Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson
Humanities Center Director: Thomas Wilson

Francis Bradley

Assistant Professor of History, Department of Social Sciences and Critical Studies, Pratt Institute, New York

Translating Islam: The Interplay between Language and Religion in Southeast Asia

Thursday, February 9, 2012 • 4:10pm • Taylor Science Center 3024

In the nineteenth century, Malay Muslim scholars began translating a number of key Arabic texts that they disseminated into Southeast Asia via knowledge networks.  Many scholars also wrote their own commentaries on these texts or distilled treatises on a variety of issues ranging from Islamic law and belief to ritual practice and Sufism.  The results of this process were threefold: first, Southeast Asia was drawn into intellectual debates of the broader Muslim world; second, a textual tradition began to increasingly inform Islamic belief and practice in Southeast Asia on an unprecedented level, complementing or at times replacing the existing oral tradition; and finally, the  Malay language itself was transformed through an intense period of Arabicization and Islamization.  This lecture will analyze the genealogies and geographies of knowledge production and dissemination in the Indian Ocean world that linked not only Southeast Asia and the Middle East, but also knitted together diasporan populations within Southeast Asia, South Asia, and southern Africa.

Francis Bradley received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, with a dissertation entitled, The Social Dynamics of Islamic Revivalism in Southeast Asia: The Rise of the Patani School, 1785-1909.  His published work has appeared in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of the Siam Society, and a forthcoming volume, The Struggle for Patani’s Past: History Writing and the Conflict in Southern Thailand.  His book, Networks of Islamic Knowledge and Authority: The Patani Shaykhs in Mecca and Southeast Asia, 1785-1909, much of which was completed while working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Asian Studies program at Hamilton College, is currently under review.  He now teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

Sponsored by the Dean of Faculty and the Yordán Lecture Fund