In this episode, Siobhan talks with Nurfadzilah Yahaya about her book Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia (Cornell University Press, 2020). She is Assistant Professor of History at the National University of Singapore where she specializes in the history of the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, Islamic law, and mobilities. Her second book project will be on the history of land reclamation in the British Empire.
This wide-ranging, geographically ambitious book tells the story of the Arab diaspora within the context of British and Dutch colonialism, unpacking the community's ambiguous embrace of European colonial authority in Southeast Asia. In Fluid Jurisdictions, Nurfadzilah Yahaya looks at colonial legal infrastructure and discusses how it impacted, and was impacted by, Islam and ethnicity. But more important, she follows the actors who used this framework to advance their particular interests.