Cham Muslims of the Mekong Delta

Place and Mobility in the Cosmopolitan Periphery

by Philip Taylor

Available from NIAS Press in Europe
ISBN Paperback: 978 87 7694 009 6, £16.99 ()

This fascinating account of the vigorous survival of an Islamic community in the strife-torn borderlands of the lower Mekong delta, and of its creative accommodation to the modernizing reforms of the Vietnamese government, shows how Islam provides a unifying focus for Cham Muslims in their diversely constituted rural settlements.

This fascinating account of the vigorous survival of an Islamic community in the strife-torn borderlands of the lower Mekong delta, and of its creative accommodation to the modernizing reforms of the Vietnamese government, shows how Islam provides a unifying focus for Cham Muslims in their diversely constituted rural settlements. Full of Cham Muslim people’s stories and voices, this highly readable ethnographic study reverberates with the texture of everyday life in rural Southeast Asia. Its original insights into the sources of religious and ethnic differentiation in the Mekong delta will enrich the comparative study of culturally pluralist societies, while its contributions to the study of Islam, cosmopolitanism, trade, rural development and resistance, as well as to our understanding of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Malay diaspora, are equally new and important.

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Philip Taylor is Senior Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the Australian National University.

Philip Taylor is Senior Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the Australian National University.

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by Erik Harms, Dept. of Anthropology, Yale University
From journal:
Anthropological Forum, 20 (2), July 2010

This bold, extremely necessary and clearly written book offers readers two things at once.  For academics interested in learning more about an understudied population in Vietnam, it offers a solid, in-depth ethnography of the Cham Muslims of the Mekong Delta, as well as an introduction to the specialised literature on the subject.

This bold, extremely necessary and clearly written book offers readers two things at once.  For academics interested in learning more about an understudied population in Vietnam, it offers a solid, in-depth ethnography of the Cham Muslims of the Mekong Delta, as well as an introduction to the specialised literature on the subject.

The book will be a welcome addition to the study of Cham Muslims, and to the developing literature on the multi-ethnic, religiously diverse regions of Vietnam’s south.  Its greatest impact, however, would surely come by making it required reading for anyone, Vietnamese or otherwise, involved in the purported development of the Mekong delta.

by Alexander Horstmann
From journal:
Anthropos 103.2008

[A] welcome study.

[A]n exemplary and lively exploration.

[A] welcome study.

[A]n exemplary and lively exploration.

by Amnuayvit Thitibordin
From journal:
Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 97

This book is strongly recommended for people who have an interest in Islamic movements in Southeast Asia (especially in the mainland area).  It should be recommended reading for academics and development agencies who work in the areas of ethnicity, economic development, religious issues, politics and anthropology.

This book is strongly recommended for people who have an interest in Islamic movements in Southeast Asia (especially in the mainland area).  It should be recommended reading for academics and development agencies who work in the areas of ethnicity, economic development, religious issues, politics and anthropology.

by William G. Clarence-Smith, School of Oriental and African Studies
From journal:
ASEASUK News 45, 2009

 Given the paucity of materials in English on the Cham people of mainland Southeast Asia, any new publication would be welcome. As this is an excellent book, it is doubly welcome. … The real strengths of this book lie in a deep and complex understanding of the fragmented societies of Vietnam’s far south.

 Given the paucity of materials in English on the Cham people of mainland Southeast Asia, any new publication would be welcome. As this is an excellent book, it is doubly welcome. … The real strengths of this book lie in a deep and complex understanding of the fragmented societies of Vietnam’s far south. … [I]t is much to be hoped that this fine book will stimulate more studies of the Cham, including those of the south-central highlands of Vietnam, who have retained much of the Hinduism that characterised them when they were one of the most powerful peoples of Southeast Asia.

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