CSEAS Colloquium:Becoming Stronger: Christianity and Endogenous Transformation in West Papua

Date & Time: Thursday 28 July, 2022, 13:30-15:00

Venue: Middle-sized Meeting Room, 3F,
Inamori Foundation Building, Kyoto University

Title: Becoming Stronger: Christianity and Endogenous Transformation in West Papua
Speaker: DALE, Cyprianus Jehan Paju

The adoption and adaptation of Christianity by indigenous communities in the Global South has resulted in a deep cultural transformation of those societies. Through a study of the Kingmi Church of West Papua, this presentation sheds light on the political dimension of that cultural transformation.
Combining both Christian and indigenous cultural elements, Papuans of Kingmi Church develop their own religious discourse, delink Christianity from its colonial entanglements, and use the church as an institutional framework for self- and social empowerment. This endogenous transformation evolves around the discursive practice of “to transform oneself to become stronger” and orients itself towards decolonization and self-determination.
In this presentation I argue that an ethnography of endogenous transformation illustrates a social change that is not primarily the result of the internalization of Christian moral narratives and semiotic ideologies, but rather from an active agency of Indigenous population and their political projects.

Cypri Jehan Paju Dale is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University, Japan. He earned his Ph.D. at the Institute of Social Anthropology at Bern University, Switzerland in 2018 with a dissertation entitled “Development as Self-Determination: Anti-colonial Struggles, Endogenous Transformation, and the Role of Christianity in West Papua.” At CSEAS, he is working on a book manuscript from his dissertation while embarking on a new research project on conservation, ecotourism and climate change in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. This presentation is part of his book project.