(P67) The legacy of colonial officialdom - biographical traces from Timor
Wed 14:30-16:00 K14 | 1.07
- Laura Yoder Wheaton College, Illinois
- Carlos Oviedo Universidade de Brasília
- Lúcio Sousa Universidade Aberta
- Maciej Duszynski Nicolaus Copernicus Univerisity
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Coffee legacies in Portuguese Timor
Carlos Oviedo Universidade de Brasília
This paper presents the life-histories of 3 Timorese who are descendants of Portuguese workers who arrived in Timor at the beginning of the 20th century to be employed in coffee plantations of Ermera’s district. Through the reconstruction of family genealogies, personal trajectories and historical events of the Portuguese colonial period and the Indonesian occupation, I will focus on their particular perspectives on land grants, production systems, and the relationship with local populations during the colonial administration.
Colonial visions of development in the work of Jose Valdez, soldier and veterinarian
Susanna Barnes University of Saskatchewan
This paper explores the writing of Jose D’Ascencao Valdez, soldier and veterinarian who served in Portuguese Timor and wrote on ‘Native’ Education and Development in the colony. Before leaving Timor Valdez became embroiled in a minor scandal involving investments in rubber plantations which put him at odds with the then governor Teofilo Duarte, From Valdez’s writings emerges a vision of development inseparable from the Portuguese ‘civilizing’ mission.
Excursions into the unknown: Three colonial ‘pioneers’ in Belu, Timor
Hans Hägerdal Linnaeus University
In early Dutch and Portuguese colonial writings, Belu was an amorphous geographical concept that was considered to encompass central-eastern Timor or parts thereof. In a more restricted sense it was the Tetun-speaking region of Central Timor that largely fell within the Dutch sphere in the mid-19th century and included the ritual center Wehali. For Western officials the core area at the south coast was basically a no-go area until the late colonial era. This paper analyses how the three Dutch officials A.G. Brouwer, W.L. Rogge and H.J. Grijzen approached Belunese society in their writings in 1849, 1865 and 1904, respectively. The paper compares their understanding of the ritual role of Wehali, the strategical underpinnings of the colonial project to subordinate ‘virgin’ lands, and their perceptions of colonial ability to develop the human and natural resources of the region. This also raises questions of the intellectual curiosity of the three ‘pioneer’ individuals vis-à-vis their official role, and the extent to which they conform to prevalent Orientalist discourses of the 19th century.
Ruy Cinatti and Timor: the (un)finished thesis in anthropology
Lúcio Sousa Universidade Aberta
Ruy Cinatti studied anthropology at Oxford between 1957 and 1960, then embarked on the preparation of a doctoral thesis in anthropology on Timor. Between 1961 and 1962, he was in Timorese territory carrying out fieldwork. However, despite successive extensions of the deadline throughout the sixties, Ruy Cinatti never submitted his thesis. At the same time, during the years following his field stay in Timor, Ruy Cinatti presents, in 1968, Um Cancioneiro para Timor. This communication intends to explore the interstices of this hybrid conjunction, trying to unveil how the fieldwork carried out fed, at the same time, the narrative strategies of the thesis and the book, granting the poetic discourse of the latter an ethnographic authority.
Timor Island is highly interesting for study of colonial processes due to the presence of two colonial powers during a long period of time (17th to 20th centuries). The experiences of Portuguese and Dutch colonialisms, their connectivities, similarities and differences, is still an understudied field in spite of the extensive source materials. The panel looks at the
Westerners who administered Timor during the late colonial era (19th-20th centuries), their educational backgrounds, experiences, and motivations, and their role in the legislative and administrative changes that Timorese colonial society underwent during the period. It explores the possibilities to write a collective biography of officials as groups of individuals, and strives to capture their mindsets through published or unpublished writings. A comprehensive comparison between the two colonial spheres will have importance for our understanding of Asian colonialism in general and Timor in particular, and thus link to postcolonial theorizing about Western expansion through grounded cases.