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Janowski, Monica (2015) 'The Dynamics of the Cosmic Conversation: Beliefs about Spirits Among the Kelabit and Penan of the Upper Baram River, Sarawak.' In: Arnhem, Kaj and Sprenger, Guido, (eds.), Animism in Southeast Asia. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 181-204. (Routledge Contemporary Southeast Asia Series)

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This chapter explores what beliefs and practices about spirits can tell us about conceptualizations of the nature of cosmic reality among these two peoples: the Kelabit of the Kelabit Highlands, Sarawak, who live at the headwaters of the Baram River, and the Eastern Penan who live to the east of the Baram River in areas surrounding the Kelabit Highlands. It suggests that there is the potential for a more equal relationship between people and forest spirits/animals in Southeast Asia too. In Penan, a range of terms are used to describe what would be described in English as the spirits of humans, animals, trees and places: beruen or sahe for human spirits, penakoh for tree spirits and bale for other spirits. The Kelabit converted to Christianity during the period from the Second World War until the so-called 'Revival' in 1973, and the Penan are also now at least nominally Christian, though some Western Penan have adopted the syncretic Bungan religion.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISBN: 9781315660288
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 11:25

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