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“Imagi(nations) of Timor-Leste: ‘Onde o Sonho e a Saudade se Confundem’”

Author Barbara BRAVO
Director of thesis Professor Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis My research project entitled “Imagi(nations) of Timor-Leste: ‘Onde o Sonho e a Saudade se Confundem’” intends to be an ethnographic account of what it means to be a Timorese in the midst of the implementation of the United Nations project of nation-building in Timor-Leste. Accordingly, this project aims to offer a contribution to a twofold gap in the literature about the country. On the one hand there is an “ethnographic gap” resulting from the Indonesian policy of refusing anthropologists entry to Timor during the period of occupation from 1975 until independence in 1999. On the other hand, there is an overwhelming prevalence of political scientists and international relations scholars in the production of academic work about Timor-Leste since independence in the aftermath of an international intervention in 2000. Overall, this twofold gap does not only represent a problem due to the lack of anthropological approaches to such a specific case as the one presented by Timor-Leste. It also points to a general tendency to portray the Timorese case as a successful case of nation-building that has been efficient in the production of a nation where supposedly there was none before, and a sense of Timorese identity without precedence in history. In this context, I intend to look at the question of how Timorese identity is articulated under the legal apparatus recently established by the international community in the country, which does not correspond to traditional legal systems and mechanisms of conflict resolution, nor to local understandings of law and rights.
Administrative delay for the defence