Rewriting Dutch Colonial Histories

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Sadiah Boonstra and Caroline Drieënhuizen

Paul Doolan (Zürich International School / University of Konstanz) recently criticized Dutch historians for their failure to decolonize Dutch and colonial history, and suggested the contribution of what he calls ‘outsiders’ as a solution. In doing so, however, he overlooks the fact that there are and have been many initiatives to rewrite Dutch colonial history. We propose instead that approach, method, and the writing of multiple histories are of much greater importance in decolonizing Dutch history.

Critical research on colonial history in the Netherlands

Doolan’s main observation is the existence of what he calls a ‘Guild of Historians’, consisting of mainly white males based in Leiden, which has resulted in a neglect of attention for the dark sides of Dutch colonial history. He sees that the ‘guild’s power’ has started to wane only recently following historical work by ‘outsiders’ like Rémy Limpach, who shows in his recent publication that the Dutch war crimes in colonial Indonesia were widespread, structural and fully supported by the legal, political, and military leadership. Continue reading “Rewriting Dutch Colonial Histories”

This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History

Photo illustration by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. Map: Rand McNally.
Photo illustration by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. Map: Rand McNally.

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

From the End of the Anglo-American Order to Europe’s dark colonial history, here are this week’s top picks in imperial and global history.

Continue reading “This Week’s Top Picks in Imperial & Global History”