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Hidden Hands and Divided LandscapesA Penal History of Singapore's Plural Society$
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Anoma Pieris

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832216

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832216.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes

Anoma Pieris

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book takes on the difficult task of unraveling the penal history of a plural society, focusing on the manner in which definitions of pluralism shifted during the first five decades of British rule in the Straits Settlements, before it became a crown colony. The location of a minority in a racially divided city provides fresh insights into colonialism and its political formations, whereby ideas of proper subjecthood appear to be conceptualized at the margins. The study of the colonial city through a prison system devised for a racial minority offers a different history of Singapore and the Straits Settlements. The primary concern, therefore, is in physical and social divisions.

Keywords:   pluralism, British rule, Straits Settlements, crown colony, colonialism, prison system, Singapore, social divisions, physical divisions

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