Cultural Attraction and Regional Identity: "Arab" Film, Malay Pop, and Muslim Politics in Southeast Asia



Marshall Clark,

Date and Time

April 1, 2010 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM March 31.


Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room

Southeast Asian identity is thought to be far more elite-political than mass-cultural in nature. Is this conventional wisdom true?  Audiovisual flows of popular culture across national borders have proliferated.  Malaysia, for example, is flooded with Indonesian music and films, while there are a number of Malaysian actors in the Indonesian TV industry.  Specifically Muslim culture has a growing presence in both countries’ soap operas, novels, songs, and cinema.  In their films, Malaysian directors Yasmin Ahmad and Hatta Azad Khan reflect on notions of Islamic primacy and Malay supremacy in their country, while Arabo-Muslim-centered cinema draws audiences in Indonesia.  These themes are associated in both countries with the spread of Islamic ethics, the implementation of Islamic laws, and the associated jockeying of Islamist groups for greater political leverage.  Dr. Clark will use this evidence to highlight and explore the intersection of culture and politics in Southeast Asian regionalism—a dynamic, participatory, on-the-ground process that does not depend on what ASEAN diplomats say or do.

Marshall Clark is a lecturer in Indonesian studies in the School of International and Political Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.  Future and recent publications include Maskulinitas: Culture, Gender and Politics in Indonesia (forthcoming in 2010); a monograph on Indonesian literature, Wayang Mbeling (in Indonesian, 2008); and a chapter on Indonesian cinema in Popular Culture in Indonesia (2008).  Before moving to Deakin, he taught at the University of Tasmania.  His doctorate in Southeast Asian studies is from the Australian National University.  At Stanford in Spring 2010 he will work on a joint research project with Dr. Juliet Pietsch on “Indonesia-Malaysia Relations: Culture, Politics and Regionalism in Southeast Asia.”

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