Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia


Product Details

Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.75 inches | 1.22 pounds

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About the Author

Nurfadzilah Yahaya is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore. Follow her on Twitter @nfyahaya.


"In Fluid Jurisdictions, Nurfadzilah Yahaya masterfully shows the predicament of diasporic Arabs in the British Straits and Dutch Indies in the nineteenth and early twentieth century."

-- "HistPhil"

"She draws on material from multiple international archives to examine the interplay between colonial projections of order and their realities, Arab navigation of legally plural systems in Southeast Asia and beyond, and the fraught and deeply human struggles that played out between family, religious, contract, and commercial legal orders."

-- "Law & Society Review"

"[The book is] innovative [and] well-researched. Fluid Jurisdictions scrutinizes the Hadramī relations with other Muslims, their pursuit of capital accumulation, and their permanence in the region. [The book] tells a multifaceted story of a community that, in several ways, consented to colonial rule in order to improve their conditions within the system."

-- "Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia"

"One might consider Nurfadzilah Yahaya's Fluid Jurisdictions a new addition to the literature, but this would discount the active role that Yahaya has played in shaping the conversation from its outset. Although this is her first book, it is one that bears the imprint of her long engagement with the discussion on law in transregional spaces."

-- "Law and History Review"

"Fluid Jurisdictions by Nurfadzilah Yahaya begins to answer these questions through a rich, textured, and fascinating account of the Arab diaspora and its engagements with colonial and Islamic law. Through rigorous research, detailed historical analysis and animated storytelling, [the book] draws readers into the mobile and intimate legal worlds created by Arab merchants."

-- "Law & Social Inquiry"

"Fluid Jurisdictions has managed to cast a wide net over an ostensibly specific study on an elite diasporic community. This is a laudable accomplishment."

-- "Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society"

"[The] reviewers respond to Fluid Jurisdictions enthusiastically, remarking on its refreshing methodological approach, the richness of its multilingual archival source base, and the historical complexity that emerges from Yahaya's comparison of two distinct imperial spaces. Collectively, they highlight the relevance of the book across regional and disciplinary literatures"

-- "H-Diplo"