Publications & Seminars



Halal Intimacy: Love, Marriage, and Polygyny in Contemporary Malaysia, Berghahn Books. [Under contract; manuscript in preparation]

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

2020: “Intimacy Under Surveillance: Illicit Sexuality, Moral Policing, and the State in Contemporary Malaysia”Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East & the Islamic World, Special Issue on Gender & Judging, edited by Monika Lindbekk & Susanne Dahlgren, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 325-356.

Forthcoming: “Nikah Express: Malay Polygyny & Marriage-Making at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, Asian Studies Review.

Book Chapter

2018: “The Unhappy Polygamist: Desire & (Dis)satisfaction in Malay Polygamy”, in Friendship and Happiness: A Global Perspective, eds. T. Delaney & T. Madigan, Vernon Press, Wilmington, pp. 163-169.


2017: Halal Intimacy: Love, Marriage & Polygamy in Contemporary Malaysia, PhD Thesis in Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge.

2012: One Man, Many Wives: Polygamy in Contemporary Malaysia as a Patriarchal Institution, BA (Honours) Thesis in Anthropology, University of Western Australia.

Online Publications

“Polygamy in a Time of Pandemic: Hard Times Ahead”, Canopy Forum, Center for the Study of Law & Religion, Emory University, published 30 June 2020.

“The Changing Face of Polygamy in Contemporary Malaysia”, Woolf Institute Blog, published 13 February 2019.

General Publications

2010: “One Man, Many Wives: Digging Out Polygamy’s Skeletons from the Closet”, The Peacock, March Edition, University of Western Australia Arts Union, Perth.

2009: “Swing, Swing”, in It’s About Time: Young Writers’ Anthology, MPH Bookstores Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur, pp. 34-40.

Seminars & Workshops

Invited Seminar Presentations


“Intimacy on the Move: Cross-Border Marriage & Migration at the Malaysian-Thai Frontier”, Seminaire Général du CASE, Centre Asie du Sud-Est, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 17 December 2020.

“Division of Inheritance & Matrimonial Assets in Malay Polygyny”, Program on Law on Society in the Muslim World, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, 16 April 2020 [postponed due to Covid-19].

“Marrying Married Men: Polygyny in Law & Practice in Contemporary Malaysia”, Boston University, 10 April 2020 [delivered in recorded video format due to Covid-19].

“Calculated Love: Shari’ah Legal Interventions in Economic Disputes in Malay Polygyny”, Ethnographic Forum for the Study of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, 1 April 2020 [postponed due to Covid-19].

“Intimacy Under Surveillance: Moral Policing & the State in Contemporary Malaysia”, Program in Islamic Law, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, 4 March 2020.

“Between Desire & Destiny: Jodoh & Decision-Making in Malay Polygyny”, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, 10 January 2020.


“The Death of a Polygamist & its Aftermath in a Malaysian Shariah Court”, Department of Social Anthropology Senior Seminar, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 1 March 2019.

“Property Division Within Malay Polygamy in Malaysian Shariah Courts”, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, 4 February 2019.

“Polygamy for the Masses: Cross-Border Marriage, the Islamic Bureaucracy, and the State in Contemporary Malaysia”, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, 18 January 2019.


“Out of the Darkness and Into the Light: Islam & Liberalism Under “New Malaysia””, in “Malaysia in Transition: Towards A “Brighter Future”?” Workshop, The Oriental Institute of Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, 31 October 2018.

Nikah Express: Polygyny & Marriage-Making at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian & Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden, 25 October 2018.

“24 Hours in Thailand: Express Marriages at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, 23 October 2018.


“Permission to Love (Again): Malay Polygamous Marriages at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, Grad Talk, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, 13 March 2017.

Conference & Workshop Papers


“Female Power & Supernatural Politics in Malay Polygamy”, in “Politics & the Supernatural in Asia” Workshop, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, 11 October.

“Of Wives & Witches: Sorcery in Malay Polygyny”, 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, 16-19 July.

“Risky Romance: Illicit Intimacy & Moral Policing in Contemporary Malaysia”, 9th Religion in Society Conference, Religion in Society Research Network, Granada, 25-26 April. [Also a recipient of the Emerging Scholar Award at this conference.]

“Halalizing the Haram: Illicit Intimacy in an Islamized State in Contemporary Malaysia”, in “Bureaucratizing Diversity in Muslim Southeast Asia & Beyond” Workshop, Harvard Law School Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law & Social Change, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, 4-5 April.

“Obedient Wives & Rebellious Citizens: Dismantling Gender Equality Through Islamic Fundamentalism in Malaysia”, in Strictly Observant Religion, Gender, and the State Conference, Woolf Institute, Cambridge, 25-26 March.


“Loose Laws & Questionable Morals: Moral Policing & Eloped Marriages at the Malaysian-Thai Border”, in “Criminalizing & Emancipatory Trends in Family Law in Indonesia & Other Muslim-Majority Countries” Workshop, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian & Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden, 15-16 November.

“Marrying Married Men: Polygyny & Changing Conjugal Aspirations of Modern Malay Women”, in “Marriage & Modernity in Comparative Perspective” Workshop, University of Hamburg, 27 October.

“The Human Rights of Women in Marriage”, Global Human Rights Teach-Out, organized by Leiden University & Coursera, Leiden & The Hague, 17-20 October.

“There and Back Again: Mobility & Multilocality in Malay Polygamy”, Malaysia-Singapore Research Conference, University of Cambridge, 07 April.


“Intimate Within Limits: Cross-Border Marriage & the State in Contemporary Malaysia”, AAS/ASA/ASAANZ Annual Conference, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, 14 December.

“The Unhappy Polygamist: Desire & (Dis)satisfaction in Malay Polygamy”, Pandisciplinary Network on Friendship & Happiness Conference, Waterford, 13 June.


“Punishing the Passionate: Intimacy Under Surveillance & Cross-Border Marriage in Contemporary Malaysia”, EASA Biennial Conference, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, 22 July.

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