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).
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.
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.