Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Introduction: spiritual landscapes of Southeast Asia

By Catherine Allerton

Abstract

This Introduction foreshadows the main themes of this special issue on spiritual landscapes of Southeast Asia. Throughout Southeast Asia, links exist between spirit beings or potent energies and particular sites in the landscape, including trees, mountains and rivers. These are highlighted in this collection of papers via the notion of 'spiritual landscapes'. This concept also broadens anthropological approaches to the religious significance of the landscape, by problematising the separation of 'natural' and 'cultural' environments while sidestepping the implication that something called 'sacred geography' can be separated from the pragmatic activities of daily life. Following an ethnographic overview of spirit-places and environmental forces in the region, I discuss our need to take more seriously the claims of many Southeast Asian people that their landscapes have agency. In the context of religious conversion, the agency of the landscape often becomes a central concern, as reformers and missionaries seek to 'purify' the environment of such spiritual power. However, in addition to 'purification', ongoing conversion may also involve new forms of conversation with the landscape, including re-enchantments, religious syntheses or reassertions of the landscape's potency

Topics: DS Asia, BL Religion, GN Anthropology
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1080/00664670903278387
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:26782
Provided by: LSE Research Online

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1963). [1903]. Primitive classification, edited by Rodney Needham. doi
  2. (1956). [1942]. Conceptions of state and kingship in Southeast Asia. Data paper number 18. Southeast Asia Program, doi
  3. (2008). 1 This Special Edition is based on an original panel on ‘Spiritual Landscapes of Southeast Asia’, held at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference,
  4. 1998.Caging the rainbow: Places, politics and Aborigines in a north Australian town. Honolulu: doi
  5. (2002). 6 By contrast with such an assumption, Knappett draws on alternative cognitive perspectives which stress that ‘the mind is embodied, and that the mind is extended’
  6. (2007). A world of water: rain, rivers and seas in Southeast Asian histories. doi
  7. (1996). Afterword: Spirits and their histories. In Spirits in culture, history and mind, edited by doi
  8. (2001). Afterword. In Emplaced myth: Space, narrative and knowledge in Aboriginal Australia and Papua New Guinea, doi
  9. (1995). and Merlan
  10. (1999). Animism’ revisited: Personhood, environment and relational epistemology. doi
  11. (1997). Archaeology between the invention and the destruction of landscape. doi
  12. (1998). Art and agency: An anthropological theory. doi
  13. (1998). Beneath the volcano: Religion, cosmology and spirit classification among the Nage of eastern Indonesia. doi
  14. (1970). Buddhism and the spirit cults in North-East Thailand. Cambridge: doi
  15. (1967). Burmese supernaturalism: A study in the explanation and reduction of suffering. Englewood Cliffs, doi
  16. (2007). Christian moderns: Freedom and fetish in the mission encounter. Berkeley: doi
  17. (2003). Creative land: place and procreation on the Rai coast of Papua New Guinea. doi
  18. (2005). Do glaciers listen? Local knowledge, colonial encounters, and social imagination. doi
  19. (1995). Do rocks listen? The cultural politics of apprehending Australian Aboriginal labor. doi
  20. (1996). Excluded spaces: The figure in the Australian Aboriginal landscape. doi
  21. (1993). Faces in the clouds: A new theory of religion. Oxford: doi
  22. (2000). Fields of the lord: Animism, Christian minorities, and state development in Indonesia. Honolulu: doi
  23. (2003). Founders’ cults in Southeast Asia: Ancestors, polity and identity. doi
  24. (2000). Generating energies in Mount Apo: Cultural politics in a contested environment. Manila: Ateneo de
  25. (1993). Hanging without a rope: Narrative experience in colonial and postcolonial Karoland. doi
  26. (2008). Houses in motion: The experience of place and the problem of belief in urban Malaysia. Stanford: doi
  27. (1979). Indigenous religious systems of the Malay peninsula. In The imagination of reality: Essays in Southeast Asian coherence systems,
  28. (2003). Ini masih kerajaan (This is still a kingdom): Sacred geography and social drama in Yogyakarta. In Sacred places and modern landscapes: Sacred geography and social-religious transformations in South and Southeast Asia,
  29. (2006). Introduction: The anthropology of Christianity. In The anthropology of Christianity, edited by F. Cannell, 1-50. Durham and London: doi
  30. (2002). Introduction. In The potent dead: ancestors, saints and heroes in contemporary Indonesia, doi
  31. (1989). Islam in Java: Normative piety and mysticism in the sultanate of Yogyakarta. Tucson: doi
  32. (1997). Knowing your place: Representing relations of precedence and origin on the Buru landscape. In The poetic power of place: Comparative perspectives on Austronesian ideas of locality, edited by
  33. (1996). Lambek has stressed how the ‘pragmatic dimension’ is always relevant to ideas about spirits: people are less likely to ask ‘Which of these spirits exist?’ than ‘Which of them has power to influence my life now?’
  34. (1995). Land, people and paper in Western Amazonia. In The anthropology of landscape: Perspectives on place and space,
  35. (2001). Landscape and commerce: creating contexts for the exercise of power. In Contested landscapes: movement, exile and place,
  36. (1997). Landscape in sight: Looking at America. Edited by H. Lefkowitz Horowitz. New Haven and London: doi
  37. (1993). Landscape: politics and perspectives. doi
  38. (2003). Let’s hope the bile is good. In The art of rice: Spirit and sustenance in Asia,
  39. (1900). Malay magic: An introduction to the folklore and popular religion of the Malay peninsula. doi
  40. (2007). Materiality in materials. doi
  41. (2005). Materiality. Durham and London: doi
  42. (2007). Materials against materiality. Discussion article. doi
  43. (2003). Missions and omissions of the supernatural: Indigenous cosmologies and the legitimisation of ‘religion’ in Indonesia. doi
  44. (1993). Muslims through discourse: Religion and ritual in Gayo society. doi
  45. (1980). Negara: The theatre state in nineteenth-century Bali. doi
  46. (2007). Of gods and monsters: Indigenous sea cosmologies, promiscuous geographies and the depths of local sovereignty. In A world of water: Rain, rivers, and seas in Southeast Asian histories, edited by doi
  47. (2002). Photographs, skeuomorphs and marionettes: some thoughts on mind, agency and object. doi
  48. (1986). Pintupi country, Pintupi self: sentiment, place and politics among Western Desert Aborigines. doi
  49. (1999). Power and intimacy in the Christian Philippines. Cambridge: doi
  50. (1999). Property, Substance and Effect: Anthropological Essays on Persons and Things.
  51. (1971). Reading the landscape: An appreciation of W.G. Hoskins
  52. (2003). Sacred places and modern landscapes: Sacred geography and social-religious transformations in South and Southeast Asia.
  53. (1995). Sacred trees and haunted forests in Indonesia particularly Java, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Asian perceptions of nature: A critical approach,
  54. (1986). Sacrifice and sharing in the Philippine highlands: Religion and society among the Buid of Mindoro. London: doi
  55. (1997). Signs of recognition: Power and hazards of representation in an Indonesian society. doi
  56. (1988). Southeast Asia in the age of commerce, 1450-1680. Vol 1: The lands below the winds. London: doi
  57. (1976). Tetum ghosts and kin: Fieldwork in an Indonesian community. doi
  58. (2003). The anthropology of conversion: An introduction. In The anthropology of religious conversion, edited by A. Buckser
  59. (2000). The Berlin key or how to do words with things.
  60. (2003). The concept of ‘sacred geography’: Its origin and scope. In Sacred places and modern landscapes: Sacred geography and social-religious transformations in South and Southeast Asia,
  61. (1984). The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. doi
  62. (1985). The country and the city. London: Chatto
  63. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. doi
  64. (2000). The forest of taboos: Morality, hunting and identity among the Huaulu of the Moluccas. doi
  65. (1988). The iconography of landscape. Cambridge: doi
  66. (2004). The materiality of stone: Explorations in landscape phenomenology. doi
  67. (2000). The memory of trade: Modernity’s entanglements on an eastern Indonesian island. Durham and London: doi
  68. (2000). The perception of the environment: Essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. doi
  69. (2003). The relevance of the founders’ cult for understanding the political systems of the peoples of northern Southeast Asia and its Chinese borderlands.
  70. (1960). The religion of Java. doi
  71. (2002). The signature of terror: Violence, memory and landscape at Freeport. In Inscribed landscapes: Marking and making place, edited by
  72. (2003). The supernatural is everywhere: defining qualities of religion in Melanesia and beyond. Special issue, ‘Perspectives on the category “supernatural”’, doi
  73. (2003). Transformations and continuities: Sacralization, place and memory in contemporary Bangkok. In Sacred places and modern landscapes: Sacred geography and social-religious transformations in South and Southeast Asia,
  74. (2003). Turning the belly: Insights on religious conversion from New Guinea gut feelings. In The anthropology of religious conversion,
  75. (1993). We have never been modern. doi
  76. (1979). Where have all the rituals gone? Ritual presence among the Ranau Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia. In The imagination of reality: Essays in Southeast Asian coherence systems,
  77. (1996). Wisdom sits in places: Landscape and language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: doi
  78. (1976). World conqueror and world renouncer: A study of Buddhism and polity in Thailand against a historical background. Cambridge: doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.