This talk marks the end of a four year, British Library-funded project to find, survey and digitize Malay writing in Sri Lanka. The Malay community of Sri Lanka, descended from royal exiles from the Indonesian archipelago during Dutch rule, men recruited to imperial armies, servants, slaves and convicts, maintained a writing tradition that both shares much with the wider Indonesian-Malay world and also differs from it. The first part of the talk presents the research and its outcomes, i.e. methodological issues (how do you find old manuscripts and books across an island?) and a brief inventory of the range of texts found, from hikayat, to religious treatises, to poems and letters. The second part raises questions about the relevance of the findings for Malay Studies and Indonesian Studies, about paradigms of "center" and "periphery," and future research directions stemming fro this newly digitized archive.
Speaker: Dr Ronit Ricci
Ronit Ricci is Associate Professor in the School of Culture, History and Language at ANU and in the Department of Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research interests include islamic literary cultures in south India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, Javanese and Malay manuscript literatures, the history of exile in colonial Asia, and translation studies.