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Visible and Invisible Realms

Power, Magic, and Colonial Conquest in Bali

In 1908, the ruler of the Balinese realm of Klungkung and more than 100 members of his family and court were massacred when they marched deliberately into the fire of the Dutch colonial army. The question of what their action meant and its continued significance in contemporary Klungkung forms the basis of Margaret Wiener’s complex anthropolological history.

Wiener challenges colonial and academic claims that Klungkung had no "real" power and argues that such claims enabled colonial domination. By focusing on Balinese discourses she makes clear the choices open to Balinese, both at the time of the Dutch conquest and in its narration. At the same time, she shows how these discourses, which revolve around magical weapons acquired from invisible agents such as gods, spirits, and ancestors, offer an alternative understanding of Klungkung’s power.

Moving between Balinese and Dutch narratives and between past and present, Wiener critiques colonial accounts by recounting Balinese memories and interpretations. Her attention to history and local situations illuminates the ways in which colonialism and orientalist scholarship have obscured the power of indigenous rulers and shows how Klungkung, once Bali’s paramount realm, was relegated to a peripheral corner of the Indonesian nation-state. Both as a fascinating story and as a rich example of interdisciplinary scholarship, this book will interest students of colonialism, anthropology, history, religion, and Southeast Asia.

460 pages | 6 halftones, 5 maps | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Asian Studies: General Asian Studies, Southeast Asia and Australia

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1: Power and Knowledge
1: Introduction
2: Colonial Representations of Klungkung
3: The View from Klungkung Power and the Invisible World
4: Making History: Balinese and Colonial Practices of Knowing
5: The Badad Dalem: The Sources of Klungkung’s Power
2: The Colonial Encounter
6: Klungkung and the Dutch, 1840-1849: Encounters with Hegemony
7: The Kusamba War
8: The Dutch and Klungkung, 1849-1908: Relations of Knowledge and Power
9: The Destruction of the World
10: "Finishing"
11: The Empty Land
Epilogue: A Reinvented Klungkung
Appendix: Genealogies


Society for Humanistic Anthropology: Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing

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