The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory NUBS 2.08
Jul 07, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230707T1100 20230707T1230 Europe/London 9.4. Decolonising Memory of the Dutch East Indies

Over the last several years numerous artists, writers, independent historians, descendants of veterans of the independence war and communities connected to colonial histories have begun to demand recognition of the enduring legacies of Dutch colonialism the Dutch East Indies, present day Indonesia. These recent engagements in memory activism challenge the established knowledges about colonial violence, economic exploitation and racial prejudice. As the fourth largest country in the world and the second largest former colony, Indonesia is a critical site for understanding the enduring impact of colonial rule. In contrast to sustained and radical debates about colonialism in India that date back to the formation of subaltern studies in the 1980s, these debates have been muted in Indonesia. Critical engagement with colonial history has been similarly underdeveloped in the Netherlands, despite its association with international forms of justice. This trend is accentuated by the Netherlands' failure to formally recognise the 1945 Indonesian Proclamation of Independence. In this panel we explore the recent emerging efforts to decolonise colonial memory of the Dutch East Indies as undertaken by national institutions such as Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Indo Dutch writers and filmmakers, and through a multi voiced shared history book co written by an Indonesia and Indo Dutch writer. From different vantage points, all the contributors in this panel explore the complexities of decolonising memory, paying specific attention to multifaceted aspects of dis connections between local, national, and transnational memories. Bio: Ana Dragojlovic is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne. She works at the intersection of feminist, queer, postcolonial and affe ...

NUBS 2.08 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Over the last several years numerous artists, writers, independent historians, descendants of veterans of the independence war and communities connected to colonial histories have begun to demand recognition of the enduring legacies of Dutch colonialism the Dutch East Indies, present day Indonesia. These recent engagements in memory activism challenge the established knowledges about colonial violence, economic exploitation and racial prejudice. As the fourth largest country in the world and the second largest former colony, Indonesia is a critical site for understanding the enduring impact of colonial rule. In contrast to sustained and radical debates about colonialism in India that date back to the formation of subaltern studies in the 1980s, these debates have been muted in Indonesia. Critical engagement with colonial history has been similarly underdeveloped in the Netherlands, despite its association with international forms of justice. This trend is accentuated by the Netherlands' failure to formally recognise the 1945 Indonesian Proclamation of Independence. In this panel we explore the recent emerging efforts to decolonise colonial memory of the Dutch East Indies as undertaken by national institutions such as Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Indo Dutch writers and filmmakers, and through a multi voiced shared history book co written by an Indonesia and Indo Dutch writer. From different vantage points, all the contributors in this panel explore the complexities of decolonising memory, paying specific attention to multifaceted aspects of dis connections between local, national, and transnational memories. Bio: Ana Dragojlovic is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne. She works at the intersection of feminist, queer, postcolonial and affect theory. Her most recent work draws on feminist, affect, memory and critical trauma studies, to investigate the intergenerational effects of gendered violence. She is the author of Beyond Bali: Subaltern Citizens and Post Colonial Intimacy (Amsterdam University Press 2016), co author of Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care (Routledge, 2018, with Alex Broom), and co editor of Gender, Violence, Power in Indonesia Across Time and Space (Routledge, 2020, with Kate McGregor and Hannah Loney). This conference paper forms part of her new joint research project with Professor Katharine McGregor funded by the Australian Research Council entitled Submerged Histories: Memory Activism in Indonesia and the Netherlands. Bio: Katharine McGregor is a Professor in Southeast Asian History at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on memory and violence in modern Indonesian history. She has published extensively on the 1965 violence in Indonesia and gender and violence. Recent books include Gender, Violence, Power in Indonesia Across Time and Space, 2020 with Loney and Dragojlovic (eds) and The Indonesian Genocide: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies (2018) with Melvin and Pohlman. Her forthcoming book, Systemic Silencing: Activism, Memory, and Sexual Violence in Indonesia, to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press focuses on memory and transnational activism for the Indonesian so called 'comfort women'. This conference paper has been prepared as



Katharine McGregor

The Revolusi Exhibition as an Effort to Decolonise the Memory of the Dutch Empire in Indonesia, 

From February to June 2022 the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam hosted the first ever exhibition on the Indonesian Revolution of 1945 1949. The exhibition – Revolusi! was jointly curated by curators Harm Stevens and Marion Anker and two Indonesian guest curators Bonnie Triyana and Amir Sidharta. It drew on art and material cultural collections of the Rijksmuseum relating to the revolution to narrate a range of mostly Indonesian experiences of the revolution. The exhibition represented an effort to decolonise Dutch memory of this chapter of history, which is still sensitive today because it was a failed effort to reclaim part of the Dutch empire. For a long time in the Netherlands Indonesians defending the newly proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia were referred to as 'rebels' and Dutch bombing campaigns used to try and retake territory were referred to as 'police actions.' A series of successful court cases from 2012 filed by the widows of Indonesian men shot by Dutch soldiers in during the revolution led to more critical evaluations of colonial violence. The exhibition attempted to foreground the personal experiences of a range of mostly Indonesian men, especially those who were active in the revolution as either pejuang (independence fighters) or as journalists, writers and artists largely sidelining for the experiences of Indonesian women. It included displays of art from the revolution as well as an evocative contemporary installation by artist Timoteus Anggawa Kusno. This paper analyses precisely how the revolution was remembered in the exhibition. It pays attention to why and how particular experiences were presented and to what extent the longer legacies of the coloniality of power were taken up. The objects on display included artefacts that were taken by Dutch officials and military intelligence. With plans for the exhibition to travel on to Indonesia in 2023 the paper asks how the story of the revolution and particularly the violence of the revolution, which provoked controversy in the Netherlands, will be framed? And perhaps most importantly, what will happen to the


 Ana Dragojlovic

'The Journey of Belonging': Re membering and Decolonising Gendered Memories of Dutch Colonialism in Indonesia

As a part of the recent efforts to decolonise memory of the Dutch colonialism in the Dutch East Indies, in 2021 a book entitled The Journey of Belonging: A Herstory Between Time and Space, was published by Indo Dutch writer and historian Lara Nuberg and Indonesian writer and visual artist Lala Bohang. The book was produced as a part of a larger collaborative arts project entitled 'My Story Shared History' initiated in 2019 by third generation descendants of people who lived through the violent decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies. This project was funded and supported by the Indische Herinneringscentrum (Indo Dutch Remembrance Centre); DutchCulture, a network focusing on international cultural cooperation; and Komunitas Salihara, an Indonesian community arts centre, founded by the critical writer, and poet Goenawan Mohamad. Nuberg and Bohang, like the other participants in 'My Story Shared History' used the concept of 'multi voiced shared history' to intervene into public debates based on the view that the writing of colonial history has been dominated by white male historians and tended to exclude Indonesian voices. Throughout The Journey of Belonging Nuberg and Bohang explore what might be binding them together, and how such bonds might be in need or rethinking of how 350 years of Dutch presence in the Indonesian archipelago is remembered today. In this paper, I offer a close reading of The Journey of Belonging, through the lens of decolonial feminist efforts to not only make visible marginalised histories and voices, but to offer new frames of looking as a way of re membering otherwise. Bio: Ana Dragojlovic is Associate Professor in Gender Studies at the University of Melbourne. She works at the intersection of feminist, queer, postcolonial and affect theory. Her most recent work draws on feminist, affect, memory and critical trauma studies, to investigate the intergenerational effects of gendered violence. She is the author of Beyond Bali: Subaltern Citizens and Post Colonial Intimacy (Amsterdam University Press 2016), co author of Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of


Julia Doornbos (co-authors: Bettina van Hoven and Peter Groote)

"We have a shared history": roots travel to Indonesia across Indo-European generations, 

This paper focuses on how decolonial memory work of three Indo-European generations is embedded in roots travel to contemporary Indonesia. We use the notion of roots tourism to refer to tourism to ancestral homelands to 'experience heritage at the personal level'. While the notion of roots tourism has gained scholarly attention, multiple diasporic generations are often studied as a single phenomenon. By analysing life story interviews with Indo-Europeans from the first, second and third generation within twenty-one families, this article examines the motivations, expectations, lived experiences and meanings of their travels, and how they relate to the current trends to decolonize memory of the Dutch East Indies. The multigenerational nature of the empirical data enables differentiation across diasporic generations, and highlights generational nuances and interlinkages in Indo-Europeans' senses of belonging, positions within larger colonial family histories and approaches to decolonizing memory. We argue that ancestries, and personal and collective memories of the colonial Dutch East Indies connect various Indo-European generations to contemporary Indonesia. The accounts reveal both personal and familial transformations, as travels potentially fostered engagements with own or familial traumatic pasts, disrupted familial practices of silences or sparked interests to travel or (re)discover one's Indonesian heritage.
Bio: Julia Doornbos is a PhD candidate in the department of Cultural Geography, at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences and lecturer at University College Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the everyday geographies of Indo-Europeans across the Netherlands and intergenerational transmissions of colonial family histories. Her current research interests include diaspora and (forced) migration, identities, senses of belonging, everyday (family) life and in- and exclusion.

professor
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The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor in Gender Studies
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The University of Melbourne
PhD candidate / Lecturer
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University of Groningen
professor
,
The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor in Gender Studies
,
The University of Melbourne
Chancellor's Fellow
,
University of Edinburgh
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