My review of Miriam Zeitzen’s book on elite Malay polygamy has just been published in the latest issue of the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. This book offers perhaps the first detailed account of Malay polygamy in monograph form, and would be of interest to scholars studying marriage, intimacy, and polygyny (a type of polygamy involving one husband and multiple wives).
If you are interested in reading the review, but do not have institutional access to it, please get in touch.
This article analyzes news reports of a child marriage scandal in 2018 involving a 41-year-old polygynous man who married an 11-year-old girl as his third wife in the small town of Sungai Golok, situated at the Malaysian-Thai border. I trace the divided political debates that ensued, with some federal-level Malaysian authorities calling for an increase in the minimum age for marriage girls in the Islamic family law enactments, while others arguing for the preservation of existing marriage laws allowing girls to be married at the age of 16 — or younger, with the permission of her wali (male guardian) and a Shari’ah (Islamic) judge. With this article, I hope to shed light on some of the political and legal challenges in implementing reforms in the Islamic family law enactments on marriage.
This paper is available on open access through this link. If you would like to discuss the article, or are experiencing trouble accessing the article, please get in touch.
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
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.
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 on “Migrations & Intimacy” 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.
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.