'If God is with us, who can be against us?' Christianity, cosmopolitics and living with difference in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Abstract: This paper puts two bodies of work– the anthropology of Christianity and literature on ‘indigenous cosmopolitics’ – in dialogue by exploring Christianity as a form of political critique and engagement among Bidayuhs in Malaysian Borneo. Drawing on fieldwork on a dam-construction and resettlement project, I examine the imbrication of both God and Christian morality with a group of affected villagers’ long-running struggle to resist the whole scheme. I suggest that far from turning away from the politics of a domineering, developmentalist government, their efforts entail an attempt to reframe the terms of their engagement with the state. At the same time, I consider the implications of these Bidayuhs' cosmopolitical project for anthropological approaches to difference and pluralism. 

Departmental Seminar Michaelmas Term 2017

Fridays, 3.30pm, Lecture Theatre, 64 Banbury Road

Convened by Morgan Clarke and Chris Morton.