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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which deals with two fundamental interwoven questions: identity maintenance or assimilation? The question of identity maintenance is very debatable in contemporary literature on the Hadhrami diasporas around the Indian Ocean because the Hadhramis themselves have maintained a dual identity based on the relative degree of their assimilation into the host societies, and preservation of some of their cultural values and biological descent. Throughout their history in Southeast Asia, the Hadhrami elites were active in politics and international relations, compared with other oriental diasporas. Islamic modern reformism and Hadhrami press are one of the major issues that attracted the attention of some contributors in the book. The chapter presents an overview of how the other chapters of the book are organised.

Keywords: assimilation; Hadhrami diaspora; Hadhrami press; identity maintenance; Islamic modern reformism; Southeast Asia



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