Read PhD Thesis: Chronicling Fifty Years (1957–2007) of Malay/sian Identity

Abstract

This PhD examines the role of visual print culture and popular printed artefacts in articulating, reflecting and disseminating dominant notions of national identity in Malaysia in the fifty years of its history as an independent nation (1957-2007) through three case studies – print advertisements, Wanita women’s magazine, and Lat’s cartoons.

This study is not an attempt to define the meaning or essence of Malaysian identity. On the contrary, it seeks to emphasise the constructed nature of national identity in Malaysia, by demonstrating how it has been dominated by hegemonic majoritarian cultural discourses at different eras and fluidly shaped by changing historical factors.

The project entitled Chronicling Malay/sian Identity as an allusion to the complex equations of racial politics, which direct and define the whole ambit of national culture in the country.

It aims to firstly establish the significance of visual culture and popular print media in the construction of Malaysian national identity, and secondly, to chronicle an undocumented and under-studied history of Malaysian national identity through the medium of visual print media.

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