Journal article

An East Timorese Domain: Luca from Central and Peripheral Perspectives

Susana Barnes, Hans Hagerdal, Lisa Palmer

Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde | Brill | Published : 2017


The East Timorese kingdom Luca is described as the hegemon of the eastern parts of Timor in some nineteenth-century works. This is gainsaid by other data, which point to the existence of a multitude of petty kingdoms. This article scrutinizes Luca’s claim to power from a number of angles, utilizing European records and contemporary anthropological fieldwork. First, we analyse the claims of the centre as reflected in colonial and indigenous narratives. Second, we investigate narratives from the ‘periphery’, that is, the minor adjacent domains of Vessoro and Babulo. Third, we offer a comprehensive discussion of Luca’s role from a wider geographical perspective. In this way we produce a ‘genera..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We acknowledge all of those people within Timor Leste and elsewhere who so generously enabled, and contributed to, this research. In particular, we thank Balthasar Kehi for his translation of the ritual verse recounted in Tetum by the lia nain of Luca, David Amaral. Palmer acknowledges the Australian Research Council, which provided the necessary funds to carry out her long-term field research, and Hagerdal furthermore acknowledges the Concurrences research network at Linnaeus University.