Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism (Hardback)Jeffrey Hadler (author)
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Muslims and Matriarchs is a history of an unusual, probably heretical, and ultimately resilient cultural system. The Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra, Indonesia, is well known as the world's largest matrilineal culture; Minangkabau people are also Muslim and famous for their piety. In this book, Jeffrey Hadler examines the changing ideas of home and family in Minangkabau from the late eighteenth century to the 1930s.
Minangkabau has experienced a sustained and sometimes violent debate between Muslim reformists and preservers of indigenous culture. During a protracted and bloody civil war of the early nineteenth century, neo-Wahhabi reformists sought to replace the matriarchate with a society modeled on that of the Prophet Muhammad. In capitulating, the reformists formulated an uneasy truce that sought to find a balance between Islamic law and local custom. With the incorporation of highland West Sumatra into the Dutch empire in the aftermath of this war, the colonial state entered an ongoing conversation. These existing tensions between colonial ideas of progress, Islamic reformism, and local custom ultimately strengthened the matriarchate.
The ferment generated by the trinity of oppositions created social conditions that account for the disproportionately large number of Minangkabau leaders in Indonesian politics across the twentieth century. The endurance of the matriarchate is testimony to the fortitude of local tradition, the unexpected flexibility of reformist Islam, and the ultimate weakness of colonialism. Muslims and Matriarchs is particularly timely in that it describes a society that experienced a neo-Wahhabi jihad and an extended period of Western occupation but remained intellectually and theologically flexible and diverse.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 232
Weight: 510 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
"Both elegantly written and meticulously researched, Muslims and Matriarchs presents a rich and compelling political history of a fascinating society as it negotiates the dynamics of Islamic reform, Dutch colonialism, and Indonesian nationalism. Jeffrey Hadler guides readers through nearly two centuries of complex discourses bearing on houses, families, women, and men-as well as ritual, piety, education and authority-that are variously Minangkabau, Islamic, and European. The result is an extremely valuable and eminently rewarding addition to our knowledge of the dynamics of cultural transformation and resilience in Southeast Asia and beyond."-Michael G. Peletz, Emory University
"For well over a hundred years, the Minangkabau region of Sumatra, distinguished both by its matrilineal society and its contribution to the growth of nationalism, has attracted attention from scholars of Indonesia. Jeffrey Hadler draws upon several caches of unused sources, including handwritten essays by young educated Minangkabau, to provide greater historical depth to our understanding of the relationship between culture, region, and nation in modern Indonesia. In so doing, he places new information within a refreshing and original framework."-Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawai'i
"Muslims and Matriarchs is deeply and creatively researched, well written, and tells a complex story that is also a compelling argument. Jeffrey Hadler's scholarship is authoritative."-James Rush, Arizona State University
"The text can be seen as a dialogue with the divergent types of studies on Minangkabau written by foreign and local-born scholars as well as by Minangkabau literati. Hardly any important topic is left out and hardly any significant and related event is left untouched. Muslims and Matriarchs is one of the most thought-provoking books ever written on Minangkabau, and perhaps also on Indonesia as a whole. It is certainly one of the best written in the last two decades."-Taufik Abdullah