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Dragons In The Waters Of Borneo: Power, Protection And Threat
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 19:00
Beliefs about snake-like water spirits or dragons are ubiquitous in SE Asia, and Borneo is no exception. These beliefs derive from east and west, from the Chinese lung and the Indian naga, as well as from an earlier stratum of beliefs deriving from both an Austronesian and a pre-Austronesian heritage. In 2017 I began research on these beliefs in Sarawak and I will discuss some of these here. These spirits are closely associated with water and its power both to fertilize and to destroy, and this is reflected in complex beliefs around their relationship with humans.
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Chris Knight is best known for having developed the 'sex-strike' theory of human biological and cultural origins. Instead of attempting to explain human nature and social life piecemeal, one theory for the incest taboo, another for language, yet another for religion and so forth, Knight's approach is designed to join up the dots. Spectacularly confirmed by recent discoveries in population genetics and archaeology, this is one of the few successful attempts to put together the big picture, explaining religion, language, sexual morality and the whole range of distinctively human characteristics on the basis of one simple idea.