(P09) Beyond the Netherlands: Histories of Entanglements between Europe and colonial Indonesia, ca. 1850—1940
Wed 11:00-12:30 K12 | 2.03
- Bernhard Schär LMU Munich
- Jacqueline Knoerr Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
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Cash & culture: Swiss mercenaries as transimperial agents of colonial violence in Indonesia and Europe, 1850-1914
Philipp Krauer ETH Zurich
Because of their own limited human resources, the Dutch colonial army recruited around 40 per cent of their European contingent outside the Netherlands in the course of the 19th century. Among them were thousands of Swiss mercenaries. Along with Dutch, Belgian, German, French and Indonesian troops, they were involved in the violent military conquest of the Malay Archipelago. This paper puts these Swiss mercenaries on centre-stage, examining the social and economic implications of this entangled history. For numerous Swiss mercenaries, for example, service in the Dutch colonial army offered a way out of a crisis prevailing at home, since they hoped to return after their service and live off a lifelong pension from the Dutch government. Deployment in the colonial frontier also had cross-border cultural implications. During the Aceh war, the Swiss mercenaries came into contact with Islamophobic images of the ‘enemy’. They transmitted these images through letters and memoirs to Switzerland, where they became part of an Islamophobic discourse. Beyond the dissemination of stereotypical images, however, the mercenaries also entered into cross-cultural relationships with Indo-European or Indonesian women. These relationships repeatedly challenged the racist hierarchies both in the Dutch East Indies and in Europe as they undermined the colonial ‘grammar of difference’. Some Swiss even returned to Switzerland with their Indonesian wife and children.
Collecting colonial Indonesia for “German Science”: Vienna, Frankfurt, and the Dutch East Indies, c. 1873-1914
Ligtenberg Monique ETH Zurich
From Nationalism to Economic Interests: Deutsche Bund, the German Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands Indies, 1915-1940
Prima Nurahmi Mulyasari Indonesian Institute of Sciences
Global and New Imperial Histories have fundamentally altered our understanding of the past in recent years. It appears that not only the former colonies were affected by European imperialism, but also Europe itself. Numerous studies on the British and French empires have illustrated the role institutions, people and knowledge from formerly colonized countries for historical fields that for a long time were considered to be uniquely European ‘inventions’ such as science, technology, trading know-how, human rights and democracy. The debate on the former Dutch Empire in Southeast Asia has, however, remained rather restricted to the Netherlands themselves. Yet, as ongoing research indicates, ‘flowbacks’ from colonial Indonesia reached far beyond the Dutch metropolis across national borders and into the European ‘hinterland’. Conversely, Javanese and other societies in the far-flung archipelago appropriated and transformed ideas not only from the Netherlands, but from larger European spaces to which they entertained relationships through various social networks.
This panel presents four examples from ongoing scholarship that illuminate the still fairly unknown history of entanglements between larger European regions beyond the Netherlands and colonial Indonesia during the time of the modern Dutch Empire. The panelists explore these historical entanglements through archives in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Indonesia. Together they will sketch out a historical landscape from multiple perspectives with a call for more collaborative research in the future.