Francis R. Bradley, "Forging Islamic Power and Place: The Legacy of Shaykh Daud bin ‘Abd Allah al-Fatani in Mecca and Southeast Asia"

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Forging Islamic Power and Place charts the nineteenth-century rise of a vast network of Islamic scholars stretching across Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean to Arabia. He makes use of an impressive range of sources, including official colonial documents, traveler accounts, missionary writings, and above all a trove of handwritten manuscripts in Malay and Arabic, what remains of one of the most fertile zones of knowledge production anywhere in the Islamic world at the time. Writing against prevailing notions of Southeast Asia as the passive recipient of the Islamic traditions of the Middle East, Bradley shows how a politically marginalized community engineered its own cultural renaissance via the moral virility of the Islamic scholarly tradition and the power of the written word. He highlights how, in an age of rising colonial power, these knowledge producers moved largely unnoticed and unhindered between Southeast Asia and the Middle East carrying out sweeping cultural and religious change. His focus on Thailand’s so-called “deep south,” which has been marginalized in scholarly studies until recent times, helps lay the groundwork for a new generation of scholarship on the region and furthers our understanding of the present-day crisis in southern Thailand.


Francis (Cisco) Bradley is a scholar of social and cultural history set in diverse contexts. Throughout his career, his interests have settled on the historical agency exhibited by people marginalized by global or local forces who face myriad challenges including dislocation, cultural destruction, social alienation, or structural or physical violence. This has led him to investigate histories in a variety of contexts including port cities, mobile intellectual or artist communities, and inhabitants of maritime settings, where people are stitched together through viable, if vulnerable social networks of their own making.
His academic work has focused on mobility and networks in maritime or trans-regional settings with early articles appearing in Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, and Journal of the Siam Society that focus on movement, dislocation, social genesis, and piracy. He explores these issues deeply in his first book, entitledForging Islamic Power and Place: The Legacy of Shaykh Da'ud bin 'Abd Allah al-Fatani in Mecca and Southeast Asia, which is in press with University of Hawaii Press. The affiliated website is: Bradley is also working to build a comprehensive bibliography on piracy studies which is publicly available

Since settling in Brooklyn, Professor Bradley has added a new sub-field to his myriad interests, that of the history of avant garde jazz in Brooklyn. This project has led him to study the underbelly of New York City, gentrification, structural violence, and avant garde art forms and how they relate to a far-flung, diverse, globally-drawn community ofartists and their social and cultural networks. His website chronicles much of his work in this regard.

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