Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor, Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor, 0813574102, 0-8135-7410-2, 978-0-8135-7410-3, 9780813574103, , Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights, Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor, 0813574110, 0-8135-7411-0, 978-0-8135-7411-0, 9780813574110, , Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights, Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor, 0813574129, 0-8135-7412-9, 978-0-8135-7412-7, 9780813574127, , Genocide, Political Violence, Human Right
Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor

Douglas Kammen (Author)
252 pages, 6 photographs, 11 figures, 2 maps, 3 tables, 6 x 9
Cloth, August 2015 $55.95   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, August 2015 $55.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, August 2015 $41.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Series: Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights
Subject Area:
Human Rights, Anthropology


One of the most troubling but least studied features of mass political violence is why violence often recurs in the same place over long periods of time.  Douglas Kammen explores this pattern in Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor, studying that region’s tragic past, focusing on the small district of Maubara. 
Once a small but powerful kingdom embedded in long-distance networks of trade, over the course of three centuries the people of Maubara experienced benevolent but precarious Dutch suzerainty, Portuguese colonialism punctuated by multiple uprisings and destructive campaigns of pacification, Japanese military rule, and years of brutal Indonesian occupation. In 1999 Maubara was the site of particularly severe violence before and after the UN-sponsored referendum that finally led to the restoration of East Timor’s independence. Beginning with the mystery of paired murders during East Timor’s failed decolonization in 1975 and the final flurry of state-sponsored violence in 1999, Kammen combines an archival trail and rich oral interviews to reconstruct the history of the leading families of Maubara from 1712 until 2012. 
Kammen illuminates how recurrent episodes of mass violence shaped alliances and enmities within Maubara as well as with supra-local actors, and how those legacies have influenced efforts to address human rights violations, post-conflict reconstruction, and the relationship between local experience and the identification with the East Timorese nation. The questions posed in Three Centuries of Conflict in East Timor about recurring violence and local narratives apply to many other places besides East Timor—from the Caucasus to central Africa, and from the Balkans to China—where mass violence keeps recurring.


"Far too late, the savagery of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor finally reached public awareness, leading to Indonesian withdrawal after a final paroxysm of terror.  There has by now been serious scholarly study of this terrible period.  Douglas Kammen’s microhistorical reconstruction of the last few centuries in one important region, and his firsthand analysis of recent crimes and their aftermath, deepens these inquiries considerably.  It reveals intriguing layers of complexity both of the actual historical events and of the ways they are refracted within cultural memory and interpretation, shaping actions and their motives in intricate ways.  The conclusions about East Timor, and the general approach, generalize quite broadly to the study of mass violence.  An illuminating study."
—Noam Chomsky

"Kammen has done a valuable service in complicating the literature on East Timor through a fascinating, detailed, and revealing microhistory of an important and interesting locality."

Author / Editor Bio

DOUGLAS KAMMEN is an associate professor at the National University of Singapore. He is co-editor of the volume The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965-1968.

Table Of Contents

Note on place names, personal names, and spelling
Glossary and abbreviations
Introduction:  Situating Recurrent Mass Violence
1.    Contested Origins
2.    Maubara and the Dutch East India Company
3.    Vassalage and Violence, 1861-1887
4.    The Uprising and Devastation of 1893
5.    High Colonialism and New Forms of Oppression, 1894-1974
6.    The End of Empire and the Indonesian Occupation, 1974-1998
7.    Serious Crimes and the Politics of the Past, 1999-2012


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