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‘A special friendship’: traces of the queer in sources about girls’ education in the Netherlands Indies, c. 1900-1940

Dates:
  • Fri 22 Mar 2019 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2019-03-22 15:00 2019-03-22 17:00 Europe/Paris ‘A special friendship’: traces of the queer in sources about girls’ education in the Netherlands Indies, c. 1900-1940

While same-sex desire often functions as a trope in writings about girls’ education, especially in boarding schools, source material produced by adults tends to be silent about this topic. In my own research project, which focuses on indigenous girls’ schools in the Netherlands Indies – today’s Indonesia – I have found only two sources which could be read as mentioning queerness. One is a visitation report of a Roman Catholic hospital in Northern Sulawesi from 1933, which mentions a ‘special friendship’ between an Indonesian sister and a girl who was studying to be a nurse; the second one is an article from 1936 by a female gynecologist on sexual education for girls in the highest classes in secondary schools. The writer briefly reflects on the ‘tricky’ subject of same-sex desire. In my presentation, I would like to think through both of these sources, and think about how they could usefully be read and used. In particular, I would like to ask how ‘the colonial’ comes in in both of these sources. What difference, if at all, does the fact that both of them were produced in a colonial setting make? And what place could these sources occupy in a research project which focuses on civilizing missions in all-girls’ schools?

Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

While same-sex desire often functions as a trope in writings about girls’ education, especially in boarding schools, source material produced by adults tends to be silent about this topic. In my own research project, which focuses on indigenous girls’ schools in the Netherlands Indies – today’s Indonesia – I have found only two sources which could be read as mentioning queerness. One is a visitation report of a Roman Catholic hospital in Northern Sulawesi from 1933, which mentions a ‘special friendship’ between an Indonesian sister and a girl who was studying to be a nurse; the second one is an article from 1936 by a female gynecologist on sexual education for girls in the highest classes in secondary schools. The writer briefly reflects on the ‘tricky’ subject of same-sex desire. In my presentation, I would like to think through both of these sources, and think about how they could usefully be read and used. In particular, I would like to ask how ‘the colonial’ comes in in both of these sources. What difference, if at all, does the fact that both of them were produced in a colonial setting make? And what place could these sources occupy in a research project which focuses on civilizing missions in all-girls’ schools?


Location:
Sala degli Stemmi - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization
Department of Law

Type:
Working group

Contact:
Giovanna Gilleri (EUI - Law Department) - Send a mail
Valodin Uladzimir - Send a mail
Kamil Karczewski - Send a mail

Speaker:
Kirsten Kamphuis

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