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A Conquista de Baucau (dos Santos 1967)
Extract from Dos Santos, E. (1967) Kanoik: Mitos e Lendas de Timor, Lisboa: Ultramar.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jan-1967 25-Jun-2015
Engaging Communities in Resource Development Initiatives in Timor Leste
In light of Timor-Leste's turbulent history and present-day circumstances, this paper explores the manner in which Timorese communities have been able to engage in the resource development process since the country achieved independence in 2002. We examine a proposed large-scale resource development scheme in the district of Lautem in the country's far east to establish, in a place-based context, the complex relationship between incoming tropes of modernity and extant customary knowledge and resource use. In light of these complexities, we argue for more holistic and effective consultation processes, as well as procedural consistency, in relation to the socio-ecological assessment of large projects in Timor-Leste. 

 Carvalho, D.A.and PALMER, L. 2012 'Engaging Communities in Resource Development Initiatives in Timor Leste' in Langton M. And Longbottom, J. (eds) Community Futures, Legal Architecture, Routledge, London, pp 251-268
Lisa Palmer 01-Sep-2012 24-Jun-2015
Enlivening development: Water management in the post-conflict city of Baucau, Timor Leste
This paper explores how the state and others involved in the 'development enterprise' in Timor Leste are (mis)recognizing the potential of the existing environmental governance and exchange capacities of local customary institutions and practices in relation to water supply and management. Examining the problematic of water supply in a post-conflict city, it examines the intermesh of the customary, state and market sectors and ponders how customary institutions might be better supported to extend their range of political and economic credibility and contribute to a reconfiguration of dominant community-managed water supply models. The paper draws on the political and economic theory developed by Gibson-Graham (2006) and draws out in a particular place based instance the workings of a diverse economy where a customary economy is enmeshed with, and to some extent undermining, a weak capitalist sector. The paper argues that a failure to address issues of resource ownership and control and to engage the strengths and import of local customary institutions will have serious ramifications for the successful implementation of Timor Leste's national development objectives in the city of Baucau and elsewhere in Timor Leste. Instead it argues for an enlivened development approach wherein locally socialised landscapes are recognised as credible political sites with which 'development' can engage and power relations can shift.
Lisa Palmer 01-Dec-2010 01-Jun-2015
Exploring the Tensions of Nation Building in Timor Leste. Proceedings from the Forum
At the University of Melbourne on the 15 the September 2006, around 40 Timorese and Australian academics, representatives of civil society organizations and others, came together for a one-day forum aimed at exploring the underlying causes of the 2006 crisis and the tensions of nation building in Timor-Leste. Central to our discussions and deliberations were themes of governance, social and political processes, development, land and natural resource management and environmental, human security, justice and legal frameworks.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jul-2007 01-Jun-2015
Fundacao do Reino de Vemasse
Extract from Dos Santos, E. (1967) Kanoik: Mitos e Lendas de Timor, Lisboa: Ultramar.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jan-1967 25-Jun-2015
Hamatak Halirin: The cosmological and socio-ecological roles of water in Koba Lima, Timor
The cosmological and socio-ecological roles of water, in particular spring water, have not been the subject of sustained analysis in the anthropological literatures of the eastern archipelago. Taking as our starting point the central role of water in the origin narratives and ritual practices of Koba Lima, a coalition of five ancient kingdoms located across the division of East Timor and Indonesian West Timor, we explore the profound cosmological meanings and many layered understandings of life and death associated with water. We argue that in this nuanced socio-ecological world, water is the blood and milk of the mother transformed into life itself through father fire. It is through these transformative capacities connected to water that the boundaries separating the visible and invisible worlds can be permeated, enabling the living access to matak malirin or good health and productive life force. The paper is both a contribution to the literature on archipelagic socio-cosmic dualisms and a unique ethnography which presents new material on the significance of water in this region.
Lisa Palmer 01-Dec-2012 01-Jun-2015
Joao Lere and the Ritual of the Rain
Extracts from Correia, Armando, P. 1934 Gentio de Timor. Lisboa
Lisa Palmer 27-Mar-2012 24-Jun-2015
Land access and livelihoods in post-conflict Timor-Leste: no magic bullets
In Timor-Leste, customary institutions contribute to sustainable and equitable rural development and the establishment of improved access to and management of land, water and other natural resources. Drawing on multi-sited empirical research, we argue that the recognition and valorization of custom and common property management is a prerequisite for sustainable and equitable land tenure reform in Timor Leste. In a four-community study of the relationship between land access and the practice of rural livelihoods in eastern and western districts of Timor-Leste, where customary management systems are dominant, we found different types of traditional dispute resolution, with deep roots in traditional forms of land management and with varying levels of conflict. The article shows how customary land tenure systems have already managed to create viable moral economies. Interviewees expressed a desire for the government to formalize its recognition and support for customary systems and to provide them with basic livelihood support and services. This was more important than instituting private landholding or state appropriation of community lands, which is perceived to be the focus of national draft land laws and an internationally supported project. We suggest ways in which diverse customary institutions can co-exist and work with state institutions to build collective political legitimacy in the rural hinterlands, within the context of upgrading the quality of rural life, promoting social and ecological harmony, and conflict management.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Luca and We Hali (Lia Dadolin=Poetic Verse)
(Narrator: David Amaral (lia na'in), Uma Kan Lor, Luca)Loro tolu babulu tolu ba Loro SaenThree dominions, three kingdoms are to the East 

Loro tolu babulu tolu ba Loro TobanThree dominions, three kingdoms are to the West

Loro tolu babulu tolu Loro SaenThree dominions, three kingdoms of the East

Too TututalaExtends to Tutuala

Loro tolu babulu tolu Loro TobanThree dominions, three kingdoms of the West

Too Loro Suai ba sai Kupang Extends to Suai dominion down to Kupang

Loro tolu babulu tolu Loro SaenThree dominions, three kingdoms of the East

Loro tolu babulu tolu Loro Toban.Three dominions, three kingdoms of the West.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jun-2015 01-Jun-2015
Lulik Encounters and Cultural Frictions in East Timor: Past and present
In the East Timorese lingua franca, Tetun, the word lulik is often simply translated as 'sacred' or 'forbidden'.But the concept has much wider application as a set of fundamental, philosophical and moral orientations in Timorese social life. In this paper we present six historical and contemporary encounters with lulik, by a range of outsiders from beyond the Timorese tradition. Placed in the context of Sahlin's notion of 'the structure of the conjuncture', they illustrate the way lulik agency adapts to novel or contingent events in culturally inflected ways, and how ideas of lulik may be configured as agents of resistance as well as enabling strategies.
Lisa Palmer 01-Dec-2014 01-Jun-2015
Makasae Rice Harvest Ritual
Extract from Correia, Armando, P. 1934 Gentio de Timor. Lisboa
Lisa Palmer 27-Mar-2012 24-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 02-Jun-2015 24-Jun-2015
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Modernising water: articulating custom in water governance in Australia and Timor-Leste
This paper has four aims:

1.To describe the customary water governance systems of two neighbouring countries (Australia and Timor Leste), each at a different stage of reforming their water sectors

2.Examine the difficulties faced in asserting indigenous and local rights to control waterscapes 

3.Reveal lessons 

4.Illustrate 2 themes relating to empowerment:

•Recognition and prioritisation of community managed systems

•Inclusion of ethical concerns and people/nature inter-relationships
Lisa Palmer 30-Nov-2012 01-Jun-2015
Myths of Baucau (various extracts)
Dos Santos, E. (1967) Kanoik: Mitos e Lendas de Timor, Lisboa: Ultramar.
Correia, A. (1935) Gentio de Timor, Lisbon: Agência-Geral das Colónias.
(translated by Christopher Shepherd)
Lisa Palmer 08-Jun-2015 08-Jun-2015
Nation building and resource management: The politics of ‘nature’ in Timor Leste
This paper examines the role of custom and tradition in the process of nation building and resource management in post-independence Timor Leste (East Timor). While customary land tenure is alluded to but not explicitly recognized under the Timorese Constitution, it is clearly stated that all natural resources are owned by the State. However, this paper argues that rather than waiting for the government to create land and resource management related laws, local people in Timor Leste are making and remaking their own laws, mobilizing their customary practices and, increasingly, 'performing' their traditions in public demonstrations of their extant capacities. In part, this process can be read as a way of enticing in outsiders, making them a party to the law making process, a witness to its legitimacy. Often critical to such processes, is the ability of local level leaders to draw in outsiders through their engagements with the idea of 'nature'—a concept which allows diverse interests to come together in conversation and build relationships despite what is often a dissonance in the meanings and priorities attributed to the concept (see Tsing, 2005). The paper focuses on a view from the margins—Tutuala in the far east of the country—and ways in which this community is attempting to both resist and embrace the developmental hegemony of a centrist state. This, it is argued, is a case which demonstrates the power of the local (both ritually and politically) to shape and intervene in the national development process and the associated discourses of nature preservation.
Lisa Palmer 01-Oct-2008 01-Jun-2015
Reconceptualising ecosystems services: Towards an ethics of care
This paper responds to a recent call for geographers to engage with the ecosystem services concept which is an increasingly dominant global model for environmental policy and management. We focus on its economic exchange mechanism, payment for environmental services (PES), and reject the conventional notion of it as either an economic or environmental strategy. Rather than treating a disaggregated nature as the 'fixed stock' of eco-system services, we value instead actual human and non-human interrelations and practices and focus on how we might reconfigure the socio-cultural relations between people and nature as the valued stock.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jun-2015 01-Jun-2015
The hydrosocial cycle revisited
In its account of a regional hydrosocial cycle thoroughly integrated by notions of 'inclusive sociality' and associated spirit ecologies, this paper focuses on a still powerful local origin narrative linked to the sea and the generations of beings that emerged from it. It links this to the pre-eminence given to locally generative 'bodily' ontologies practiced through carefully attending to long-standing socio-cosmic relations. Drawing on the concept of ethnogeomorphology, it argues that there is an urgent need for diverse modalities of water governance to recognize and engage with locally embedded social and political institutions as well as the vibrant life forces which inhabit multiple forms, times and spaces.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
The modern origins of traditional agriculture in Timor Leste
The origin of swidden systems is typically portrayed as pre-colonial, pre-nationalist and pre-developmentalist tradition, subsequently interrupted and eroded by colonial exploitation and post-colonial technoscience in favour of market agriculture. A recent counter-position to this 'anteriority model' presents swidden as reactionary 'refuge agriculture' in search of remote locations to circumvent state accountability (Scott 2009). A third model traces swidden agricultural processes as a 'dual economy' of both subsistence and commodity production. This paper examines these approaches through a study of maize and rice in eastern (Portuguese) Timor, where a particular type of environmentally damaging swidden system and colonialism are shown to be co-emergent. Accommodating new archival data and adding detail to the established position on Timor's agricultural history, it is proposed that the early 20th century was an important phase in the extension and dominance of maize in Portuguese Timor; and while far-reaching modification to rice cultivation is generally associated with the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, it is shown that the early 20th century was also a major developmental period for this grain. It is further suggested that dynamics of agricultural change have differed across the colonial divide between Portuguese and Dutch Timor. The paper calls for more comparative research on the divided island of Timor.
Lisa Palmer 01-Jun-2015 02-Sep-2015
Water Cosmologies
Documenting the holistic, poetic and many layered understanding of being linked to water, this paper interweaves ethnographic insights with the socio-cosmic dualisms found at the heart of Timorese and other eastern archipelagic societies. Exploring the unique capacities of water in this particular regional environment, and the ways that people connect with and adapt to it, expands our understanding of the productive frictions and efficacy of these spiritual ecologies and the ways in which such an inclusive human-nature sociality actually works. It is argued that water is central to both the expression of cosmological ideas and the understanding of life itself.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Water Pathways
Drawing out the import of a localized social ontology of water, this paper carefully considers the ways in which the regional waterscape, associated topography, underground pathways and meteorological phenomena are locally interpreted and interacted with. It argues that such processes are critical to local social and political identity formation and integration, as well as enabling insight into power and local governance configurations across time and space. In these complex engagements between people, ancestral spirits and place, the actual and metaphorical fluidity of movement with and through water demonstrates the multiple life-giving qualities of springs and the dependencies of people on them.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Water Politics and Spiritual Ecology: Introduction
The culmination of a decade of ethnographic research in Timor Leste, this book addresses a critical need for a sustained geographical and anthropological inquiry into the social issues of water governance. Exploring the ritual ecological practices, contexts and scales through which use, negotiation over and sharing of water occurs at the local level, this book shows the complex functioning and social, cultural, economic and environmental interdependencies of hydrological societies in the eastern region of Timor Leste. It examines the difficulties local communities face in having their rights recognised and their efforts to maintain and assert control of their waterscapes in the face of rapidly changing water governance institutions.

Integrating the concept of spiritual ecology with a critical analysis of the hydrosocial cycle, this introduction examines the ways in which modern water governance regimes have engaged with custom and tradition in Timor Leste and elsewhere.
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 24-Jun-2015
Water Relations and Rice Irrigation
Spring water is a critical element through which people relate to one another and their ancestors. This paper traces the import of water and associated spirit ecologies to the production of wet-rice examining complex social, political, economic and environmental fluidities and continuities across time and space. It analyses the foundational moral economy and variously embodied beings under whose auspices irrigated rice production is enabled and local water and knowledge politics plays out. It argues that such customary economies are generative of long standing modes of environmental governance and co-operation.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Water Relations: Customary Systems and the Management of Baucau City’s Water
Palmer, L. 2011 Water Relations: Customary Systems and the Management of Baucau City's Water. In Land and Life in Timor-Leste: Ethnographic Essays, (eds.) A. McWillam & E. Traube. Pp 141-162. Canberra: ANU E-Press.
Lisa Palmer 01-Dec-2011 24-Jun-2015
Water, Independence and the renegotiation of customary relations
The post-independence renaissance of custom in Timor Leste is both vibrant and challenging. Examining the issues which confronted customary water governance in the late twentieth century and those that surround the independence era reassertion of ancestral identities and relationships, this paper sheds light on the multiple ways these worlds are being (re)negotiated. It argues that while substantial resources have been invested in building modern water governance regimes, consideration of the the dynamism, creativity and hold of custom on local people's lives, as well as the complex socio-ecological variables impacting on the use and management of these water resources, has been hazardously overlooked.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Water, Kinship and War
Water is central to local accounts of colonial settlement and trade and oral histories link spring water to inter-regional conflict as well as anti-colonial sentiment and resistance. These distinctive regional narrative genres and associated practices suggest that throughout the colonial period, spring water continued to play a central role in the contestations over power and place and was a key enabler of both war and peacemaking. This agency of water, and people's relations with it through the hydrosocial cycle, is shown to continue to recalibrate relations into the present.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015
Watery Histories
Engaging with indigenous accounts of the region's history, this paper argues that spring water and associated mythologies have critical historical import and agency. Drawing on rich ethnographic data, mythic modalities and accompanying historical vignettes and conundrums are woven together to produce a 'general account' of the region's settlement history. What emerges from this search for narrative cohesion and a general account are the ways in which localized narratives are continually interceded by the agency of water and fire. Taken as a whole the chapter demonstrates how this life giving liquidity of water and transformative radiance of fire are, in combination, forever recasting life and responding to historical contingency.

If you would like to access this paper please email: lrpalmer@unimelb.edu.au
Lisa Palmer 24-Jun-2015 02-Jul-2015