Penang at the Periphery

What is Wrong with the Historiography on Colonialism in Malaya? Penang at the Periphery” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2022.2032276) is authored by Wei Leng Loh, formerly of the Department of History at the University of Malaya.

The abstract for the article states:

That which is missing in the historiography on colonialism in Malaya deserves to be addressed. This article attempts to supplement current writing – including critical perspectives – in one area: it challenges the accepted view on the Straits port of Penang, 1786–1946. It is acknowledged that the British Empire included a diversity and variety of colonial experiences across geographical areas and peoples, meaning that a multitude of narratives is expected. Different areas within a colony-cum-nation-state can also testify to quite divergent experiences. A case study on a specific site in modern Malaysia may serve to facilitate a reconsideration of a conventional view of a marginal, subsidiary, or even subordinate colonial location when compared with rival centres considered more important by colonial authorities. The port of Singapore has been seen by many as the most prominent commercial hub in the eastern section of insular Southeast Asia in the 19th century. Penang is considered peripheral to Singapore. This article offers a reinterpretation of this perspective.

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