The book probes and examines traditional sources of royal power and control, as well as indigenous socio-political systems in the Malay world. It is focused on the north-western Malaysian Sultanate of Kedah which is acknowledged as the oldest unbroken independent kingship line in the ‘Malay and Islamic world’ with 1,000 years of history. Little scholarly attention has been paid to its pre-modern history, society, religion, system of government and unique geographic situation, potentially controlling both land and sea lines of communication into the remainder of Southeast Asia. It will thus provide the first comprehensive treatment in English, or other languages, on Kedah’s pre-modern and nineteenth century historiography and can provide a foundation for comparative studies of the various Malay states which is presently lacking. The proposed book also sheds much needed light on a range of important topics in Malay history including: Kedah and the northern Melaka Straits history, colonial expansion and rivalry, Southeast Asian history and politics, interregional migration and the influence of the sea peoples or orang laut, traditional Malay socio-political and economic life, Islamic influences and the course of Thai-Malay relations. The book attempts to offer a new understanding, not only of Kedah, but of the political and cultural development of the entire Malay world and of its relationships with the broader forces in both its continental and maritime settings. It argues that Kedah does not seem to follow, and in fact, often seems to contradict what has been commonly been accepted as the “typical model” of the traditional Malay state. Thus it concludes that the ruling dynasty has historically exploited a wide range of unique environmental conditions, local traditions, global spiritual trends and economic forces to preserve and strengthen its political position.
Published: RowmanLittlefield on
ISBN: 9780739168431
List price: $84.99
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