Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

« Alois Bucher, Borneo anthropologist and musical missionary. A restless life in the Müller Mountains, the Swiss Alps, and St. Peter’s Basilica »

Abstract : Swiss anthropologist Alois Bucher, unknown to most of his colleagues, certainly spent more time doing fieldwork among nomadic and formerly nomadic groups of interior Borneo than any other. Between 1965 and 1975 he crisscrossed the Müller mountain range, collecting among these groups a variety of data-ethnographic, historical, oral literature, music-hardly any of which was ever located, let alone published. In 1981, one of us (BS) submitted to this Bulletin a short article (unpublished) partly based on the oral testimonies of the local people, among which Bucher had reached the status of a legendary figure. Twenty-seven years later, new, follow-up research (by AL) in Switzerland unexpectedly allowed for a considerably enriched reconstruction of Alois Bucher's life and deeds in Borneo. Young Alois' deeply religious background, rich and complex inner life, and mystical inclination led him to wish to become a missionary. After two years in a Swiss seminary and higher theological studies, he took a PhD in Ethnology (1963) at Fribourg University, and some time later left for Borneo as a mission school teacher. Then, in the course of an exotic decade marked by restless travel, quixotic tricks and manic antics, he turned away from teaching to focus on agricultural extension work, anthropological and linguistic research among Punan. Back in his native Alps, he became Büchel-Wisi, an itinerant missionary, original musicologist, and well-known folk musician performing on streets and in churches from central Switzerland until St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. This article makes use of all available information to explore an extraordinary character's many facets.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [99 references]  Display  Hide  Download

https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02566670
Contributor : Hélène Poitevin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 11:23:07 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 3:11:17 AM

File

2015_Alois_Bucher_Borneo_anthr...
Files produced by the author(s)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : halshs-02566670, version 1

Citation

Adrian Linder, Bernard Sellato. « Alois Bucher, Borneo anthropologist and musical missionary. A restless life in the Müller Mountains, the Swiss Alps, and St. Peter’s Basilica ». Borneo Research Bulletin, Borneo Research Council, 2015, 46, pp.264-302. ⟨halshs-02566670⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

59

Files downloads

109