In this chapter, Anthony Milner seeks to define the contribution of Shaharil Talib to the study of pre-modern Malay political systems. His essay outlines the extraordinary range of analytical approaches employed over the years up to Shaharilâ€™s time. Beginning with the work of Thomas Stamford Raffles and John Crawfurd two centuries ago, then considering such later scholar-officials as Hugh Clifford and Richard Winstedt, and finally noting the influence of different anthropological and Marxist-influenced perspectives developed in the post-colonial period, the chapter then examines the major study on Terengganu, which Shaharil published. Milnerâ€™s main focus is on the significant shifts and contests in the historiography of pre-colonial Malay societies, seeking to show in particular where Shaharilâ€™s endeavours can be appropriately positioned. In Milnerâ€™s view, Shaharil was innovatory in adopting a diachronic approachâ€”portraying the Malay states as societies in motion, and focusing on elite strategies, which Shaharil sees as driven by a quest for wealth. Milner notes that Shaharilâ€™s conclusions, and the interpretive framework which he employed, have provoked scholarly debateâ€”and this, Milner says, underlines the fact that Shaharil produced a classic work in the field of Malay history.
|Title of host publication||Contesting Malaysia's Integration into the World Economy|
|Editors||Rajaj Rasiah; Azirah Hashim; jatswan S. Sidhu|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|