The Discursive Construction of Southeast Asia in 19th-Century Colonial-Capitalist Discourse

Farish A. Noor

The Discursive Construction of Southeast Asia in 19th-Century Colonial-Capitalist Discourse

Farish A. Noor

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

304 pages | 13 halftones | 6 x 9 1/4 | © 2016
Cloth $130.00 ISBN: 9789089648846 Published February 2017 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
The nations of Southeast Asia today are rapidly integrating economically and politically, but that integration is also counterbalanced by forces ranging from hypernationalism to disputes over cultural ownership throughout the region. Those forces, Farish A. Noor argues in this book, have their roots in the region’s failure to come to a critical understanding of how current national and cultural identities in the region came about. To remedy that, Noor offers a close account of the construction of Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century by the forces of capitalism and imperialism, and he shows how that construct remains a potent aspect of political, economic, and cultural disputes today.
1. Introduction
Booking Southeast Asia: The History of an Idea
1.a A Book about Books, and Where to Find Southeast Asia

2. Booking Southeast Asia: And So It Begins, with a Nightmare
2.a Thomas de Quincey and the Malay from an Antique Land
2.b From Boemus to Theodorus de Bry and Sir Walter Raleigh: The East Indies in the Kingdom of God
2.c According to the Logic of the Modern Company: The Ordering of the East Indies by Johan Nieuhof
2.d From Nightmare to Knowledge: Coming to Know Southeast Asia

3. The New Language-Game of Modern Colonial Capitalism
3.a Racialised Colonial-Capitalism as the New Language-Game of the Nineteenth Century
3.b Headhunters, Cannibals and Pirates: Othering Southeast Asia

4. Raffles’ Java as Museum
4.a Knowing Java and Preserving Java: Thomas Stamford Raffles’ Great Venture
4.b True after the fact: Raffles’ History of Java as a Justification for British Expansionism
4.c Raffles’ History as a Catalogue of Dutch Errors
4.d From Conqueror to Curator: Raffles’ Java as a Museum of the Javanese
4.e You’ve Been Mapped: Raffles’ Map of Java as the Victory of Modernity
4.f The Conquest of Java’s Land and History: Raffles’ History as a Work of Epistemic Arrest
4.g Southeast Asia as the Stage for Self-Reinvention: The Legacy of Raffles’ History of Java

5. Dressing the Cannibal: John Anderson’ Sumatra as Market
5.a Pleasing the Company: John Anderson’s Search for Sumatran Clients
5.b A-Data-Mining We Will Go: John Anderson Embarks on His Fact-Finding Mission to Sumatra
5.c Carefully Does It: Anderson’s Careful Research on Sumatra
5.d Sumatra Surveyed: The Perceptible Gaze of the Invisible John Anderson
5.e John Anderson and the Reconfiguration of Sumatra as a Market

6. Brooke, Keppel, Mundy and Marryat’s Borneo as “The Den of Pirates”
6.a Colonialism and the Necessity of the Pirate
6.b Enter the Privateer: James Brooke Goes A-Hunting for a Kingdom to Call His Own
6.c Enter the Pirate: The Native Pirate as the Constitutive Other to Western Colonialism
6.d The ‘Pirate Menace’ Realised: The Instrumentalisation of the Borneo Pirate in the Writings of Keppel, Mundy and Marryat
6.f Knowing Borneo, Knowing the Pirate: Confirmation Bias and Closing the Argument in the Writings of Keppel, Mundy and Marryat

7. Crawfurd’s Burma as the Torpid ‘Land of Tyranny’
7.a Meddling with Burma: John Crawfurd and the East India Company’s ‘War on Tyranny’
7.b Snodgrass Sets the Tone: Framing Burma as Both a Threat and a Prize
7.c Weighed Down by the Maudlin Tyrant: Crawfurd’s Static Burma
7.d Now on to the Real Intelligence: Crawfurd’s Data-Gathering Mission
7.e Locating Tyranny: Crawfurd’s Mapping of Burma
7.f From Land of Tyranny to Theatre of the Grotesque
7.g And Thus Was Burma Known: Tyrants, Freaks and the Epistemic Arrest of Burma

8. Bricolage, Power and How a Region Was Discursively Constructed
8.a Books in the Era of Gunboat Epistemology
8.b Against the Coloniser’s Pen: The Internal Critique of Colonial-Capitalism
8.c ‘And Others Become Obsolete and Forgotten’: The Demise of the Language-Game of Racialised Colonial-Capitalism
8.d Conclusion: The Power behind the Idea of Southeast Asia

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E


Review Quotes
Rachel Harrison, University of London
“A truly excellent work, both insightful and highly original—a very rare text indeed.”
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