Writing Reformist Histories: A Cleric as an Outsider-History Maker

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This article argues that Southeast Asia is an illustrative yet much-neglected empirical terrain for the study of ‘‘outsider history-makers’’ and their vocations. Through an analysis of the writings of Hamka, a well-known Indonesian cleric, this article demonstrates that ‘‘outsider history-makers’’ in Southeast Asia have been engaged in the production of ‘‘reformist histories’’—a genre of popular historical works written in an alluring and captivating way to foster a rethinking of commonplace assumptions about the evolution of religious communities, the roles of reformers in society, and the place of spirituality in human history.


 

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