[skip to content]

Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

Traditional Malay Literature: History, Politics and Religion in Texts and Film

Course Code:
155901315
Status:
Course Not Running 2014/2015
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 3 of 4 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1
This course provides an introduction to the texts in traditional Malay containing information on history, political doctrines and religion of the Malay world, the place which these texts occupy in the literary system of the 16th-19th century and their transformation in modern film versions. It will further develop skills in reading traditional Malay texts, both poetry and prose. It will further develop awareness and comprehension of the specific features of traditional Malay language and its role in the formation of modern Indonesian language; to gain understanding of the content and functions of historical and religious texts, the main features of their structure and poetics, as well as reasons and the character of their reshaping in films. This course aims to develop an understanding of the main differences between traditional and modern literature and performing arts. Students will continue to develop written and oral skills of presentation. In particular to learn to use examples from primary textual and cinematic sources to backup arguments and hypotheses. This course will develop experience and knowledge of the various Indonesian/Malay bibliographic and other library resources.

Prerequisites

Traditional Malay literature: adventure romances in texts and film or any other 2nd year literature course

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this course a student should be able to demonstrate . . . 
  • an understanding of introductory texts in traditional Malay containing information on history, political doctrines and religion of the Malay world, the place which these texts occupy in the literary system of the 16th-19th century and their transformation in modern film versions. 
  • further development of skills in reading traditional Malay texts, both poetry and prose. 
  • further development of awareness and comprehension of the specific features of traditional Malay language and its role in the formation of modern Indonesian language;
  • an understanding of the content and functions of historical and religious texts, the main features of their structure and poetics, as well as reasons and the character of their reshaping in films. 
  • an understanding of the main differences between traditional and modern literature and performing arts. 
  • continued development of written and oral skills of presentation in particular learning to use examples from primary textual and cinematic sources to backup arguments and hypotheses. 
  • the development of experience and knowledge of the various Indonesian/Malay bibliographic and other library resources.

Workload

A total of 11 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

Reading of excerpts from historical and religious texts in traditional Malay of the 16th-19th century (excerpts from works both in prose and verse) and supplementary texts in English translation, as well as seeing cinematic versions of some of these works. Studying the salient features and the ideology of Malay historical and religious texts and films based on the same or similar subjects. The course will consist of readings from a number of representative texts (e.g. Sejarah Melayu, Hikayat Patani, works by Hamzah Fansuri, Syair Perahu). In lectures and seminars such issues as the origin of historical chronicles and religious treatises, their scholarly and literary features, doctrines of ideal kingship and state, the king's relationship with his subjects, historical texts as sources on history, culture and politics, the development of Islam and Sufism in the Malay world will be analysed and discussed. The attitudes towards these issues in and their significance for modern Malaysia and Indonesia will be considered through a comparison of some texts with their contemporary representations and reconsiderations in films.

Method of assessment

One two hour written examination taken in May/June (60%); one 3,000 word essay to be submitted on day 1, week 1, of the following term (40%).

Suggested reading

A comprehensive reading list for this course will be supplied by the convenor at the beginning of the course.