East Asia

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 187–210 | Cite as

Illusions of Relevance? An Australian Encounter with Malay History and Southeast Asian Security

  • Roger KershawEmail author


A. C. Milner’s visiting inaugural at N.U.S. invites exploration of its author’s intellectual development, for he boldly claims a role for an Australian historian of Southeast Asia as a promoter of liberal governance for Southeast Asian societies, in face of militant Islamism. His earlier “postmodernist” commitment to “getting inside the Malay experience” constitutes some sort of precursor, but relativist scepticism fits as uncomfortably as does, in its own way, advocacy of Australian tolerance of Asian authoritarianism. In attacking Leifer’s Realism, the lecture seems ill-informed, while the post-war Oakeshott is scarcely relevant to the diverse societies of Southeast Asia.


A. C. Milner Australia Islamism Malay monarchy M.Leifer Postmodernism Realism S. E. Asia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LochinverScotland

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