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Living, as It Were, in the Stone Age

From: Indonesia
Number 95, April 2013
pp. 1-7 | 10.1353/ind.2013.0004



Danilyn Rutherford reflects on the myth that the Papuan inhabitants of western New Guinea are still living in the Stone Age. She suggests how this assumption has shaped the territory's history, not to mention the research of scholars like herself. Her current research is showing how the Stone Age fantasy stems from Dutch officials' experiences of intimacy and vulnerability while attempting to extend colonial rule in the highlands. The case of West Papua invites us to tell a new story about colonialism: one that begins with weakness, not strength.