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Reading: Being Modern, Malay, and Muslim in the Movies


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Being Modern, Malay, and Muslim in the Movies


Gordon Thomas Gray

Berea College, US
About Gordon
Gordon Gray is Assistant Professor of Media and Culture at Berea College, where he teaches classes on film production, anthropology, Asian Studies, and General Education. His research interests include urbanism, visual culture and media, Islam, kinship, and gender - with an area specialization in history and anthropology of Southeast Asia.
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Serious analyses of media, especially popular media, and how those media are being negotiated can provide insight into broader social and political change. Media provide us with an arena where global meta-forces - globalization, politics, economics, etc. - intersect with daily life. Analyzing wider social and political-economic issues in Malaysian politics using Malay language cinema as a media example illustrates this point. In this paper the role of Malay language cinema as being both a catalyst for and receiver of Malay lower middle class dissatisfactions with authority, especially in terms of the Malaysian government’s attempts at religious authority, bring new insights into the intersection between media, politics, religion, and society in Malaysia.

How to Cite: Gray, G.T., 2015. Being Modern, Malay, and Muslim in the Movies. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 22(2), pp.49–58. DOI:
Published on 16 Jul 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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