Islamic Narrative And Authority In Southeast Asia / Edition 1

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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

“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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403979834
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Series: Contemporary Anthropology of Religion Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

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: Religion and Society among the Buid of Mindoro. Since 1988, he has been conducting anthropological, historical and literary research on symbolic knowledge and political authority in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Islamic Narrative and Authority in Southeast Asia is the second in a series of monographs on this topic. The first of appeared under the title And the Sun Pursued the Moon: Symbolic Knowledge and Traditional Authority Among the Makassar. A final volume will examine the generation of conflicting experiences of the self and the world in Austronesian life-cycle rituals, Islamic mystical practices and bureaucratic disciplines. Gibson's long-term goal is to develop a general theory of how diverse forms of symbolic knowledge and political authority interact in complex societies.

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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

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