Printer Friendly

Becoming Christian and Dayak: a Study of Christian Conversion among Dayaks in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Connolly, Jennifer, 2004, Becoming Christian and Dayak: A Study of Christian Conversion among Dayaks in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Ph.D. thesis (Cultural Anthropology). New School University.

This dissertation explores the social impact and cultural meaning of Christian conversion among Dayaks, the indigenous people of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The findings are based on eighteen months of fieldwork in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, as well as archival research conducted at the Christian Missionary Alliance's National Archives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A variety of methods were used to collect data, including surveys, participant observation, interviews, the collection of life histories and conversion narratives, and documentary research.

The research revealed that conversion is a complex process motivated not only by social and political expediency, but also by the desire to gain access to a new supernatural realm; by some groups' cultural receptivity to Christian messages; and by personal ties and circumstances. As Dayaks have converted, they have learned new religious practices and discourses which have gradually re-shaped their consciousness and religious identity.

This new Christian identity, as well as East Kalimantan's changing social terrain, have aided in the formation of a pan-Dayak ethnic identity. Given the Indonesian state's requirement that citizens belong to one of five state-sanctioned religions, conversion also helps Dayaks claim a place in the nation. In addition, Christian conversion has emerged as a way for the politically and economically marginal Dayaks to maintain their ethnic boundaries and re-negotiate their social status vis-a-vis Malay Muslims. In particular, Dayaks argue that, as adherents to a religion of love and truth, they are morally superior to Muslims. However, by contributing to the maintenance of an oppositional ethnic and religious identity, Christianity perpetuates Dayak subordination.

Furthermore, Christian conversion strengthens the boundaries between Muslims and Dayaks. Dayaks particularly fear intermarriage between Muslim men and Christian women which they believe threatens the integrity of the Christian community. Muslim-Christian relations become a gendered hierarchy in which Muslims are potent male predators and Dayaks are their docile female prey (Winzeler database online).
COPYRIGHT 2004 Borneo Research Council, Inc
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:332
Previous Article:Soil Erosion and Slope in Primary and Selectivity Logged Rain Forest in Danum Valley, Malaysia.
Next Article:The Function of Adult Male Long Calls in Wild Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) (Indonesia).
Topics:


Related Articles
Zahorka, Herwig, Die Erschliessungsfronten auf Borneo (Kalimantan) 1937 bis heute. Soziookonomische, ethnographische und okologische...
Kerry B. Collison, Indonesian Gold.
Gonner, Christian 2002. A Forest Tribe of Borneo: Resource Use among the Dayak Benuaq.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters