Living with the dead in Tana Toraja

Married into the Toraja tribe of Indonesia, anthropologist Kelli Swazey sees their seemingly bizarre death rituals as meaningful communal experiences that celebrate the value of human life. Sharing insights from her study of other indigenous tribes such as the Bajau of Southeast Sulawesi, Swazey compels us to re-evaluate our notions of knowledge, education, and development.

Recorded at INK2013, Kochi, Kerala

About the Speaker

Kelli Swazey

Kelli is an American-born cultural anthropologist based in Indonesia, whose work focuses on the role of the media in the construction of religious identity. With a strong belief in the potential of new media to change perspectives, she is launching a collaborative platform to facilitate the circulation of stories and voices from the communities of Eastern Indonesia. Her work has landed her in interesting situations - she once lived with and studied the Toraja people of South Sulawesi, whose practice it is to live with the mummified bodies of their deceased relatives.

View Profile



Explore More Talks