This lecture is about the political traditions of the people in the interior of Sumatra (principally the Batak and Minangkabau people) in precolonial times, and how studying these traditions for many years has influenced my ideas about a sustainable future as I have expressed in my new book. I believe that, if we as humanity want to be ready to face the looming existential threats (e.g., climate change, potential for nuclear war and many others), we need to be able to coexist peacefully and cooperate stably on a global scale, which is not possible under the constraints of the current political paradigm. Knowledge of the political traditions of the Sumatran people will not provide us with all the answers for the future we must face, but it can provide us with a different narrative. Their history can show us that - despite what might seem impossible from our current point of view - people can organize themselves in a politically sustainable way which does not depend on military force, conquest and on a dominant government. As I argue, some principles distilled from their political traditions are worthwhile discussing in the context of the discourse about our common future.
Johann Angerler (PhD University of Leiden) is an independent researcher associated with the KITLV. He was previously associated with the Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Programme (LEAD), Faculty of Science, University Leiden and is author of „Bius, Parbaringin und Paniaran. Über Demokratie und Religion bei den Toba_Batak Nordsumatras" and „A World People's Representation for a United Humanity. A Thought Experiment". His main research interest is concerned with Sumatran cultures, especially traditional political and religious institutions and with questions of globalization and global political development. He can be contacted via his website johannangerler.com
This will be a hybrid lecture: