society, which previously had been a neglected subject. There clearly exists now a new perception of history. History, as an academic discipline, has become more inclusive than exclusive, and there is no limit to the...

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Many Malayas: Placing Malaysia in a Historical Context

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pp. 229-245

In the early 1970s a Malaysian public figure, an academic but not a historian told me that the country needed a glorious history, an account of the past that would generate a nationalistic sense of pride. It didn’t matter, he added, whether that history was true. The idea of inventing...

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Writing the History of theChinese in Malaysia:New Directions and bridging the gaps between two linguistic spheres

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pp. 247-270

Chinese presence in the Malay waters can be traced back to the second century CE. However, the Chinese community in Malaysia only emerged in large numbers in the 19th century at a time when Chinese began emigrating from southeastern...

E-ISBN-13: 9789679948561
Print-ISBN-13: 9789679948400

Page Count: 277
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: New