[On Paper] Southeast Asian Cosmopolitanism on its Own Terms: Banten as a Precolonial Model of a Southeast Asian Port-city

  • Language: English
  • Target Audience: Adults
  • Category: Singapore & S.E.A
Availability: 14
Tue, 24 Sep, 2019, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (GMT+8)

National Library

Level 16 - The Pod

100 Victoria Street

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  • Language: English
  • Target Audience: Adults

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Southeast Asian Cosmopolitanism on its Own Terms: Banten as a Precolonial Model of a Southeast Asian Port-city

The economic success of Banten, a flourishing pre-colonial port city in the north coast of Java, can be considered to be a result of its local understanding of pluralism and multiculturalism that was both pragmatic and realistic. 

Join Dr Farish Noor as he explores Banten’s cosmopolitan trading society and how documentary evidence gathered from the 17th century provides insight into the complexities of its society and interconnectedness to a wider trading network that extended across Asia.

About the Speaker
Dr Farish A. Noor is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. His research includes topics ranging from Southeast Asian history to contemporary politics, material culture, art and antiquities as well as the media. He has been collecting antiquarian books, maps, prints, photos and memorabilia of Southeast Asia since the 1980s, and is a valued donor to the National Library Board of Singapore.


This programme is held in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition On Paper: Singapore Before 1867.

Maps, private and official documents, paintings and photographs found in libraries and archives are the main sources of information used to write Singapore’s early history. Visitors to On Paper: Singapore before 1867, will be able to explore the variety of materials that have and can be used to understand our histories and our understanding of our historical narrative. This includes significant documents such as a 17th century map showing the presence of a harbour-master on Singapore island, the 1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty as well as records like wills, watercolours and photographs that provide rare glimpses into the otherwise unknown lives of ordinary people in early Singapore. On Paper presents a rare treat, exploring an under documented period of our history.

On Paper: Singapore Before 1867
28 September 2019 – 22 March 2020
Level 10, Gallery
National Library Building

Getting there:

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