Indonesia, Vol. 107, April 2019

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
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    Review of Becoming Better Muslims: Religious Authority and Ethical Improvement in Aceh, Indonesia
    Großmann, Kristina (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
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    Review of Inventing the Performing Arts: Modernity and Tradition in Colonial Indonesia
    Lindsay, Jennifer (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
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    Review of Soul Catcher—Java’s Fiery Prince Mangkunagara I, 1726–95
    Federspiel, Howard M. (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
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    Converting Tetun: Colonial Missionaries’ Conceptual Mapping in the Timorese Cosmology and Some Local Responses, 1874–1937
    Kisho Tsuchiya (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    Observers of Timorese culture have long maintained a preoccupation with the term “lulik.” Its meanings have fluctuated in the past 150 years—with prominent associations including “idolatry,” “the sacred,” “prohibited,” “black magic,” and “the core of Timorese culture.” But Timorese have also commonly used the word as an adjective. This paper traces the origin of the bifurcated uses of the word lulik through a reading of missionaries’ efforts to translate Portuguese religious texts into Tetun since the 1870s. In early European missionaries’ ethnographic reports, lulik was identified as Catholicism’s “Other”—and lulik was adopted as the translation of “idolatry” in missionaries’ Tetun texts. However, it was impossible for Europeans to maintain the singular pejorative meaning of lulik, as the Timorese preferred to call Catholic priests nai-lulik (lulik lord). A Timorese collaborator on Bible translation further took advantage of the missionaries’ ignorance of Timorese culture and language: Jesus was called Maromak Oan (the ritual ruler in Wehali) and liurai (the indigenous executive authority), while Caiaphas became the head sacerdote (Port. priest) and Pontius Pilate was called Em-Boot (the title for a Portuguese governor). The upshot was that an attempt to present Catholicism as a European religion failed in Tetun, and translated accounts of Jesus Christ’s final days became the story of an innocent native who was executed by the colonial and religious authorities. The missionaries’ Europe-centric mistranslation of lulik and the Timorese cosmology strongly influenced the way the academic discourse on lulik has developed in the following generations.
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    The Co-presence of Ancestors and Their Reburials among the Fataluku (Timor-Leste)
    De Matos Viegas, Susana (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    This article analyzes the key role of graves and reburials (i.e., the relocation of a grave to a new site, or its refurbishment) in making ancestors present in the lives of the Fataluku Timorese. The living include and experience their deceased relatives in their present-day web of kin, both through dreams and rituals. The author shows that such close attention given by living relatives to their ancestors is sustained in a relationship of mutual care that makes ancestors co-present in their descendants’ lives. By focusing on family members’ challenges in attending ancestor worship rituals as well as on reburial processes that involve diverse forms of communication with the ancestors, the article illustrates how reburials contribute to the balance between the spiritual world and the world of the living (for example, to avoid misfortune). The author uses “co-presence” as a key description of how the Timorese deal with and include ancestors in their everyday lives. This co-presence can be envisaged as “mutuality of being”—kinship in the strict sense of the word. It also describes the balance between the spirit and living worlds. Through their graves, ancestors make themselves present through specific sites. The Timor-Leste government’s favorable policies concerning martyrs’ burials can thus be considered a post-conflict measure that achieves balance between the lived and the spiritual world, a balance that allows life to go on.
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    Fataluku Labor Migration and Transnational Care in Timor-Leste
    McWilliam, Andrew; Monteiro, Carmeneza Dos Santos (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    The emergence of a vibrant remittance economy in East Timor, generated by growing numbers of labor migrants working overseas, has been an unexpected feature of Timor-Leste’s post-Independence years. Formal and informal labor-migration schemes are part of this new economic landscape, and the remittance dollars that flow back to Timor-Leste are having profound, positive effects on communities there. Some of the striking impacts of this trend include funding house construction, renovations, and upgrades; subsidizing everyday expenses (energy, clothing, food); underwriting education costs; and intensifying expenditures on and participation in cultural events (celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals). Drawing on Stephen Gudeman’s (2001) conceptual dialectic between the interactive realms of community and market economies, this article reflects on the impacts and implications of the growing flow of financial assistance. The focus here is on Fataluku-speaking households, whose members have been particularly likely to work overseas and send remittances home.
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    A Journey with Max Weber in Timor-Leste’s Countryside: Constructing Local Governance after Independence
    Feijó, Rui Graça (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    Max Weber wrote of “pure” legitimated belief systems regarding the exercise of authority that facilitate its endurance in peaceful circumstances. If Weber could travel around the district of Lautém on the easternmost tip of Timor-Leste, he would find entrenched elements that he would recognize as pertaining to his “traditional authority” model. In Lautém, a clan leader, head of a family, patriarchal figure, or member of the dominant elite all are candidates to discharge unchallenged (or little-disputed) ruling functions over third parties. Weber would also not fail to recognize the transition to modern legal-rational forms of authority, in which a familiar local authority is replaced by an impersonal officeholder. Weber might even find “charismatic” leaders, persons endowed with special characteristics that reveal an extraordinary nature that is widely acknowledged and valued by the leader’s social group. Yet, there is also a dynamic that challenges Weber’s views that traditional power opposes legal-rational authority, and that clashes between them are likely. Timorese enjoy high degrees of civil liberties, and for that reason what are conceptually antagonistic perceptions of legitimacy can be expressed, and a complex set of ideas need not be dismissed as incompatible or reduced to hybrid forms of engagement: they can, to a very large extent, cohabitate with a modicum of peace. Embracing civil liberties allows for the coexistence of a plurality of views (and leaders), namely, on what is legitimate and how (and by whom) power may be exercised. By adopting principles of democracy that respect differences within communities, and which are based on the widest possible franchise of all members, a contemporary, legal-rational approach to institutionalizing local power is possible and even embraced.
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    Putting Timor on the Global Agenda in 1985: Solidarity Activism Ten Years after Indonesia’s Invasion of East Timor
    Webster, David; Leal, Juliana Brito Santana; Ferreira, Jr.,Fernando Jorge Saraiva (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    Indonesia’s military invaded East Timor in 1975, but failed to subdue the people there. The role of international solidarity movements in Timor-Leste’s subsequent fight for independence was particularly evident a decade later, when groups in diverse locations mobilized to raise awareness about East Timor’s ongoing plight. Using Timorese (or Maubere) culture as a mobilizing focus, activists engaged the public to take action. Thus, an issue fading from global consciousness and receding from the agendas of governments and intergovernmental organizations was put back on the table in 1985 by transnational advocacy movements. The research presented here looks at some actions in Portugal, Britain, and Canada, with briefer references to similar actions in Spain and Sweden. The study puts solidarity groups located in unexpected places at the center of the analysis. For instance, TAPOL in Britain and CDPM in Portugal emerge as nodes in a transnational advocacy network, serving to transmit the Timorese resistance’s appeal to the outside world.
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    Highlighting Timor-Leste Studies
    Fox, Richard; Webster, David (Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, 2019-04)
    A brief introduction to the sources of and inspirations for the five essays that comprise this special-focus issue of Indonesia. The articles presented in this themed volume flow from an ambitious two-year initiative by the Association of Asian Studies (AAS) to raise the profile of Timor-Leste studies, both at AAS and in the wider North American academy. First presented at AAS’s 2017 conference (Toronto), the collection highlights the work of both established and emerging scholars and makes a timely intervention in Asian Studies by offering insights and experiences from Southeast Asia’s newest country.