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Tanah Air: Passing Through the Malay Archipelago

AHMAD MURAD MERICAN is Professor at International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia.

ISTAC-IIUM (First published, 2022)
180 pages including Index


Out of stock

ISBN: 9789839379686 Product ID: 37536 Subjects: , Sub-subjects: , , ,

Tanah Air: Passing Through the Malay Archipelago narrates and re-tells ideas, episodes and places in the Malay Archipelago. Some have called it a cultural history of the region. It could be viewed as the sociological imagination of the Tanah Air. The collective experience of the rantau is here reminded and recontextualized. In this regard, we see the past—of Melaka, Kedah, Tanjong, by extension Malay society and the Malay Archipelago as integral to global history. This is where civilizations and cultures meet; where its rivers, straits and seas give life to communities and societies over the centuries. The Alam Melayu, expressed through the Tanah Air is never an ambiguous notion to its inhabitants. It is relatively a manifestation of a cosmopolitan world. It is a historical, cultural and sociological reality.

The columns in this book are arranged thematically, divided into three parts, with a prologue and an epilogue. The essay titled “The Melaka Enlightenment and Its Oceanic Geographies,” which serves as the prologue, is exclusively meant for this book. This is to premise Melaka as central to our narrative and to remind us that modern Malaysia is much a product of the Melaka Enlightenment in its history and geography. It is time that we shift our experience of Melaka as a globalized polity and forge its vibrancy from an oceanic perspective. Abdullah Munshi is appropriated for the Epilogue to resonate the articulation of the Tanah Air. Abdullah has rendered, in various genres and readings of the Tanah Air.

This book is not meant to be read as a history book. It is to be consumed with how the narrative has been arranged and structured, without any pretensions. The three parts of the book fairly resonate with the different but interrelated themes. One function of a newspaper column is to shed new ways of thinking about things, people and ideas. This series of essays on the Tanah Air is to appropriate perspectives in re-casting and re-understanding the global dynamics not only centering on Melaka but appropriating the chain and connections of events and ideas radiating throughout the Malay Archipelago, especially from the early modern period.


The Melaka Enlightenment and Its Oceanic Geographies

Part One

1. Ideas on Civilization: The Homeland Basis for Malaysia’s National Culture
2. Benua Melayu: Exploring Another Worldview
3. Malay Peninsula and Archipelago: Revisiting Geographical Data
4. Batik: Mirroring Spiritual and Cosmological Space
5. The Tanah Air Has Always Been Cosmopolitan
6. Revisiting Melaka as Global History
7. In the Shadow of Magelllan
8. The Many Shades of the Ferringhi
9. From East to West: The Flow of Taste and Spices to Europe and the World
10. Of Nutmegs and Cloves: European Pirates in the Archipelago
11. Rantau and Merantau: Geography and Soul
12. Kingdom Without Soldiers: Communication Throughout the Alam Minangkabau

Part Two

13. Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa: The Genesis of Kedah’s Global Consciousness
14. The Space of Lautan Melayu: Kedah in the Transpeninsular Routes
15. Chulias and Marakayars: A Persistent Presence in the Tanah Air
16. The Company: Looting the Jewel in the Kedah Crown
17. Nakhoda Light in the Malay World
18. A Kedah Island: The Stolen Past of Pulau Pinang
19. In Their Own Image: European Sojourners on Early Pulau Pinang and Malay History
20. Kedah on My Mind: Erecting the Memory of the 1821 Siamese Invasion
21. The Brunei Connection: Genealogies and Perantaus in Pulau Pinang
22. The Hispanized Malay: The Philippines in the Malay World
23. The Pan- Malayan Consciousness: Malaysia
24. Ibrahim Yaacob: Writing Against Imperialism
25. The Road to Bukittinggi: Aziz Ishak’s Rendition in his Mencari Bako
26. P. Ramlee: The Getaran of the Modern Malay Hikayat Lives On
27. Bandung: The Voice of Afro-Asian Political Decolonialization
28. The Sounds of Keroncong: Tuning in to the Illusive Irama

Part Three

29. Riau-Lingga’s Rushdiah Club: Print Culture and Malay Enlightenment
30. Asmara, Nun, Kenchana: Impressions of Early Malay Newspapers and Periodicals
31. The Minangkabau Press: Expressions of Kemadjoean, Kaum Muda and Kaum Tua in the Sumatra Westkust
32. The Jawi PeranakkanL Early Popular Expressions of Malay Identity in the Archipelago
33. Khabar from Tanjong: Bahasa Melayu Newspapers in Early Pulau Pinang
34. Yusof Ishak’s Utusan Melayu: The Genesis of Malay Newspaper Journalist
35. Unveiling Tempo: A Cultural History

Abdullah Munshi: Introducing the Malay World as Journalist, Sociologist, and Scientist

Selected Further Reading

Weight0.382 kg
Dimensions22.8 × 15 × 1.3 cm




Year Published


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