MICHAEL FRANCIS LAFFAN, Islamic
Winds, SOAS/Routledge Curzon Studies on the Middle East (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003). Pp. 310. $75.00 cloth
|ROBERT W. HEFNER a1|
a1 Department of Anthropology, Boston University; e-mail: email@example.com
Although Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority society in the world, Western historiography has downplayed the role of Islamic actors and ideals in the development of the country's nationalism. Echoing earlier Dutch accounts, most historians present Indonesian nationalism as a product of the joint efforts of expatriate students in Holland and Dutch-educated elites in the East Indies. Both groups, the conventional narrative goes, promoted secular notions of ethnicity, language, and territory, at first creating regional ethno-nationalisms (Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, etc.) rather than an encompassing Indonesian form. Under the twin influence of Dutch schooling and colonial subjugation, the elite proponents of these ethno-nationalisms eventually fused their varied ambitions into a single nationalist project. Islam, however, never became more than a background accessory to the larger whole.