Graduate Student Conference
"Identities in the Making: Dutch Colonialisms and Postcolonial Presents"
University of California, Berkeley
December 3 – 4, 2014
Including a keynote lecture by Prof. Rudolf Mrazek (University of Michigan), and a panel discussion on ‘zwarte piet’
Sponsored by the Dutch Studies Program, UC Berkeley
Dutch colonial history gives Dutch culture a global dimension: the Dutch colonial presence stretched from Suriname and the Caribbean to Southeast Asia, early settlements could be found in New York and South Africa and some Caribbean islands are still a part of the Dutch kingdom. The multiethnic society found in the Netherlands today, with its postcolonial diaspora communities and other immigrants, is heavily entangled with the country’s colonial past.
This conference aims to explore the importance of the formation and representation of identities in the colonial history and postcolonial present of the Netherlands and its former colonies. How could identities be enunciated in the colonial regime of representation? How did the postcolonial nations denounce their former colonizers in the articulation of their national identities? And what role does the colonial legacy play in narratives of ‘Dutchness’ in the Netherlands today?
Graduate students are invited to submit a paper that explores the making of post/colonial identities in relation to Dutch colonial history. Presenters may have a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds, such as literature, history, media, art history, anthropology and political science and are invited to interpret the conference topic liberally. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:
- formation and representation of post/colonial identities: in literature, art, museums, etc.
- diasporic identities: Dutch Caribbean, Surinamese, Indo, Moluccan, etc.
- history and experience of slavery
- early Dutch settlements: Dutch New York, South Africa,
- rise of nationalism in the colonies
- race and ethnicity in Dutch multicultural society
- applicability of postcolonial theories of identity on Dutch context
- Dutch racism
- memories of empire and colonial legacies
- colonialism and globalization
Students wishing to participate can send a 250‐word abstract and a short CV todutchstudiesconference@gmail.
Keynote Speaker: Rudolf Mrazek (Emeritus Professor of History, University of Michigan). Prof. Mrazek has published extensively on the history of colonial and modern Indonesia. He is the author of Engineers of Happy Land. Technology and Nationalism in a Colony (2002) and Sjahrir: Politics and Exile in Indonesia(1994). Throughout the 1990s, Prof. Mrazek interviewed elderly Indonesian intellectuals about their memories of colonial Indonesia, which he collected in the unconventional A Certain Age. Colonial Jakarta through the Memories of its Intellectuals (2009). Prof. Mrazek will speak on December 3.
Panel Discussion: The conference will also include a panel discussion from the seminar ‘Blackness in European Folklore Tradition –The Dutch Case: Black Pete’ that will discuss the controversial Dutch blackface tradition of ‘zwarte piet’ from several perspectives and shed light on its historical and political contexts. With Dr. Kwame Nimako (UC Berkeley),Quinsy Gario (Dutch activist and artist, via Skype), and others. The panel will meet on December 4 at 6:00 p.m.