Between 1999 and 2000, sectarian fighting fanned across the
eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku experienced leaving
thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. What began as
local conflicts between migrants and indigenous people over
administrative boundaries spiraled into a religious war pitting
Muslims against Christians and continues to influence communal
relationships more than a decade after the fighting stopped.
Christopher R. Duncan spent several years conducting fieldwork in
North Maluku, and in Violence and Vengeance, he examines
how the individuals actually taking part in the fighting understood
and experienced the conflict.
Rather than dismiss religion as a facade for the political and
economic motivations of the regional elite, Duncan explores how and
why participants came to perceive the conflict as one of religious
difference. He examines how these perceptions of religious violence
altered the conflict, leading to large-scale massacres in houses of
worship, forced conversions of entire communities, and other acts
of violence that stressed religious identities. Duncan's analysis
extends beyond the period of violent conflict and explores how
local understandings of the violence have complicated the return of
forced migrants, efforts at conflict resolution and
Subjects: Religion, History, Anthropology
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