CRCS&ICRS Wednesday Forum: “Marapu, Nature and Natural Disaster”

Dear CRCS & ICRS students, faculty and guests, We kindly invite you to participate in the CRCS & ICRS Wednesday Forum of this week. Wednesday forum will have Jimmy Marcos Immanuel as the speaker who will talk about “Marapu, Nature and Natural Disaster”. Some information about this forum can be read as follows.

Date: Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Time: 12.30 pm – 2.30 pm (free lunch)
Venue: Room 306, UGM Graduate School Teknika Utara, Pogung
Speaker: Jimmy Marcos Immanuel, S.Si-Teol.


Over the past two decades there have been several ecological phenomena in East Sumba such as locust pest/Locusta Migratoria Manilensis (1998-2005), Tai Kabala grass/Chromolina odorata (2006), whirlwind (2007), earthquakes (2007 and 2009), famine (2007), and barrenness or drought (every year). These events are categorized as natural disasters according to several scholars’ definitions (Mohhammer H.I. Dore dan David Edkin, 2003) and also according to the Indonesian government’s policy on natural disaster (Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 24 Tahun 2007 Tentang Penanggulangan Bencana/ Law of Republic of Indonesia Number 24 / 2007 about Disaster Management).

Wunga village, deemed to be the place the Sumbanese ancestors arrived at when they first came to Sumba, was also affected by the disasters mentioned, and was hit especially hard. By using ethno-ecology approach, the present research found that Wunga people, who are 85,4% Marapu (the local religion in Sumba) followers, have created their own meanings (based on Emic view) for natural disasters that differ from the views of scholars and from the Indonesian government’s policy as the global perspective. This difference stems from the creation by the Wunga people of their own taxonomies and perspectives on their ecology. This paper aims to answer questions about how the Marapu followers in Wunga village view their own vulnerable ecology, what meanings and behavioral responses the Marapu followers in Wunga village ascribe to natural disasters, and the factors that contribute to the formation of these meanings and behaviors.

This research was funded by Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies through Competitive Research Grant “Interpretations and Responses on Natural Disaster: The Integrative Studies of Science, Religion and Culture”? in 2009.


The forum is free of charge and on a first-come-first serve basis.

About the Speaker:

Jimmy Marcos Immanuel is an MA student at CRCS.

Contact Persons:

Elis Z. Anis (ICRS):,; Lina Pary (CRCS):; Maria Ingrid (CRCS/ICRS):


This post is also available in: Indonesian


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