Assistant Professor, History Department, National University of Singapore
Member of Editorial Board, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Associate Member, Religion and Globalization Cluster, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
July 2015 – June 2016: Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
August 2012 – June 2015: Mark Steinberg Weil Early Career Fellow in Islamic Studies in Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA
November 2012 – Ph.D, History, Princeton University
September 2008 – Master of Arts, Princeton University
August 2006 – Master of Arts, National University of Singapore
July 2003 – B.A. (Honours), National University of Singapore
Book manuscript in progress
Fluid Jurisdictions in the Indian Ocean – Arab Diaspora under Colonial Rule under contract with Cornell University Press
Peer-reviewed publications in journals
“Class, White Women and Elite Asian Men in British Courts during the Late Nineteenth Century” Journal of Women’s History, 31.2 (Summer 2019).
“Legal Pluralism and the East India Company in the Straits of Malacca, 1786-1821,” Law and History Review, 33.4 (November 2015): 945-964
“Craving Bureaucracy: Marriage, Islamic Law, and Arab Petitioners in the Straits Settlements,” Muslim World, 105.4 (October 2015): 496-515
“The Question of Animal Slaughter in the British Straits Settlements during the Early Twentieth Century” Indonesia and the Malay World 43.126 (July 2015): 173-190; Winner of the Indonesia and the Malay World Young Scholar Prize
Other peer-reviewed publications
“Concept of Jurisdiction under Colonial Rule,” The Oxford Handbook of Jurisdiction in International Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, forthcoming)
“British Colonial Law and the Establishment of Waqfs by Arabs in the Straits Settlements, 1860-1941” in The Worlds of the Trust Lionel Smith, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 167-202
“Tea and Company: Interactions between the Arab Elite and the British in Cosmopolitan Singapore” in Hadhrami Diaspora in Southeast Asia: Identity Maintenance or Assimilation? Ahmad Ibrahim Abushouk and Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim, eds. Leiden: Brill, 2009, pp. 57-80
Edited special volumes
Co-editor of special issue of Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law 19 (November 2018) on Islamic Law and Empire
Co-editor of special issue of Muslim World, 109,1 (December 2018) on Muslim Endowments and Trusts in Asia
“Lawyer v. East India Company” World Legal History Blog, March 2 2016
“Descendants and Ethical Stakes” World Legal History Blog, February 16 2016
“Action Francaise”, “Belle Époque”, “Franco-Italian Convention (1902)”, “Hugo, Victor (1802-1885)”, “Indochina”, “Treaty of Paris (1815)”, “Treaty of Paris (1856)”. In Carl Cavanagh Hodge, ed. Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800-1914 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2008), pp. 4-5, 79-80, 232-233, 332, 349-350, 545, 545-546 (respectively).
“Averroës”, “Borobudur”, “Champa Kingdom”, “Geoffrey Chaucer”, “Dante Alighieri”, “Khmer Kingdom”, “Majapahit Kingdom”, “Merovingian Dynasty”. In Marsha E. Ackerman et al, eds. Encyclopedia of World History, (New York: Facts on File Inc., 2008), pp. 28, 49-50, 78-79, 80-81, 99-100, 233-235, 264, 273 (respectively).
Review of The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority, and the Making of the Muslim State. Iza R. Hussin. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2016. St. Antony’s International Review (STAIR).
Review of Taming the Wild: Aborigines and Racial Knowledge in Colonial Malaya Sandra Khor Manickam. Singapore: National University of Singapore Press 2015. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 89: 1, no. 310 (June 2016), pp. 167-170.
Review of Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law. Intisar Rabb. New York: Cambridge University Press (2015). Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamic World (SCTIW) Review, March 2016
Review of Spiritual Economies: Islam, Globalization and the Afterlife of Development. Daromir Rudnyckyj. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (2010). Southeast Asian Studies, 1/2 (August 2012), pp. 349-351.
Review of Textile Imports into Qajar Iran: Russia versus Great Britain, The Battle for Market Domination. Willem Floor. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers, 2009. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 42 (2010), pp. 701-702.
Review of Muslims and Matriarchs: Cultural Resilience in Indonesia through Jihad and Colonialism. Jeffrey Hadler. Cornell University Press, 2008. Itinerario, 33/2, (July 2009), pp. 102-104.
Review of Secret Trades, Porous Borders: Smuggling and States along a Southeast Asian Frontier, 1865-1915. Eric Tagliacozzo. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005. Crossroads 19/2, (November 2009), pp. 210-212.
Review of Trade and Society in the Straits of Melaka – Dutch Melaka and English Penang, 1780-1830. Nordin Hussin. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press, 2007 Itinerario 31/3, (December 2007), pp. 177-179.
Review of The British Occupation of Indonesia 1945-1946 – Britain, the Netherlands and the Indonesian Revolution. Richard McMillan. Oxford: Routledge, 2005. Itinerario 30/2, (September 2006), pp. 220-221.
Review of Transcending Borders: Arabs, Politics, Trade and Islam in Southeast Asia. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2002. Edited by Huub de Jonge & Nico Kaptein. Arab Studies Journal 13-14, (Fall 2005/Spring 2006), pp. 148-151
Courses taught at National University of Singapore
- Law, Crime and Punishment in History
- Islam in Southeast Asia
- Introduction to History of Southeast Asia
- History of Islamic World
Courses taught at Washington University in Saint Louis
- Approaches to the Qur’an
- Introduction to Islamic Civilization
- Islam in the Modern World
- Islam in the Indian Ocean
- Introduction to Islamic Law
- Spring 2012: Assistant in Instruction for “Europe in the World” with David Cannadine
- Fall 2011: Assistant in Instruction for “Muslims and the Qur’an” with Muhammad Qasim Zaman
- Fall 2008: Assistant in Instruction for “Britain 1815-1945: Dominance, Democracy, and Decline” with Linda Colley
Awards and Fellowships
- Office of the Deputy President Research and Technology Grant for Research Excellence at National University of Singapore (awarded to top 20% of faculty)
- Faculty Start-up Grant of SGD$39,935 (USD$28,315) at National University of Singapore
- 2015: Three-Year Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale-NUS College (Declined)
- January 2015: Winner of the Indonesia and the Malay World Young Scholar Prize (2014)
- January 2015: Al-Wehdah Arab Association of Singapore Book Prize for doctoral dissertation
- 2014-2015: Santander & Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) Doha Research Grant for research on Islamic finance in Indonesia and Malaysia (Declined)
- 2013-2014: Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship for research at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
- June 2013: J. Willard Hurst Summer Institute Fellow in Legal History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- 2012-2013: Postdoctoral Fellowship at International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden, The Netherlands (Declined)
- 2012-2013: Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Graduate Fellow Award (Declined)
- 2009-2010: Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Summer Funding
- November 2008: Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) travel grant to Washington, DC for Middle East Studies Association Conference
- 2006 – 2012: Shelby Cullom and Kathryn Davis merit grant, Princeton University Fellowship
- 2006 – 2007: Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Summer Funding
- 2005 – 2006: National University of Singapore Postgraduate Research Scholarship
Invited Keynote Presentations
May 24 2017 – Keynote Speaker for workshop on “Rule, Resistance and the State/s: Perspectives from Islamic International Law and International Relations,” held at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Workshop on ‘Between the Straits: The History of Capitalism in Islam’ University of Toronto, Institute of Islamic Studies, Canada.
February 27 2019 – Alternate pasts: Politics of Commemoration of 1915, public talk at the Arts House (Former Parliament House), Singapore.
November 16 2018 – “Letters of Power Across the Indian Ocean – Religious and Trade Links in the Nineteenth Century,” public talk at Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore.
May 24- 25 2018 – “Powers that Bind: Tracing the Impact of Powers of Attorney: Historical and Comparative Macrosociology of Middle Eastern Legal Systems, International Institute Sociology of Law, Oñati, Spain.
November 20 2017 – “Index of Arabs and Imperial Imaginaries,” Indian Ocean Lecture Series at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), The Netherlands.
July 14-16 2017 – “When a Fatwa Becomes ‘Law’ – An Analysis of the Ethical Inquiry of the Human Organ Transplant Act in Singapore” Sharia in Motion II, Cambridge University, UK.
October 27 2016 – “The Question of Animal Slaughter: Colonial Regulation of Islamic Law,” Department of Near and Middle Eastern Cultures, University of Toronto, Canada.
June 2-5 2016 – Panelist for Author-Meets-Reader session for Intisar Rabb, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015) at Law and Society Association (LSA), New Orleans, LA.
May 24 2016 – “How did Arabs become foreign in the Indies?” Talk at History Department, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
December 9-11 2015 – “Powers that Bind: Acts of Proxy Across the Indian Ocean” Ocean of Law: Intermixed legal systems across the Indian Ocean world, 1550-1950, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
October 28-November 1 2015 – Panelist for Author-Meets-Reader session for Intisar Rabb, Doubt in Islamic Law: A History of Legal Maxims, Interpretation, and Islamic Criminal Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015) at American Society for Legal History (ASLH) Meeting, Washington D.C.
April 24 2015 – “Acts of Proxy Across the Indian Ocean” History of Paperwork and Bureaucracy at Center for History and Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
October 9 2014 – “Colonial Limitations of the Islamic Concept of Charity in Southeast Asia” Harvard Asia Center, co-sponsored by Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program & Harvard Islamic Legal Studies Program (ILSP), Cambridge, MA.
February 20 2014 – “Colonial Limitations of the Islamic Concept of Charity in Southeast Asia.” Cornell Southeast Asia Program Brown Bag Talk, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
October 28 2013 – “Indigenous Hybridity? Dutch Colonial Legal Administration of Arabs in the Netherlands Indies, 1860-1942” Research Workshop at Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University (NYU), NY.
April 12 2013 – “East India Company Law in Penang, 1786-1826: The Case of Syed Hussain Aideed,” Workshop on The Travels of Law, University of Chicago, IL.
March 16 2013 – “Impact of Family Law on Diasporas in Colonial Southeast Asia” Conference on Recovering Law in Asia, Center for History and Economics, Trinity Hall, Cambridge University, UK.
Conferences & Workshops
March 22-26 2018 – “Retaining Arabness in the Netherlands Indies,” Association of Asian Studies, Washington DC, USA.
January 4-7 2018 – “Swamps and Maritime Piracy: Environmental Law in the Straits of Malacca” American Historical Association, Washington DC, USA.
March 29 – April 2 2017 – “Colonial Regulation of Religious Slaughter of Animals” American Society for Environmental History, Chicago, IL
February 21 2017 – Participant in Workshop on Political Theologies and Development in Asia, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.
December 12 – 14 2016 – “How Kings Became Pirates: East India Company Maritime Jurisdiction” Ocean of Law II, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
October 26 – 29 2016 – “How Kings Became Pirates: East India Company Maritime Jurisdiction” American Society for Legal History (ASLH), Toronto, Canada.
August 11 – 14 2015 – “White Women in British Colonial Courts – The Case of Marie Gorski” European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EUROSEAS) Annual Conference, Vienna, Austria.
May 28 – May 31 2015 – :White Women in British Colonial Courts – The Case of Marie Gorski” on panel on ‘Promising Progress, Producing Difference: Law in Colonial Contexts.’ Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.
November 22- 25 2014 – “Powers that Bind: Tracing the Impact of Powers of Attorney in the Indian Ocean from 1880-1970,” Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Washington D.C.
August 3 – 16 2014 – “A Question of Relative Need – British Colonial Limitations of the Islamic Concept of Charity in Southeast Asia,” SIAS Summer Institute, National Humanities Center, Chapel Hill, NC.
June 1 – June 2 2014 – “Question of Guardianship in Colonial Southeast Asia: Arab Children under British and Dutch Rule” Conference on The Law and the Child in Historical Perspective, 1400-2000, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN.
May 29 – June 1 2014 – “On Firmer Ground Swamp Piracy in Southeast Asia” Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.
April 3- 4 2014 – “Animal Welfare and ‘Halal’ Slaughter in Islam” at ‘Why Do Animal Studies? An Interdisciplinary Conference on Animal Studies,’ University of Chicago, IL
January 3 – 11 2014 – “Illegality of the Swamp in Southeast Asia – Postcolonial Implications” at the ‘Legacies of Colonialism for Global Policy’ Workshop at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) organized by Harvard University Law School in Doha, Qatar.
November 7- 10 2013 – “Family Law and Empire: Dutch Colonial Law Governing Arabs in the Netherlands Indies” American Society for Legal History (ASLH), Miami, FL.
July 29- August 9 2013 – Participant in the Summer Institute on Cultural Encounters: Global Perspectives and Local Exchanges, 1750-1940, SIAS Summer Institute at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Germany.
June 9 – June 21 2013 – “Courting Jurisdictions” Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History, biennial event hosted by the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School and co-sponsored by the American Society for Legal History (ASLH), Madison, WI.
March 9-10 2013 – “Fowl Affair: Animal Slaughter in Penang” 2nd Annual Southeast Asian Studies Symposium, Oxford University, UK.
January 4-January 15 2013 – “Project Proposal: Colonial Administration of Islamic Religious Slaughter of Animals in Southeast Asia” at the ‘Revitalizing the Arab and Islamic Legal Traditions’ Workshop at the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) organized by Harvard University Law School, in Doha, Qatar.
June 6-8 2012- “Powers that Bind: Tracing the Impact of Powers of Attorney in the Indian Ocean from 1880-1970,” SSRC Conference on Inter-Asian Connections III on Asian Crossings, 1789-1914, at the University of Hong Kong.
June 5 2011 – “The Fowl Affair: British Concerns over Slaughter of Animals in The Straits Settlements during the Early Twentieth Century,” Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA.
November 12- 14 2010: “Courting Jurisdictions: The Case of Syed Hussein Aideed in Penang, 1791-1819.” North American Conference for British Studies (NACBS), Baltimore, MD.
September 23 – 25 2010 – “British Colonial Law and the Establishment of Waqfs by Arabs in the Straits Settlements, 1860-1941,” Conference on The Worlds of the Trust, McGill University Law School, Montreal, Canada.
July 19- July 24 20 – 10“English Law and the Law of Arabia by the Hadhrami Diaspora in the British Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore” at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES), Barcelona, Spain.
April 13 – 16 2010 – Panelist for “Family Foundations and Trusts: Anchoring the Family: Property Strategies of Migrants.” European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC), Ghent, Belgium.
March 13 – 14 2009 – “The Swamp in the Straits of Malacca during the Nineteenth Century,” paper presented at Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History, Cambridge, MA.
Service to the field
American Society for Legal History
Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 2018 – February 2019, Selection Committee Member
Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 2016 – February 2017, Selection Committee Member
H-Law Mailing List on Humanities and Social Sciences Online (H-Net), Board Member, 2016-present
ASLH Annual Conference, Washington DC, October 2015, Member of Program Committee
ASLH Annual Conference, Denver, CO, November 2014, Member of Program Committee
Law and Society Association (USA)
James Willard Hurst Prize Committee, November 2016 – March 2017, Selection Committee Member
Book manuscripts reviewed for: Brill Publishers (2018), Cambridge University Press (2018)
Articles reviewed for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (2014); Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient (2014); Journal of Law and Religion (2017); Law and History Review (2013, 2015, 2018); Law and Society Review (2011, 2016); Southeast Asia Research (2016); Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto) (2018)
Panels organized and chaired
‘Amphibious Spaces: Colonial Engagements with Watery Spaces’ American Historical Association, Washington DC, January 4-7 2018 (Organizer)
‘Law and Peace: Empire, War and Law’ British Legal History Conference, London, 5-8 July 2017 (Moderator)
‘Contending Visions of Islamic Law and Society in the 20th and 21st Centuries’ Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, June 2016 (Discussant)
‘Mobile Subjects and the Transformation of Law and Space across Eighteenth and Nineteenth century Eurasia’American Historical Association (AHA) Annual Meeting co-sponsored by American Society for Legal History (ASLH) Atlanta, GA, January 2016 (Organizer)
Series of panels on Imperial Peripheries and Islamic Law,Institute of Global Law and Public Policy (IGLP) Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, June 2015 (Moderator)
‘The Promise and Pathos of British Colonial Legalities’ Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting Seattle, WA, May 2015 (Chair and Discussant)
‘Relationship between Law and Religion – Case-Study: Apostasy in Malaysia’Comparative Legal Studies Stream at Institute of Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School, Doha, Qatar, January 2015 (Junior Faculty, led discussions as part of stream)
‘Lawless’ Africa: Competition to Rule Among Africans and Europeans in the Empire’American Society for Legal History (ASLH) Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 2014 (Discussant)
‘Islam, Women and the Law’Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, May 2014 (Chair and Discussant)
‘Islamic Law, Religious Minorities and Citizenship Rights’ Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, May 2014 (Chair and Discussant)
‘Colonial Law in the Indian Ocean’ Law and Society Association (LSA) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, May 2014 (Organizer)
Conference on ‘Colonies and Postcolonies of Law’ Princeton University, NJ, March 2011 (Conference Organizer)
‘British Colonial Law’ North American Conference for British Studies (NACBS), Baltimore, MD, November 2010 (Organizer)