Nicole Yow Wei

Nicole Yow Wei's picture
Research interests: 

Early modern and modern Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean history; intellectual history, especially Islamic intellectual history; oral traditions and poetics; global literary/linguistic circuits of Arabic and Malay; epistemology and philosophy of religion


Nicole Yow Wei (family name: Yow) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History. They are interested primarily in the intellectual history of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean; defined more pointedly as the historical inquiry of ideas, and of the epistemological and social orientations of thinking. These broad conceptual interests have led them to bring methods in book history and social history to bear on the study of Malay and Islamicate world texts.

Nicole grew up in Singapore, and subsequently earned an A.B. in History from Brown University, as well as an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from Chulalongkorn University. Their prior work has included the first full-length translation of the Hikayat Anggun Cik Tunggal; a Minangkabau text on which they have based a critical methodology for rehabilitating Malay oral histories of colonial trauma from their extant sources in print. They have also written on the idea of “politics”, and the centrality of historiographical ambiguity to the maintenance of which, in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Patani.

Nicole’s time organising with the Southeast Asian Studies Initiative at Brown has been deeply formative of their commitments as a scholar of Southeast Asia. As a graduate student they are extending this work into various discursive fora, to continually examine the stakes and debts of the study of Southeast Asia.