Special Seminar
"Arabs in Nineteenth Century Java: Cultural Diversity, Race and the Colonial State"

Date: Thursday, April 17, 2003 15:00 - 17:00

Venue: Room C307, 3rd Floor, Common Building, The Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University

By Dr.Sumit K. Mandal, CSEAS Visiting Fellow

This paper discusses the social history of Arab communities in Java during the enormous transformations brought about by nineteenth century Dutch imperialism. In less than one hundred years, colonial rule put in place racialized policies and ideas that had lasting implications. These introductions, nevertheless, did not eliminate longstanding forms of cultural diversity. The advance of 'race' with nineteenth century European imperialism is well known. Its substantive implications for social history, especially in the case of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, has been less widely studied. Dutch colonialists believed Islam and Arabs to be inseparable, and the mix a potential threat to their rule. They were watchful of Arab communities as a result. Who and what constituted 'Arab' was nevertheless always contested.