To cite this article: Macknight, C. C. 2016. Christian Pelras and his work: 17 August 1934–19 July 2014. In Orality, writing and history: The literature of the Bugis and Makasar of South Sulawesi, ed. Druce, S. C. International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies 12 (Supp. 1): 7–11, http://dx.doi.org/10.21315/ijaps2016.12.s1.2
Those of us who work in the human sciences are, of necessity, involved with the task of interpretation: interpreting the past to the present, interpreting the ways of “others” to our own society, or even interpreting our own society to itself. Bugis society in the second half of the 20th century was fortunate indeed to have had Christian Pelras as its interpreter. He himself describes the work of ethnology as “a dialogue between our culture and the culture of others” (Pelras 2010: 7). For the most part, he wrote for a scholarly Francophone audience but, as time went on, more of his writing appeared in English and some in Indonesian.