Networks of travel and trade have often been viewed as central to understanding interactions among Muslims across South and Southeast Asia. In this paper I suggest that we consider language and literature as an additional type of network, one that provided a powerful site of contact and exchange facilitated by, and drawing on, citation. I draw on textual sources written in Javanese, Malay, and Tamil between the sixteenth and early twentieth centuries to argue that among Muslim communities in South and Southeast Asia, practices of reading, learning, translating, adapting, and transmitting contributed to the shaping of a cosmopolitan sphere that was both closely connected with the broader, universal Muslim community and rooted in local identities. I consider a series of 'citation sites' in an attempt to explore one among many modes of inter-Asian connections, highlighting how citations, simple or brief as they may often seem, are sites of shared memories, history, and narrative traditions and, in the case of Islamic literature, also sites of a common bond to a cosmopolitan and sanctified Arabic.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science