Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty Profiles

National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

Office: AS1/04-16
Email: socroxan@nus.edu.sg
Tel: 6516 3723
Fax: 67779579
Homepage: http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/socroxan/
| Brief Introduction | Current Research | Research Interests | Publications

Brief Introduction Top

I took my B.A. (1976) and Ph. D. (1981) in Social Anthropology at New Hall, Cambridge, and have done fieldwork with the Sa'dan Toraja people of Sulawesi (Indonesia) since 1978. In 1983-84 I worked as curator of the anthropology collections in the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. I have been resident in Singapore since 1984 (originally as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies), and have been teaching in the Department of Sociology since 1987.   My principle research interests are in the ethnography of Indonesian societies, the anthropology of architecture, and currently, life histories and the politics of social memory.  I also teach courses on ethnographic film and how to use digital video as a research tool. My newest research involvement is in the ethnography of childhood.

Current Research Top

Ethnography of the Sa'dan Toraja of Sulawesi, Indonesia; social memory; life histories; visual anthropology; ethnography of childhood.

Research Interests Top

Southeast Asian ethnography, Indonesian societies (esp. the Sa'dan Toraja of Sulawesi), Anthropology of architecture, Social memory, Life Histories, Visual anthropology, Kinship systems, Indigenous religions and social change, Ethnography of childhood.

Publications Top

    The Living House: An Anthropology of Architecture in South-East Asia. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1 January 1990. 284 pp. 3rd Edition: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

    Paths and Rivers:  Sa'dan Toraja Society in Transformation. Leiden: KITLV, 2009.

    The Architecture of Southeast Asia Through Travellers' Eyes. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1998.

    Southeast Asian Lives: Personal Narratives and Historical Experience. Singapore: NUS Press, 2007.

    ‘The ideology and terminology of kinship among the Sa'dan Toraja.’ Bijdragen tot de Taal, Land en Volkenkunde, 142, no.1 (1986): 87-112.

    ‘The house and the world: The symbolism of Sa'dan Toraja house carvings.’ RES (Peabody Museum, Harvard, Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics), no.15 (1988): 34-60.

    ‘Mythical cloths: Toraja textiles in the National Museum of Singapore collection.’ Heritage (National Museum Journal, Singapore) 9 (1988): 3-24.

    ‘Hornbill, naga and cock in Sa'dan Toraja woodcarving motifs.’ Archipel, 38 (1989): 53-73.

    ‘Using Houses as history in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi (Indonesia).’ People and Physical Environment Research, 39/40 (January /April 1992): 15-21.

    ‘Taking the place of sorrow: The dynamics of mortuary rites among the Sa'dan Toraja.’ Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, 21/2 (1993): 73-96.

    ‘Houses, graves, and the limits of kinship groupings among the Sa'dan Toraja.’ Bijdragen tot de Taal, Land en Volkenkunde,51, 2 (September 1995): 194-217.

    ‘Entertaining a Dangerous Guest: Sacrifice and Play in the Ma'pakorong Ritual of the Sa'dan Toraja.’ Oceania, 66, 2 (December 1995): 81-102.

    ‘Holding Back the Mountain: Historical Imagination and the Future of Toraja-Bugis Relations.’ Antropologi Indonesia (Indonesian Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology), 24/ 63 (Sept-Dec 2000): 65-81.

    ‘A Toraja Pilgrimage: The Life of Fritz Basiang.’ Indonesia and the Malay World, 29, 83 (March 2001): 5-50.

    Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian-Woon, ‘The Work of Memory and the Unfinished Past: Deepening and Widening the Social Study of Memory in Southeast Asia.’ Asian Journal of Social Science (Special Issue on ‘Contestations of Memory in SE Asia’, edited by Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian-Woon). Vol 29 no 3, November 2001.

    'Trajectories of Memory:Documentary Film and the Transmission of Testimony". History and Anthropology, 18/1 (March 2007): 51‑73

    'Reconciliation as Ritual: Comparative Perspectives on Innovation and Performance in Processes of Reconciliation', Humanities Research (July 2009).

    'Testimony, Trauma and Performance: Some Examples from Southeast Asian Theatre', Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (October 2010).  

    ‘Migration, "tradition", and change in some vernacular architectures of Indonesia.’ In Dwellings, Settlements and Tradition: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, edited by J P Bourdier and N Alsayyad, pp.477-501. New York: University Press of America, 1989.

    'Houses and the built environment in island South-East Asia: Tracing some shared themes in the uses of space.’ In Inside Austronesian Houses: Perspectives on Domestic Designs for Living, edited by Fox, James, pp.220-235. Canberra: Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific Studies, 1993.

    'Houses and hierarchies in island Southeast Asia.’ In About the House: Lévi-Strauss and Beyond, edited by S Hugh-Jones and J Carsten, pp.47-68. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    ‘The Contested Landscapes of Myth and History in Tana Toraja.’ In The Poetic Power of Place: Comparative Perspectives on Austronesian Ideas of Locality, edited by James Fox, pp.63-90. Canberra: Department of Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1997.

    ‘House, Place and Memory in Tana Toraja (Indonesia).’ In Beyond Kinship: Social and Material Reproduction in House Societies, edited by Rosemary Joyce and Susan Gillespie, pp.177-188. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

    ‘Enduring Landscape, Changing Habitus: The Sa’dan Toraja of Sulawesi, Indonesia’, in: Jean Hillier & Emma Rooksby (eds.), Habitus: A Sense of Place. pp.317-338. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002.

    ‘The Immortality of the House in Tana Toraja.’ In The Changing House in Southeast Asia, edited by Signe Howell and Stephen Sparkes. pp.34-52. London: NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies), Copenhagen with Curzon Press, 2003.

    ‘Gathering Speed: Transport and the pace of Life.’ In Past Times: A Social History of Singapore, 1819-1965, edited by Chan Kwok Bun and Tong Chee Kiong. pp.103-121. Singapore: Times Publishing Group, 2003.

    'Introduction: Analysing Personal Narratives', In Southeast Asian Lives:  Personal Narratives and Historical Experience, ed. Roxana Waterson, p.1‑36.  Singapore/Athens, Ohio: NUS Press/Ohio University Press, 2007. 

    'A Toraja Pilgrimage: The Life of Fritz Basiang',  In Southeast Asian Lives:  Personal Narratives and Historical Experience, ed. Roxana Waterson, p.122‑76.  Singapore/Athens, Ohio: NUS Press/Ohio University Press, 2007.

    Ritual and Belief among the Sa'dan Toraja. University of Kent, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Occasional Paper, No. 2, 1984. 73 pp.

    What to Celebrate in the United Nations Year of Indigenous Peoples?. Working Paper, No.117. Singapore: National University of Singapore, Department of Sociology, October 1993. 50pp. (A review of the current political problems faced by the indigenous populations within nation-states).

    Beazley, H., J Ennew, S Bessel and R Waterson, 'Comparative Research on Physical and Emotional Punishment of Children in Southeast Asia and the Pacific 2005: Regional Protocol', 2005. Bangkok: Save The Children.

     Beazley, H., J Ennew, S Bessel and R Waterson, What the children say: Results of comparative research on physical and emotional punishment of children in Southeast, East Asia and the Pacific in 2005. Research Report. Bangkok: Bangkok: Save the Children Sweden, 2006. 211 pp. (Outcome of an 8‑country comparative and participatory study with children, submitted as part of the UN Secretary‑General's Study on Children and    Violence, 2006.).


    DOCUMENTARY VIDEO:  'When the Sun Rises: A Toraja Priest of the Ancestral Way.'  (66 mins) 2008.   Shot, edited and produced by Roxana Waterson. (Selection, Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival,   Germany (May 2008), and the Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival (September 2008).

    'Sulawesi: Architecture'; 'Tana Toraja: Introduction, history, the Tongkonan. In Sulawesi: The Celebes, edited by Toby Volkman & Ian Caldwell, pp.50-51, 117-125. Singapore: Periplus, October 1990.
    'Ancestral Motifs'; 'Fertility Motifs'; 'Vegetal Motifs'; `Indonesia (West)'; `Indonesia (East)'; `Atoni'; ‘Magarai'; `Roti'; `Sasak'; `Savu'; `Tanimbar'. In Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World|, edited by Paul Oliver. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
    `Nature, religion, cosmology and life'; `Pile foundations'; `Extended roof ridge'; `Construction technique and rites'; `"Great houses" of the Minangkabau'. In Encyclopaedia of Indonesian Heritage (Vols. on The Human Environment, & Architecture), edited by Didier Millet. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 1998.
    'Rituals of House and Perahu' and 'Toraja Traditions'. In Encyclopaedia of Indonesia Heritage (Volume on Religion and Ritual), edited by Fox, James. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 1998.
    "Houses and Settlements im Lombok". In Encyclopaedia of Indonesian Heritage (Architecture Volume). Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 1998.
    'The Austronesian House: Ancient Antecedents' and 'The Austronesian House: Contemporary Models. In Encyclopaedia of Malaysia,(Vol. 15: Architecture). Kuala Lumpur: Editions Didier Millet, 1998.

  •   Last Modified: 2012-02-06         Total Visits: