Postcolonial historians in Southeast Asia have sometimes described the colonial encounters of the past in dialectical terms, lending the impression that Western colonial intervention in Asia received widespread support back in Europe. This paper looks at one of the most vocal critiques of the British invasion of Java in 1811 that came from William Cobbett, a radical Tory writer and pamphleteer, whose criticism of the Java invasion was complex and nuanced. It shows how the British invasion of Java at the time was not so widely supported as assumed by some, but it also shows how anti-war activism has a long history that dates back to the 19th century. Reading Cobbett’s critique of the Java invasion today is instructive for scholars of international relations as parallels can be found in his criticism of the converging interests of both capital and militarism, and his warnings of the long-term consequences of such colonial adventurism and imperial overreach.
About the Author
Dr Farish A. Noor is presently Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; where he is the Coordinator of PhD Programme. He is the author of Islamism in a Mottled Nation: The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party 1951-2013 (Amsterdam University Press, 2014), Moving Islam: The Tablighi Jama’at movement in Southeast Asia (University of Amsterdam Press, 2012), The Madrasa in Asia: Political Activism and Transnational Linkages,with Martin van Bruinessen and Yoginder Sikand, Eds. (Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2008), and Islam Embedded: The Historical Development of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: 1951-2003 (Malaysian Sociological Research Institute (MSRI), Kuala Lumpur, 2004).
Country and Region Studies / Europe / International Politics and Security / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 04/09/2014