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ʼCollaboration is a Very Delicate Conceptʼ: Alliance-Formation and the Colonial Defence of Indonesia and Malaysia, 1945-1957

Dates:
  • Mon 08 May 2017 15.00 - 17.30
  Add to Calendar 2017-05-08 15:00 2017-05-08 17:30 Europe/Paris ʼCollaboration is a Very Delicate Conceptʼ: Alliance-Formation and the Colonial Defence of Indonesia and Malaysia, 1945-1957

‘ Collaboration is a Very Delicate Concept : Alliance-formation and the Wars of Independence in Indonesia and Malaysia, 1945-1957’ is a case study in the interface between late colonial empires and colonized societies. Unlike traditional studies that continue to focus on British or Dutch (military-political) efforts to open specific avenues towards independence, the thesis analyses how local elites, their constituencies or individuals determined and navigated their own course—through violent insurgencies—towards independence. The thesis dispenses with (colonial) notions of ‘loyalty’ and ‘colonized-colonizer’. Instead, it takes the much more fluid concept of local alliance-formation and combines it with theories on territorial control to elucidate why certain individuals or groups co-operated with colonial authorities one moment only to switch to the freedom fighters’ side the next. In showing the complexities and ambiguities of association, the thesis advocates and executes an agenda that transcends the narrow political-diplomatic scope of decolonization to restore the agency and motivations of local political parties, communities and individuals. The red thread throughout the thesis, then, is that Indonesians, Chinese and Malays pursued their own, narrow—often violent—interests to survive and secure a (political) future beyond decolonization. Ultimately, the limits of alliance-formation are probed. The search for territorial control by colonial and anti-colonial forces necessitated zero-sum outcomes to pre-empt alliance breakdowns. As such, coercion remained the major motivational force during decolonization: coercion local communities participated in more than has been hitherto acknowledged in relation to the decolonization of Southeast Asia.

Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

‘ Collaboration is a Very Delicate Concept : Alliance-formation and the Wars of Independence in Indonesia and Malaysia, 1945-1957’ is a case study in the interface between late colonial empires and colonized societies. Unlike traditional studies that continue to focus on British or Dutch (military-political) efforts to open specific avenues towards independence, the thesis analyses how local elites, their constituencies or individuals determined and navigated their own course—through violent insurgencies—towards independence. The thesis dispenses with (colonial) notions of ‘loyalty’ and ‘colonized-colonizer’. Instead, it takes the much more fluid concept of local alliance-formation and combines it with theories on territorial control to elucidate why certain individuals or groups co-operated with colonial authorities one moment only to switch to the freedom fighters’ side the next. In showing the complexities and ambiguities of association, the thesis advocates and executes an agenda that transcends the narrow political-diplomatic scope of decolonization to restore the agency and motivations of local political parties, communities and individuals. The red thread throughout the thesis, then, is that Indonesians, Chinese and Malays pursued their own, narrow—often violent—interests to survive and secure a (political) future beyond decolonization. Ultimately, the limits of alliance-formation are probed. The search for territorial control by colonial and anti-colonial forces necessitated zero-sum outcomes to pre-empt alliance breakdowns. As such, coercion remained the major motivational force during decolonization: coercion local communities participated in more than has been hitherto acknowledged in relation to the decolonization of Southeast Asia.


Location:
Sala del Camino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Supervisor:
Prof. Dirk Moses

Examiner:
Prof. Lucy Riall
Prof. Peter Romijn (NIOD, Amsterdam)
Prof. Martin Thomas (University of Exeter)

Defendant:
Roel Frakking (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

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