Dynamics of Identity: Empires, States & Groups

Philippines Conference Room
  • Joel Kahn

This series of talks explore a number of issues which have arisen from a study of ethnogenesis, identity formation, state building, religious reform, and socio-economic "modernization" in selected regions of insular and peninsular Southeast Asia in the (late) modern period (late 19th century to the present).Clearly, none of these broad thematic areas can be adequately studied on its own.

The second is this series addresses the formation of group identities in Southeast Asia and their implication in modern processes of state formation, with a particular focus on the category ‘Malay’. In looking at the making of modern Malay-ness he will also address three areas of recent debate: firstly, over the nature and distinctiveness of so-called cultural identities in the modern period; secondly, over the (continuing) role of empire in the shaping of modern identities; and, thirdly, over the impact of cultural and religious pluralism on Southeast Asian polities.

Among Joel S. Kahn’s many books are Other Malays (2006), Modernity and Exclusion (2001), Southeast Asian Identities (ed., 1998), Culture, Multiculture, Postculture (1995), and Constituting the Minangkabau (1993). His other writings include State, Region, and the Politics of Recognition (forthcoming in National Integration and Regionalism in Indonesia and Malaysia). He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and has held appointments at Monash University and University College London, among other institutions. He serves or has served as an editorial board member of Critique of Anthropology, Current Anthropology, and Ethnicities. His doctorate is from the London School of Economics and Political Science.