Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Religious Affect Through Infrastructure: Water Pipes, Solar Panels, and Organic Farming Transition in the Amis Village of Eastern Taiwan

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor


This paper deals with the parallel discourses on religious devotion and the making of agricultural infrastructure in an indigenous Amis village, Talampo, of Eastern Taiwan. The trend of organic consumption in Taiwan motivates indigenous communities to “re-engage” traditional ecological knowledge with planting skills, bio-formula production, and infrastructure installation through the help of religious NGO such as Presbyterian churches and World Vision. In the making of organic certification and wild vegetable cultivation, farming processes are standardized as TEK is translated into biblical verses.  While the organic farming transition changed the perception of the landscape of indigenous farmers themselves, the community tourism introduced by the NGOs branded to “experience the nature” bring new consumers’ need on indigenous lifestyles, such as staying in the valley without electricity and tap water. Though Talampo Amis farmers are encouraged to bring back their traditional knowledge in the valley of “Dark Tribe”, local bureaucrats provide construction incentives with water pipes and solar panels for imagined development and resource allocation, which stirs new conflict. As the process of organic movement and community revitalization evolves, religious experiences (through dreams and spiritual retreat) and aspires on infrastructure are blended into a new explanation on farmers’ diligence as affective investment to the “promised land.” This paper takes Talampo Amis community in Eastern Taiwan as an example in showcasing the relationships in organic farming transition, consumption of religious affects, and branding of indigenous practices as reflective/resistant alternatives to infrastructural capitalism. 

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4 - Religious Affect Through Infrastructure: Water Pipes, Solar Panels, and Organic Farming Transition in the Amis Village of Eastern Taiwan



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