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Portuguese Education under Indonesian Rule

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Comportment, Elite Formation and Resistance in East Timor

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This essay suggests that the East Timorese experience of Indonesian occupation and its aftermath may be more fully understood by exploring the influence of missionary education in the late-colonial Portuguese period. Tracing this influence through the Indonesian period, it examines the case of a Jesuit-established school in which the language of instruction was Portuguese. In this setting, ‘comportment’ was a part of elite formation, taught and assimilated by association. The significance and problems of ‘comportment’ are addressed through this case by discussing its relation to a colonial idea of ‘civilisation’, and in the broader social context of colonial educational reforms and changes in East Timor’s society across the twentieth century.

Affiliations: 1: Independent Scholar, UK


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