Accepted Paper:

Dead in exile: negotiating belonging across borders  
Andrey Damaledo (Kyoto University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines dead and burial practices across three inter-generational Timorese groups in Indonesian West Timor. In spite of their socio and political variations, I argue that dead remains a powerful process to renegotiate belonging and rebuilding relationship across borders.

Paper long abstract:

Informed by Robert Hertz’ transformative process of double burial that changes the nature of the relationship between the dead and the living, I seek in this paper to focus on diverse practices of mortuary rites in exile. By exile, I specifically refer to pro-Indonesian East Timorese who left East Timor and decided to stay in West Timor after their historic Referendum. I draw upon ethnographies of dead in Indonesia and Timor-Leste to examine comparative case studies of burial practices across three inter-generational groupings: pre-1999 pro-integration leaders, during-1999 former member of militia group, and post-1999 youngsters growing up in Indonesia. In spite of their socio-economic and political variations, I argue that dead remains a powerful process to renegotiate belonging and rebuilding relationship across borders. Garden of heroes, public cemetery, individual front yard and the emerging dead body transport business serve as transitory sites that represent East Timorese separation from their homeland as well as their homecoming journey to be reunited with their ancestors.

Panel P25
The dead in social life: death in the (re) constitution of sociality of the still living