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Title: Smelling the monsoon: Senses and traditional weather forecasting knowledge among the Kenyah Badeng farmers of Sarawak, Malaysia
Authors: Garay-Barayazarra, Gotzone
Puri, Rajindra K
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge
Traditional forecasting
Climate forecasting
Sensory anthropology
East Malaysia
Issue Date: Jan-2011
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
Series/Report no.: Int. Cl.8: G01W; G03C; AG2; G11
Abstract: The paper describes the rich variety of sensory knowledge associated with weather and climate prediction practices of Kenyah Badeng rice farmers in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Ethnobiological and ethnographic methods were used to document knowledge underpinning traditional forecasting techniques. This body of ethno-climatological knowledge includes the skilled use of bodily senses such as sight, sound, touch and smell to gather information on clouds, wind, temperature, humidity and rain needed to assess present and coming weather. This perceptual information is interpreted with a cultural storehouse of weather/climate-related categories and experiences, and plays an influential role in the scheduling of daily agricultural activities and responding to the threats of extreme climatic variability, such as that brought on by ENSO events every few years. The research demonstrates the importance of thinking of traditional knowledge in broad terms, as much more than the declarative knowledge of wordlists, stories and instructions. The means of engagement with the environment are beyond words, in the realm of embodied skills such as smelling the monsoon.
Description: 21-30
ISSN: 0975-1068 (Online); 0972-5938 (Print)
Appears in Collections:IJTK Vol.10(1) [January 2011]

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