William Marsden and Patterns of British Scholarship in the Malay Peninsula

Diana Carroll

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    William Marsden's 1796 article on Hindu traces in the Malay world initially led to the British scholar administrators viewing the Malays almost solely through a Hindu-Buddhist lens. This was encouraged by the antiquarian precedents set by the British orientalist scholars in India. In 19th-century Malay studies, the primitive was represented by the Negrito and pagan Malayo-Polynesian tribes and the civilised by ancient Hindu-Buddhist elements of Malay culture. James Low is an exemplar of this period. The burgeoning folklore movement brought change in the 1870s. Although much play has been made on the British desire to gather knowledge to facilitate the machinery of government, the desire to collect information 'before it was too late' was the driver in the second half of the 19th century. Largely under the leadership of William Maxwell, the focus of scholarly activity broadened from court to kampung and eventually led to a re-evaluation of Malay culture and identity by his successors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)269-294
    JournalIndonesia and the Malay World
    Issue number114
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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