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12.00  Moral Responsibility and Resident Heritage Activism: Trowulan Residents’ Inhabitation of a Heritage Landscape in East Java, Indonesia

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9:00, Monday 6 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

Trowulan is a sub-district in East Java, Indonesia, and the site of the thirteenth- to fifteenth-century Majapahit Empire.  As a kingdom that established relationships across the contemporary boundaries of Indonesia, the Majapahit is an important nationalist symbol. Majapahit artifacts have provided a moral obligation and source of authority to colonial and then national bureaucracies since Raffles noted their presence in 1815. Trowulan includes an estimated ninety-nine square kilometres of underground remnant buildings and artifacts.  While the state has undertaken a variety of measures since Raffles’ discovery, this paper argues that the activism of local people has been a more effective form of heritage conservation and management. Drawing from Tim Ingold’s (2011) perspectives on landscape, inhabitation and materiality, I will examine the responses of residents to the presence of artifacts, and how their sense of moral responsibility for these items shaped their inhabitation of the landscape in ways that are difficult for state agencies to see. I will focus on two categories:  Majapahit artifacts and their regulation and value amongst residents; and the differences between the regulation of monumental and local sites.  

Dr Tod Jones


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