Fruit Trees, Family Trees, and Landscape Change: The Durians of West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Nancy Lee Peluso, University of California, Berkeley
Durian trees are known by their Southeast Asian producers to be kings and queens of the forest. The trees and their fruits are revered in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Durian's giant, spiny fruits grow on branches high above forest canopies as well as in backyard gardens. They are icons of family, inheritance, and landscape history in Borneo: more than one fight over the ownership of these trees has been recorded in customary court files or remembered through the many generations that durian trees live and produce. The siren scent of durian flowers and the ripe fruit have inspired poetry and fantastical prose by the tree's admirers and nose scrunching or curses by those less seduced by it. Love it or hate it, the tree is a socially and ecologically spectacular component of the living and working landscapes of Indonesian Borneo.
About the Presenter
Nancy Lee Peluso
is Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy, University of California, Berkeley. She has been known to begin a lecture by taking a machete to a durian fruit. She is a political ecologist and has studied natural resources and landscape change in Indonesia for several decades. Her love of Indonesia and durian and its many social lives began in Java but sustained her through research in East and West Kalimantan.
Please note: South Hall doors open at 9:30 am.
OTHER LECTURES IN THIS SERIES
The Harmonic Forest: Musical Structures Heard as Trees
The First Satyagraha: Gandhi's Campaign Against Indigo Plantations in Early 20th-Century India
The Story of the Camellia
Jute and Peasant Life in the Bengal Delta
Durian and Landscape Change in West Kalimantan, Indonesia
The Japanese Basket 1845–1958: Mirror of Modernity
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