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Accepted Paper:

Documenting Spiritual Ecologies and Customary Governance in Post-conflict East Timor  

Authors:

Lisa Palmer (University of Melbourne)
Susanna Barnes (University of Saskatchewan)
Josh Trindade (Ministry of Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Timor-Leste)

Paper short abstract:

In the post-conflict East Timor, archival records are developing to record diverse cultural practices and performances and to make these recordings available to a wider audience and enable inter-generational knowledge transmission and education.

Paper long abstract:

Post-conflict development in the Asia Pacific region is enmeshed within differently understood forms of social and environmental governance. In the post-Independence era of East Timor from 2002, the struggle to restore household livelihoods and the lingering effects of military occupation has seen a revitalisation of ancestral traditions across Timorese society. This 'return to custom' encompasses a range of practices, performances and orientations designed to reinvigorate local livelihoods, strengthen social resilience and reinstate a variety of customary practices in the lives of rural Timorese communities who comprise the majority of the population. As Verran and Christie have argued in an extra-regional context, customary knowledge produces worlds in place through continually negotiated practices and performances (2007: 219). Archival records are now developing to record these diverse practices and performances and to make these recordings available to a wider audience and enable inter-generational knowledge transmission and education. Reflecting on the compilation of a research and community archive with which we are involved, we explore, in a context specific way, how this archive might be enabled to reflect these continuously negotiated worlds. We ask how a digital archive can foreground and hold in tension these always partial truths and diverse forms of agency and discuss the challenges and opportunities for maintaining the multidimensionality, temporality and situatedness of these practices and performances.

Panel AM03a
Objects, archives and their stories: unsettling colonial certainties