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Indigenous girls and education in a changing colonial society. The Dutch East Indies, c. 1880-1942

Dates:
  • Mon 28 Oct 2019 10.00 - 12.30
  Add to Calendar 2019-10-28 10:00 2019-10-28 12:30 Europe/Paris Indigenous girls and education in a changing colonial society. The Dutch East Indies, c. 1880-1942

So far, the history of Indonesian girls’ education in the colonial period has mainly been explored by historians who either focused on governmental policies, or by historians interested in theories of emancipation and modernity. This has often resulted in teleological narratives about education as either a pathway to anticolonial activism and the birth of the Indonesian nation state, or a gateway to ‘modernity’ and women’s emancipation. This thesis, by contrast, considers the topic by taking the diversity of the late-colonial Dutch East Indies as its starting point. In doing so, the thesis integrates four widely diverging regions – the sultanate of Yogyakarta, West Sumatra, Flores and Minahasa – in one comparative framework. This allows for a kaleidoscopic view on girls’ schooling from modernist Islamic initiatives to nationalist organizations and Christian missionary schools. Throughout the chapters, this strikingly diverse educational landscape is moved into two recently developed historiographical fields. In the first place, following the approach of colonial childhood studies, there is a continuous attempt to explore the historical experiences of indigenous girls themselves. This allows for a glimpse of girls’ own agency and the historical subjectivity of a group that, in historiography, is usually framed as the ‘object’ of colonial civilizing missions. In the second place, this thesis precisely reconsiders the idea of colonial education as being driven by civilizing missions. Most importantly, the thesis argues that in most cases, their schooling encouraged indigenous girls to become agents of gendered civilizing missions in the context of a colonial society in flux.

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

So far, the history of Indonesian girls’ education in the colonial period has mainly been explored by historians who either focused on governmental policies, or by historians interested in theories of emancipation and modernity. This has often resulted in teleological narratives about education as either a pathway to anticolonial activism and the birth of the Indonesian nation state, or a gateway to ‘modernity’ and women’s emancipation. This thesis, by contrast, considers the topic by taking the diversity of the late-colonial Dutch East Indies as its starting point. In doing so, the thesis integrates four widely diverging regions – the sultanate of Yogyakarta, West Sumatra, Flores and Minahasa – in one comparative framework. This allows for a kaleidoscopic view on girls’ schooling from modernist Islamic initiatives to nationalist organizations and Christian missionary schools. Throughout the chapters, this strikingly diverse educational landscape is moved into two recently developed historiographical fields. In the first place, following the approach of colonial childhood studies, there is a continuous attempt to explore the historical experiences of indigenous girls themselves. This allows for a glimpse of girls’ own agency and the historical subjectivity of a group that, in historiography, is usually framed as the ‘object’ of colonial civilizing missions. In the second place, this thesis precisely reconsiders the idea of colonial education as being driven by civilizing missions. Most importantly, the thesis argues that in most cases, their schooling encouraged indigenous girls to become agents of gendered civilizing missions in the context of a colonial society in flux.


Location:
Sala del Torrino - Villa Salviati- Castle

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Thesis defence

Examiner:
Laura Downs (EUI)
Rebecca Rogers (Université Paris Descartes)
Alicia Schrikker (Leiden University)

Contact:
Miriam Felicia Curci - Send a mail

Supervisor:
Corinna Ruth Unger

Defendant:
Kirsten Kamphuis

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