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Banishment and Belonging


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Diasporic crossing: Malay writing in nineteenth-century Ceylon; 3. Remembering Java; 4. 'Ceyloned': the view from the other shore; 5. Exilic journeys in time, place and writing; 6. Nabi Adam: the paradigmatic exile; 7. Banishment and inter-religious encounters: a Malay Ramayana; 8. Ceylon Malays: military and literary paths; 9. Malay writing in Ceylon: roots and routes; Glossary.

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A ground-breaking exploration of exile and diaspora as they relate to place, language, religious tradition, literature and the imagination.

About the Author

Ronit Ricci is Sternberg-Tamir Chair in Comparative Cultures at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Associate Professor of Asian Studies at Australian National University. She is the author of the multiple-prize-winning Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arab Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia (2011).


'Challenging the boundaries that too often divide area studies, Ronit Ricci's linguistic skills and path-breaking research historicize the Malay presence in contemporary Sri Lanka. Juxtaposing the literary and imaginative world of travelling heroes and religious figures with the lives of individuals ranging from Java's princely exiles and their descendants to Malay soldiers in colonial armies, Banishment and Belonging is a true tour de force.' Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawai'i
'Banishment and Belonging layers multiple spatial and temporal imaginings and weaves them together to show how Sri Lanka became a significant geography for Malays, and how they made sense of Sri Lanka as at once a place of arrival and of colonial exile. This is Indian Ocean and global history at its best. An endlessly absorbing read.' Francesca Orsini, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
'Fascinated by questions of language and belonging, Ronit Ricci's new book on the island world now known as Sri Lanka, shows how 'exile and return' took many forms in the company and colonial worlds of British South Asia and Dutch Southeast Asia. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking new work by a very distinguished scholar.' Laurie J. Sears, Walker Family Endowed Professor, University of Washington
'Ronit Ricci has had to work, in her own words, with 'fragments', 'echoes', and 'imagination' to compose this fascinating history of longing and belonging in colonial Asia. It is a story based in formidable scholarship, yet told with grace and empathy.' Jonathan Spencer, Regius Professor of South Asian Language, Culture and Society, University of Edinburgh
'Banishment and Belonging is a superb feat of scholarship ... This is Ricci's great contribution. She brings empathy and acute insight to her work and allows access not just to a past world rarely seen but also to enduring human efforts to respond to the trauma of displacement and disruption through literature and religion.' Greg Fealy, New Mandala
'Ricci's book is a compelling account, beautifully written and full of original insights.' Nira Wickramasinghe, Society and Culture in South Asia

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