Opening keynote – DS Farrer

Martialité: Art, Performance, and Religion 

  • Keynote Speaker: DS Farrer (Visiting Scholar at Palau Community College) – Martialité: Art, Performance and Religion

While preparing a new research project on the Palauan archipelago, I continue to write up the findings from earlier fieldwork concerning art, performance, and martial arts in Malaysia, Singapore, and Guam. Indigenous religion, in tandem with martial arts are reported as all but ‘extinct’ in Micronesia, an assumption that I have previously challenged. Nevertheless, respecting ethnographic discretion in the maintenance of secret traditions, and in recognition of pioneering French research, I consider a study in martialité as an alternative to martial arts. Inspired by last year’s Martial Arts Studies conclave, followed by a year on Palau, I offer some tentative remarks and initial typologies of martialité. My aim is to help reconfigure the horizons of possibility for research into martial arts, religion, and spirituality, indicate the dangers of toxic martialité, and consider a study of martialité in the Palauan archipelago.

Keywords: Martialité, spirit, warrior poses, rock art, bodily resonances, Belau

Bio & Contact:

DS Farrer is a social and visual anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of art and performance in Micronesia and Southeast Asia. He authored Shadows of the Prophet: Martial Arts and Sufi Mysticism (2009), edited War Magic: Religion, Sorcery and Performance (2016), and co-edited Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World (2011). Dr. Farrer’s current research regards art worlds and spiritual friendship in Malaysia, and embodied martialité, art and performance in Palau.

Video presentation