“Holding Marriage Hostage”: Webinar at Harvard Law School (18 February)

On Thursday, 18 February 2021, I will be presenting a Zoom webinar at Harvard Law School’s Program on Law & Society in the Muslim World, entitled “Holding Marriage Hostage: Male Guardianship in Muslim Women’s Marriage Application in Contemporary Malaysia”. The talk will be chaired by Professor Dominik Müller (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany).

Date: Thursday, 18 February 2021

Time: 12-1PM (EST, Boston) ; 5-6PM (GMT, London) ; 6-7PM (CET, Paris/Berlin) ; 1-2AM [19 Feb] (MYT, Kuala Lumpur).

The talk is open to the public — all welcome! To register, please click this link.

New Publication in Asian Studies Review

My peer-reviewed article, “Nikah Express: Malay Polygyny and Marriage-Making at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, has just been published in Asian Studies Review.

In this article, I show how bureaucratic restrictions to marriage in Malaysia compel many couples to elope to Southern Thailand. As a result, the Malaysian and Thai Islamic authorities must collaborate to streamline the marriage procedures in the Islamic Committees of Southern Thailand, to ensure that the eloped marriages contracted here are legally “translatable” and can be registered in Malaysian Syariah Courts. The article shows how state intervention in cross-border marriages carry detrimental consequences in allowing unhindered access to polygyny, and leaving many polygynous wives in precarious marriages that will likely end in divorce.

This article would be of interest to scholars and readers looking to know more about Malay marriage, intimacy, and polygyny, the transnational processes of bureaucratization of Islam in Southeast Asia, and how the two phenomena develop in tandem in surprising ways in this part of the world.

If you’re interested in reading the article, but don’t have institutional access to it, please write to me.

New Publication in Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East & the Islamic World

My peer-reviewed article, entitled “Intimacy Under Surveillance: Illicit Sexuality, Moral Policing, and the State in Contemporary Malaysia”, has just been published in Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World. Based on long-term observations in two Syariah Courts in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu), the article discusses the ways in which state religious authorities in Malaysia police and sanction pre-/extra-marital sexual intimacy among Muslims. It also examines the preventative measures the state enforces to ensure that intimacy remains within the bounds of matrimony.

If you’re interested in reading the article, but are unable to access it through your institution, please write to me.

Here’s a sneak peek of the article:

New Appointment: Chercheure Postdoctoral at Centre Asie du Sud-Est (CASE), École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS)

This fall, I will be relocating to Paris for a one-year appointment at the Centre Asie du Sud-Est (CASE), École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), starting from 1st October 2020.

At CASE, I will be working on a research project on Migrations & Intimité (Migrations & Intimacy), which will be an ethnographic exploration of cross-border marriages at the Malaysian-Thai frontier.

Read about my newest appointment on EHESS’s website here.

New Publication: “Polygamy in a Time of Pandemic: Hard Times Ahead”

New publication, “Polygamy in a Time of Pandemic: Hard Times Ahead”, published in Canopy Forum, the digital journal of the Center for the Study of Law & Religion at Emory University.

This article is a reflection of how Malay polygamous marriages might experience further economic and emotional strains in this uncertain climate. Read here.

“Creative State-Making”: Surprising Trajectories in Islam, Gender & Politics in Southeast Asia

Workshop hosted by the Collège d’Études Mondiales – Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme

Friday, 18 October 2019, 10:00h – 16:00h

Room BS1-28, at 54 Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France

[Full programme below]


Chair: Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux (Université de Rennes & CASE-EHESS)

10:00h – 10:15h: Morning coffee & introductory remarks

PANEL I: “Creative State-Making” in Southeast Asia

10:15h – 10:45h: Dominik Müller (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

“The Enabling Powers of Authoritarian Coercion: Transformative Appropriations of State- Islam in Brunei Darussalam”

10:45h – 11:15h: Nurul Huda Mohd. Razif (Harvard Law School & Cambridge University) 

“Intimate Escapes from the Law: State Abetments in Malay Cross-Border Marriages at the Malaysian-Thai Border”

11:15h – 11:30h: Coffee Break

11:30h – 12:00h: David Kloos (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian & Caribbean Studies)

“Women, Professional Expertise, and the Islamic State in Malaysia”

12:00h – 13:00h: Q & A 

13:00h – 14:00h: Lunch

PANEL II: Malaysia & Beyond

14:00h – 14:30h: Tomáš Petrů (Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences)

““Can We Afford This?” China as a Factor in Malaysia Baharu’s Politics”

14:30h – 15:00h: David Delfolie (Sciences Po Lille, IDHES-Paris 1 & Institut Pondok Perancis Kuala Lumpur)

When Malaysian Islam Meets Environmental Concerns: A New Domestic Trend to Reinforce the Strategic Positioning of the Country Within the Ummah and Beyond ? 

15:00h – 15:30h: Q & A, comments, closing remarks