Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

Dr. Sumit K. Mandal

Dr. Sumit K. Mandal
Dr. Sumit K. Mandal
Research Associate / Lecturer
sumit.mandal (at)

Telefon: +49 (0)30 2093 - 4801


Biographical sketch

Sumit Mandal works in the fields of social history and cultural studies. His area of research is cultural diversity with a focus on Southeast Asia, in particular the outcome of the transnational connections of Muslim societies in the Indian Ocean world. He is currently working on a book titled "Becoming Arab: Creoles in the making of modern identity in the Malay world." He is also interested in contemporary cultural politics, especially in relation to ethnicity, language and the arts. Since 2008, he has been Senior Fellow at the Institute of African and Asian Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and on leave from his post at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, where he worked for twelve years. He is a member of the editorial boards of PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies as well as the Indonesian journals Susastra (literary and cultural studies) and Prisma (social and economic issues). He obtained his BA and PhD in history from Columbia University in New York, in 1984 and 1994 respectively.

Recent Publications


  • "Popular Sites of Prayer, Transoceanic Migration, and Cultural Diversity: Exploring the significance of keramat in Southeast Asia," Modern Asian Studies, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 355–372. The journal Modern Asian Studies may be found here: . The copyright for the article belongs to Cambridge University Press. (Online Access)



  • "The Significance of the Rediscovery of Arabs in the Malay World," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 296-311.  (Online Access)



  • “Challenging inequality in a modern Islamic idiom: Social ferment amongst Arabs in early 20th-century Java.” In Eric Tagliacozzo, ed., Southeast Asia and the Middle East: Islam, Movement and the Longue Durée. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 156-75.



  • “The National Cultural Policy and contestation over Malaysian identity.” In Joan Nelson, Jacob  Meerman and Abdul Rahman Embong, eds., Globalisation and National Autonomy: The Experience of Malaysia, Singapore: ISEAS, pp. 273-300.
  • “Strangers Who Are Not Foreign: Pramoedya’s Disturbing Language on the Chinese in Indonesia.” In Pramoedya Ananta Toer, The Chinese in Indonesia. Translated from Indonesian into English by Max Lane. Singapore: Select Books, pp. 35-54. (Publication of the original in English whose translation in Indonesian appeared in 1998).