Re-membering the minority: tourism, displacement, and belonging in Maluku’s Spice Islands

Abstract

In post-conflict Maluku, there has been renewed interest in redeveloping the Banda Islands as a major tourist attraction for the region, and as a world heritage site. As practices of tourism represent culture for diverse audiences, they also inform how local inhabitants conceptualize their identities, as well as influence the processes of collective memory. The Indonesian concepts of culture draw on relationships to land, community and cosmology referred to as adat that have a dynamic and complex relationship to people’s religious identifications. In this talk, I’ll explore how Christians displaced from the Banda islands during the conflict are being “re-membered” as outsiders in the process of reconstructing culture for the consumption of tourists, and consider how representations of culture for the tourism industry can potentially strengthen exclusive versions of local identity.

Speaker

Kelli Alicia Swazey is a faculty member at the Center for Religious and Cross-Cultural Studies at the Graduate School of Universitas Gadjah Mada. She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Hawai’i Manoa. Her research focuses on identity in the public sphere, representation and the media, minority religions in Indonesia, and religion and tourism. She has designed several programs on diversity in Southeast Asia, and has been a featured TED speaker and a fellow of the INK (Innovation and Knowledge) program. 

Look at the full poster of the event here.

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