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Crossing Histories and Ethnographies: Following Colonial Historicities in Timor-Leste

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Volume 37

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Crossing Histories and Ethnographies

Following Colonial Historicities in Timor-Leste

Edited by Ricardo Roque and Elizabeth G. Traube
Afterword by James J. Fox

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372 pages, index

ISBN  978-1-78920-271-7 25% OFF! $130.00/£92.00 $97.50/£69.00 Hb Published (June 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-272-4 eBook

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“This is an important book, a valuable book, and in many ways, a path-setting book that brings together an impressive group of contemporary social analysts -- from both a historical and anthropological perspective – in a focused consideration of Timor-Leste.” • James J. Fox, The Australian National University

“The volume offers a strong and interesting set of studies; it is coherent and of value to the ethnography and anthropology of eastern Indonesia specifically and southeast Asian and Oceanic anthropology in general. The introduction offers an excellent overview of the historical turn in anthropology… The dialogue of practice and method gives the book wider interest for all those concerned with historical anthropology, irrespective of the region in which they work.”• Nicholas Thomas, Director, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge


The key question for many anthropologists and historians today is not whether to cross the boundary between their disciplines, but whether the idea of a disciplinary boundary should be sustained. Reinterpreting the dynamic interplay between archive and field, these essays propose a method for mutually productive crossings between historical and ethnographic research. It engages critically with the colonial pasts of indigenous societies and examines how fieldwork and archival studies together lead to fruitful insights into the making of different colonial historicities. Timor-Leste’s unusually long and in some ways unique colonial history is explored as a compelling case for these crossings.

Ricardo Roque is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon and currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. He works on the history and anthropology of human sciences, colonialism, and cross-cultural contact in the Portuguese-speaking world. He has published extensively on the colonial history of Timor-Leste.

Elizabeth G. Traube is Professor of Anthropology at Wesleyan University (USA). She began her research with Mambai-speaking people of Aileu when Timor-Leste was still under Portuguese rule and has returned to Aileu several times since renewing her research there in 2000.

Subject: General Anthropology Colonialism Sociology
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of illustrations

Introduction: Crossing Histories and Ethnographies
Ricardo Roque and Elizabeth G. Traube


Chapter 1. Outside In: Mambai Expectations of Returning Outsiders
Elizabeth G. Traube

Chapter 2. The Enigmas of Timorese History and Manipulations of Mythical Narratives by Local Societies: The Example of Bunaq-Language Populations
Claudine Friedberg

Chapter 3. The Death of Arbiru: Colonial Mythic Praxis and the Apotheosis of Officer Duarte
Ricardo Roque

Chapter 4. Pacification and Rebellion in the Highlands of Portuguese Timor
Judith Bovensiepen


Chapter 5. Catholic Luliks or Timorese Relics? Missionary Anthropology, Destruction and Self-Destruction (ca. 1910–1974)
Frederico Delgado Rosa

Chapter 6. Funerary Posts and Christian Crosses: Fataluku Cohabitations with Catholic Missionaries after World War II
Susana de Matos Viegas and Rui Graça Feijó

Chapter 7. The Stones of Afaloicai: Colonial Archaeology and the Authority of Ancient Objects
Ricardo Roque and Lúcio Sousa


Chapter 8. Contesting Colonialisms, Contesting Stories: Early Intrusion in East Timor through Portuguese and Dutch Eyes
Hans Hägerdal

Chapter 9. Reading against the Grain: Ethnography, Commercial Agriculture, and the Colonial Archive of East Timor
Andrew McWilliam and Chris J. Shepherd

Chapter 10. Archival Records and Ethnographic Inquiries in Viqueque
David Hicks

Chapter 11. The Barlake War: Marriage Exchanges, Colonial Fantasies, and the Production of East Timorese People in 1970s Dili
Kelly Silva

Afterword: Glimpses of an Ethnohistory of Timor
James J. Fox


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