Oral and Local Traditions in Eastern Indonesia


Single Panel


Session 1
Tue 09:30-11:00 REC A2.15



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Eastern Indonesia is a region that is characterized by great ethnic and linguistic diversity and comparatively small-scale historical polities. In this environment, local histories, which were often orally transmitted, became important for the self-understanding of the communities, which historically often lived in a volatile environment marked by resource scarcity, local warfare, and colonial exploitation. Traditions can be remarkably stable and convey data about persons and events over hundreds of years; however, they may also be altered to serve claims and identities pertaining to their own time. Thus, they are documents of the present as well as transmitting the collective memory of the past. Here, it is important to carefully analyze the great variety of oral forms of narrations and the circumstances of transmission. The presentations of this panel make use of the recent methodological advances in the study of oral traditions to study local cases in the island world to the North Maluku, Maluku and Timor regions, scrutinizing communities and former polities with a strong awareness of the communal past.