Imperial Alchemy: Nationalism and Political Identity in Southeast Asia

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-12-21
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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The mid-twentieth century marked one of the greatest watersheds of Asian history, when a range of imperial constructs were declared to be nation-states, either by revolution or decolonisation. Nationalism was the great alchemist, turning the base metal of empire into the gold of nations. To achieve such a transformation from the immense diversity of these Asian empires required a different set of forces from those that Europeans had needed in their transitions from multi-ethnic empires to culturally homogeneous nations. In this book Anthony Reid explores the mysterious alchemy by which new political identities have been formed. Taking Southeast Asia as his example, Reid tests contemporary theory about the relation between modernity, nationalism, and ethnic identity. Grappling with concepts emanating from a very different European experience of nationalism, Reid develops his own typology to better fit the formation of political identities such as the Indonesian, Malay, Chinese, Acehnese, Batak and Kadazan.

Table of Contents

List of mapsp. vi
List of figuresp. vii
List of tablesp. viii
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xi
Nationalism and Asiap. 1
Understanding Southeast Asian nationalismsp. 25
Chinese as a Southeast Asian 'other'p. 49
Malay (Melayu) and its descendants: multiple meanings of a porous categoryp. 81
Aceh: memories of monarchyp. 115
Sumatran Bataks: from statelessness to Indonesian diasporap. 145
Lateforming ethnie in Malaysia: Kadazan or Dusunp. 187
Imperial alchemy-revolutionary dreamsp. 210
Glossaryp. 219
Referencesp. 221
Indexp. 238
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