Event — Webinar

From the factory floor to the page. Space and mobility in modern Malay print romance

An online interactive lecture by Alicia Izharuddin, Research Fellow at IIAS.

The Lecture

Drawing on ethnographic material, this presentation considers the spaces and places that foster the production, consumption, and dissemination of modern Malay print romance, a popular literary sub-genre in Malaysia with connective roots to social and anti-colonial consciousness.

What is the significance of place and space in the print culture of Malay romance? Alicia Izharuddin's presentation demonstrates how print romance is made possible by the relations of production and the production of space across interlocking scales – the local, national, and global. It considers the scalar-spatial transition from the factory floor to the page by working-class Malay women who, as mobile subjects, are mobilised by state-sponsored affirmative action, neoliberalism and the global manufacturing industry.

Since the 1970s, Malaysia has been the site of global electronics manufacturing performed by generations of young factory workers who redefined modern gender, sexuality, and intimacy in Malay society. Decades later, the same places of global manufacturing have been reinvented as sites of education, social mobility and Islamic middle-class aspiration for women. They have also become places and spaces for the production and consumption of print romance. In this brief presentation, Alicia Izharuddin discusses the role of place and space in the production of intimacy, arguing that mobility is a key category in understanding the social significance of modern print romance.

The Speaker

Alicia Izharuddin is a sociologist of gender and religion currently based at Leiden University. She has published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, CyberOrient, Gender, Place, and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, among several other peer-reviewed journals. She is finishing her book on the print culture of Malay romance and the formation of affective Muslim publics in Malaysia.