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Rutherford, Danilyn Fox 1997 Raiding the land of the foreigners: Power, history and difference in Biak, Irian Jaya, Indonesia , PhD Dissertation, Cornell University (published).
    © Danilyn Fox Rutherford, 1997. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.

This dissertation was published in December 2002 by Princeton University Press (Princeton) as:
Raiding the Land of the Foreigners: The Limits of the Nation on an Indonesian Frontier [amazon.com].


This dissertation examines how the people of Biak, Irian Jaya, Indonesia have reproduced a distinctive mode of relating to outsiders throughout a long history of contact with powerful polities to their west. Taking up a familiar problem in Southeast Asian studies, in an unexpected place, the author delves the historical roots and political implications of the cultural logic thorough which Biaks transform what is foreign into a source of value, identity, and authority. Drawing on twelve months of historical research in Holland, and eighteen months of fieldwork on Biak Island, the study is divided into two sections: the first examining the localization of foreign elements in the context of Biak family life, performance, and oratory; the second exploring how the logic behind contemporary practices reproduced itself across the ruptures marked by Koreri, the messianic movement that recurred in response to colonial and postcolonial efforts to bring the region and its inhabitants into the 'modern' world. The author concludes that, in Biak at least, instead of fading under the force of the contemporary state, the localization of foreign elements his proven remarkably resilient. Biaks recreate the 'foreignness' of the encompassing political order in the very act of raiding it for power and prestige, thus reinscribing, in unexpected ways, a sharp distinction between local and national points of view.


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