Kankan Xie

Estranged Comrades: Communism, Identity Politics, and Interwoven Networks of the Late Colonial Malay World, 1927-1942

In spite of the early efforts of the Indonesian communists in expanding their organization in British Malaya, it was their Chinese counterparts who eventually established the Nanyang Communist Party under the tutelage of the Comintern. My research project examines the convergence of—and the corresponding inter-racial conflicts in between—these two trends of the pre-WWII communist movement in the Malay World (now Indonesia and Malaysia) in the last fifteen years of the colonial era. Rather than narrowly focusing on individuals, organizations and events within pre-existed political boundaries, I study the rise of left-wing forces in the Malay World as an inter-racial, transnational and even global process, in which Southeast Asia and China shared mutual and simultaneous influence from and upon each other through the extremely heterogeneous diaspora communities.