Special Seminar (Dr. Christine Padoch)

Date and Time: November 10 (Friday), 2017 14:00-15:00
Venue: Tonantei, 2rd Floor, Inamori Memorial Building, CSEAS, Kyoto University

Title: Return to Nanga Jela/Pemulai ke Nanga Jela
Speaker: Dr. Christine padoch, Visiting scholar, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

In 1984/5 the Iban longhouse at Nanga Jela on Sarawak’s Engkari River, along with 21 other communities that once housed a combined population of about 3000 persons disappeared beneath the waters of a lake created by the Batang Ai Dam. In addition to peoples’ homes an estimated 8500 ha of farmlands, orchards, rubber gardens, forests, graveyards and beaches were obliterated. With these landscapes a large part of the history of one of the longest-occupied Iban territories in Sarawak was drowned. Many of the residents took up residence in resettlement areas developed by government authorities near the dam site. Others left for other parts of Sarawak, and their descendants scattered around the world.
Three decades after this event, and over 40 years since doing research in the area, Padoch, together with a group of ex-residents and descendants of Nanga Jela is engaged in a process of reconstructing parts of that submerged history and helping those resettled reconstitute an Engkari and Nanga Jela identity. Employing the tools of social media, the diverse and geographically dispersed community is sharing what images exist of the longhouse, the landscape, as well as of past activities and residents. They are also exchanging genealogical information, gathering local data and reminiscences, and planning events to further the process. Padoch will discuss several aspects of this process, especially the use of social media, as well as some insights into the specific effects of the forced resettlement and dispersion.

Christine Padoch has spent more than 40 years carrying out research on smallholder patterns of agriculture and forest management, as well as on settlements and migration in the humid tropics, principally in Amazonia and Southeast Asia. Between 2011 and 2017 she directed the Research Program in Forests and Livelihoods at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Previous to that she held the position of the Matthew Calbraith Perry Curator of Economic Botany at the New York Botanical Garden. She is the author or editor of a dozen books and approximately 100 scientific articles. Christine Padoch has served as a scientific advisor to many international projects and has been a member of the boards of several international research institutions, including CIFOR, the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research (IPAM), and the Earth Innovation Institute (EII). She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University.

Moderator: Noboru Ishikawa, CSEAS