SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Narrating a history through genealogy and the lives of saints: the case of Arab migrants in Southeast Asia

Kazuhiro Arai, Keio University

Date: 30 January 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 30 January 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 4429

Type of Event: Seminar

This presentation takes up the problem of historical sources for the study of Arab migrants in Southeast Asia.  A considerable portion of their writing on the past, especially that of the descendants of the Prophet, consists of genealogies and biographies of saints from their own clan, the latter of which cannot immediately be taken as a reliable record of the past.  The presenter discusses how some groups of Arabs in Southeast Asia incorporated genealogy and the lives of saints into the history of the host society, especially Indonesia, and how we can understand their version of history.

Biographical Data:

Kazuhiro Arai is an associate professor at Keio University, Japan.  He has been doing research on Arab migrants from the South Arabian region of Hadramawt to Southeast Asia.  The theme of his dissertation is the history of the al-Attas family, one of the major Arab families originating from Hadramawt.  Recently, he is also interested in the commercialization of Islam in Southeast Asia in relation to the Arabs' self promotion in the media.

Organiser: Dr. Andrea Janku

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