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Historical Imagination and Cultural Responses to Colonialism and Nationalism: A Critical Malay(sian) Perspective

AZHAR IBRAHIM is lecturer at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore.

SIRD (First Published, 2017)
254 pages including Bibliography and Index


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Historical Imagination and Cultural Responses to Colonialism and Nationalism invites readers to probe the colonialist and nationalist tampering, suppression, and distortion of narratives on the Malays by treating history as a form of ‘imagination’. History conditions the way that society discusses its problems. In this thought-provoking book, the author encourages contemporary historians to move beyond the practice of Orientalist scholars: collecting data and describing facts. Instead, he promotes an alternative reading of history, one that departs from mainstream versions. Reflecting a strong understanding of classical Malay texts, the author also touches on broad themes such as psychological feudalism, orientalism, and the contestation of nationalist and colonialist perspectives on the community. Azhar’s book is a welcomed contribution and a must-read for those interested in alternative discourses in Malay Studies.


Critical Historical Imagination: Sense and Responsibility

1. Indigenous Perspectives on Colonial Capitalism: Insights from the Malay Narratives of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

2. Orientalism and Malay Studies

3. Orientalism, Ethno-Religious Exclusivism and Academicism in Malay Studies: Challenges in the Emergence of an Autonomous Sociological Discourse

4. Psychological Feudalism and Obstacles to Development

5. Competing Visions of the Melayu Baru in Contemporary Malay Thought

6. Cultural Development and the Role of the Cultural Intelligentsia in Social Transformation

7. Autobiographies of Dissent: Some Insights into the Experiences of Marginalised Individuals in Malay Society

On Guard against the Nativism and Divisiveness of Nationalism (and all other debilitating ‘isms’)


Weight0.415 kg
Dimensions21.5 × 14 × 0.6 cm




Year Published


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