“Gender & Logistics in Malay Polygamy”: Upcoming Colloquium at CSEAS

On Thursday the 26th of May, I will be presenting a paper entitled “Gender & Logistics in Malay Polygamy: A Revolution of Rights, Roles & Responsibilities” at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University, Japan. The talk will take place on site, and is open to the public. All are welcome.

Date: Thursday, 26 May 2022, 13:00h – 14:30h

Venue: Middle-sized Meeting Room, 3F, Inamori Foundation Building, Kyoto University

Link to the event: https://kyoto.cseas.kyoto-u.ac.jp/event/20220526/

New Appointment: JSPS Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University

I am thrilled to announce I have just begun my two-year appointment as a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), hosted by the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University.

At CSEAS, I will be collaborating with Professor Yoko Hayami on a research project entitled “The Familial and the Supernatural: Crafting Kinship through Sorcery in Contemporary Malaysia”. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork I have conducted in Malaysia since 2014, this research will investigate how love magic and various kinds of sorcery feature in the everyday experience of Malay familial life, and in the way love, affections, and resources circulate within and between polygamous families. It will also build on the foundations of my past research on Halal Intimacy.

I will be updating the development of this research on this website from time to time. I also warmly welcome inquiries and opportunities for collaboration from researchers working on similar issues relating to kinship, marriage, intimacy, and sorcery.

If you are interested in learning more about my research or share similar research interests, please refer to my publications list, or feel free to drop me a line.

New Publication in Archipel

My most recent peer-reviewed article, “Chasing Fate & Fortune in the Borderland: Cross-Border Marriage and Migration at the Malaysian-Thai Frontier”, has just been published in the Southeast Asian studies journal Archipel. In this article, I demonstrate how female migrants from Southern Thailand migrate to Malaysia in search of fortune in two senses of the word: rezeki (economic sustenance) and jodoh (fated match; one’s destined spouse). This study contributes to a wider discussion on the feminization of migration, while also subverting the traditional narrative of migrant women as victims of precarity.

This paper was written as part of my research project as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre Asie du Sud-Est (Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, CASE), at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, EHESS), in 2020-2021. I am most grateful for colleagues at CASE for their guidance in the preparation and publication of this article.

This article is available on open access through this link, where you can also download it as a PDF. If you are having technical errors accessing the article, please get in touch.

“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.