Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center Stanford University


Muslim Politics and Popular Culture in Malaysia: PAS, Hudud, and Rock 'n' Roll  
SEAF Seminar

Date and Time
February 26, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Open to the public
RSVP required by 5PM February 25

Dominik Müller - Visiting Scholar APARC at Stanford University

Malaysia’s 13th general election is imminent and the opposition coalition (Pakatan Rakyat) is fragile. Inside the coalition, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) and the secularist Democratic Action Party have little in common. PAS itself is split along generational lines and ideologically divided between reform-oriented pragmatists and hard-line Islamists. The youth wing of PAS is increasingly vocal in accusing the party of having abandoned key principles in the “Islamic struggle.” Based on anthropological fieldwork, Dominik Müller will review how PAS Youth members are contesting the party’s future in both political and cultural terms.

In Muslim politics in Malaysia, does increasing recourse to popular culture augur an incipient “post-Islamist” turn? Young Muslim activists in PAS are using YouTube and Facebook, commercial brands, celebrity personalities, and rock music to disseminate their call to “purify the struggle” for an Islamic state or “caliphate.” Do these “secular” media dilute if not drown out the politico-religious message? Or, given their popular appeal, do they render it all the more convincing? And with what implications for Islam and politics—in Malaysia and, analogously, elsewhere in the Muslim world?

Dominik Müller obtained his doctorate summa cum laude in 2012 from Frankfurt University, where he works as a research associate in the Department of Anthropology. His dissertation on Islam, politics, and youth in Malaysia will be published in 2013. His research project at Stanford, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), examines patterns of socio-legal change in the Malay world.

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room
Encina Hall, 3rd floor, east wing
616 Serra St.
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305
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FSI Contact
Lisa Lee

Topics: Culture | Islam | Germany | Malaysia