Type d'événement, date(s) et adresse(s)Colloque
Scheer on 9 Feb, 6 pm (Berlin).
Her talk is entitled "Contested spirit relations: Cambodian highland
Protestants at the crossroads of indigenous activism and Christian reform".
Catherine Scheer "Contested spirit relations: Cambodian highland Protestants at the crossroads of indigenous activism and Christian reform"
“Contested spirit relations: Cambodian highland Protestants at the crossroads of indigenous activism and Christian reform”
Dr. Catherine Scheer
École française d'Extrême-Orient, Paris
When indigenous activists take the floor in Cambodia to claim collective land rights, they often invoke the spirits living in their territories. As the Bunong inhabitants of a highland commune in the province of Mondulkiri saw their fields and forests being swallowed up by rubber plantations in 2009, they relied on collective claims to try to safeguard what was left of their land. However, for those who had converted to evangelical Protestantism, this endeavour involved more than bureaucratic challenges. It raised questions about their relations with spirits whom they had come to demonize, which were further complicated by reformist Christian teachings.
I propose to reflect upon how the convergence of the Cambodian government’s normative mobilization of spirits within the politico-legal arena and foreign missionary efforts to “indigenize” Bunong Christianity have affected these Protestant indigenous highlanders’ ways of relating to the world. Drawing on field research carried out since 2008 with Bunong villagers, and in particular with local Protestant activists, with the indispensable support of Neth Prak, I argue that we not only need to consider the unsettling effects of Christianization methods, but also of standardized animist relations, when they are integrated into the governance of difference.