Islamic Narrative And Authority In Southeast Asia: From the 16th to the 21st Century

Paperback | October 15, 2010

byThomas Gibson

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Honorable Mention for the 2008 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion!

The roots of contemporary Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia lie in the sixteenth century, when Christian Europeans first tried to dominate Indian Ocean trade. Through a detailed analysis of sacred scriptures, epic narratives and oral histories from the region, this book shows how Southeast Asian Muslims combined cosmopolitan Islamic models of knowledge and authority with local Austronesian models of divine kingship to first resist and then to appropriate Dutch colonial models of rational bureaucracy.  At the beginning of the twenty-first century, these models continue to shape regional responses to contemporary trends such as the rise of global Islamism. 

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Honorable Mention for the 2008 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion!The roots of contemporary Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia lie in the sixteenth century, when Christian Europeans first tried to dominate Indian Ocean trade. Through a detailed analysis of sacred scriptures, epic narratives and oral histories from t...

Thomas Gibson received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics and is currently Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Rochester. He began research in Island Southeast Asia in 1979 with fieldwork that resulted in a monograph called Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands: Religi...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:266 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:October 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230110479

ISBN - 13:9780230110472

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

The Ruler as Perfect Man in Southeast Asia 1500-1667 * Cosmopolitan Islam in South Sulawesi 1640-1705 * Islamic Martyrdom and the Great Lord of the VOC 1705-1988 * Popular Mysticism and the Colonial State 1780-1936 * Cosmopolitan Piety and the Late Colonial State 1860-1950 * Revolutionary Islam and the Nation State 1900-1965 * Official Islam and the Developmental State 1965-2004 * Charisma, Ritual, and Models of the Self

Editorial Reviews

"A complex and ambitious study, Tom Gibson has followed up on his previous foray into the interweaving memories and traditions of Sulawesi to explore the ways in which Islam has been interpreted, appropriated, and deployed in a particular Southeast Asian context...The result of long years of labour, this is indeed a major achievement and students of Islam and Asian history should certainly look forward to the final volume of the planned trilogy."--Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Michael Laffan, Princeton University  "Against this backdrop, Thomas Gibson's new book, Islamic Narrative and Authority in Southeast Asia stands as a major contribution to our understanding of Islam in Southeast Asia...Gibson's erudite readings and expert renderings of oral histories, Islamic scriptures, epic narratives, aristocratic geneaologies, and state documents represent the very best kind of scholarship as practiced by an anthropologist-cum-historian."--John T. Sidel, London School of Economics, Journal of Islamic Studies "A particular virtue of Islamic Narrative and Authority is Gibson’s broad analytical lens. Gibson’s project—and one relevant to other historians and anthropologists who study local areas across the Indonesian archipelago—is to articulate the local in Ara in relation to regional, national, and global developments. . . The wide temporal view as well is encouraging, especially in a subfield which has few monographs that cut across the divides of which historians are so fond: modern versus premodern, colonial versus postcolonial."--Indonesia "This book is a tour de force in explicating how symbolic knowledge works and how it evolves in response to changing political realities. The detailed kinship charts and accounts of narratives in their complex social and political contexts recall the great ethnographies of the past that were based on years of study and experience in a culture. The theoretical expanse and analysis demonstrates the power of classic theoretical formulations that underpin the discipline of anthropology in a way that is seldom reflected in contemporary ethnography based on a single 'new' paradigm. This is a book that will be savored by Indonesianists and should be required reading for all anthropologists."--Anthropology News “Gibson's book is an ambitious and successful attempt to formulate structural models for the interpretation of Islamic history in Southeast Asia over five centuries. It is a major achievement that will be taken up by students of Islam and of Asian history.”--Peter van der Veer, University Professor, University College, Utrecht University "This innovative and important work critically examines the interaction of overlapping spheres of symbolic knowledge in the historical development of a major Muslim community in Indonesia. Through meticulously tracing the permutations of indigenous Austronesian conceptions of authority, Islamic understandings of learning and charisma, and bureaucratic models of knowledge and power, Gibson demonstrates the continuing relevance of each of these dimensions in contemporary Makassarese Muslim responses to both Indonesian national 'reformation' (Reformasi) and Islamic religious revival in the era of globalization. Drawing expertly on sources in both Makassarese and modern Indonesian as well as Dutch colonial archives, Gibson draws detailed pictures of a series of shifts in the equilibrium between these modes of religious and political authority over the past four centuries. It is an ambitious book."--R. Michael Feener, Associate Professor of History, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore “This is a work of impressive scope, reaching far across time and space, yet remaining carefully grounded in the ethnography of South Sulawesi. At a time when overgeneralizations about Islam abound, it is extremely useful to have a perspective from a place that, while seemingly marginal to the heartlands of the Muslim world, is also the product of a thoroughly cosmopolitan history.”--Webb Keane, Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan; Author of Signs of Recognition: Powers and Hazards of Representation in an Indonesian Society and Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter