2011 Dutch Studies Conference – Colonial and Post-Colonial Connections in Dutch Literature
For a Photo Gallery of the conference, please go to:
Dutch literature is more than just literature about a tiny piece of land at the estuary of the Rhine. From the Caribbean to Southern Africa, from Southeast Asia to Western Europe, the Dutch language forms a common bond in a literature that was and is deeply marked by intercultural connections. In recent decades, considerable attention has been given to Dutch colonial and post-colonial literature, but the importance of intercultural connections within the Dutch colonial network has been neglected. What were the cultural and literary networks between Batavia, Galle, Nagasaki, and the Cape Colony? How did the slave trade connect authors in Willemstad and Paramaribo with Gorée and Elmina at the African West Coast? How did Jewish communities link Recife in Dutch Brazil to New Amsterdam on the American East Coast? And how did Amsterdam, Leiden or The Hague function as intellectual intermediaries between the Netherlands and its colonies?
This pluricentric perspective on Dutch literature remains relevant in modern times. After the colonial era ended, the Dutch language continued to produce literature that fostered intellectual bonds between the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and Western Europe. These intercontinental contacts were even intensified and grew in diversity when, three centuries after the first Dutchmen ventured out into the wide world, the world came to the Netherlands. Inhabitants of the former colonies first, followed by immigrants and refugees, transformed the Dutch literary landscape to the point that an international perspective on Dutch literature has become a necessity.
• Jeroen Dewulf | University of California, Berkeley
• Michiel van Kempen | Amsterdam University, the Netherlands
• Olf Praamstra | Leiden University, the Netherlands
Thursday, Sept. 15:
2-3pm: Meeting at the lobby of the Berkeley City Club Hotel. Guided tour on the UC Berkeley campus by Jeroen Dewulf, Queen Beatrix Professor.
3-5pm: Guided visit to the UC Berkeley Doe Library by James H. Spohrer, Librarian for Berkeley’s Germanic Collections, followed by a visit to the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, where a selection of Berkeley’s rare books collection dealing with the Dutch colonial expansion will be presented by Anthony Bliss, Berkeley’s Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts Curator.
5-6pm: Coffee break at the Free Speech Café.
6-7pm: Institute of European Studies. 201 Moses Hall. Introductory lecture by Dutch-Aruban author Giselle Ecury Steps in History, Paces in Personal Lives: A Post-Colonial Family History from Aruba at the Institute of European Studies. Introduction by Michiel van Kempen (University of Amsterdam).
Friday, Sept. 16:
Faculty Club, Seaborg Room.
9-9.30am: Inauguration of the conference by Jeroen Dewulf (University of California, Berkeley): Colonial and Post-Colonial Connections in Dutch Literature.
Presentations Section 1. Chair Michiel van Kempen.
9.30-10am: Danny L. Noorlander (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.). The Reformed Churches of the Netherlands and the Regulation of Religious Literature in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Atlantic World.
10-10.30am: Manjusha Kuruppath (Leiden University, the Netherlands). When Vondel Looked Eastwards: A Study of Representation and Information Transfer in Joost van den Vondel’s “Zungchin” (1667).
10.30-11am: Coffee Break.
Presentations Section 2. Chair Olf Praamstra.
11-11.30am: Jos Damen (African Studies Center, Leiden). Dutch Letters from Ghana: Literature and Society in the 17th and 18th Centuries, with Special Reference to Willem van Focquenbroch and Jacobus Capitein
11.30am-12pm: Jeroen Dewulf (University of California, Berkeley).The Turtle as Model: On the Deterritorialization of Hybridity in Tjalie Robinson’s Identity Concept of the Diasporic Dutch-Eurasian ‘Indo’ Community
Presentations Section 3. Chair Jeroen Dewulf.
2-2.30pm: Wilma Scheffers (The Hague, the Netherlands). Everything Starts with Knowledge: A Voice of Humanity in Colonial Times. W.R. van Hoëvell 1812-1879.
2.30-3pm: Rudolf Mrázek (University of Michigan). Beneath Literature? Imprisonment, Universal Humanism, and (Post)Colonial Mimesis. The Internment Camp Boven Digoel in New Guinea.
3-3.30pm: Coffee Break.
Presentations Section 4. Chair Michiel van Kempen.
3.30-4pm: Ingrid Dümpel (Eindhoven, the Netherlands). Cheese and Chili: The Emerging of an Authentic Indo European Youth Literature.
4-4.30pm: Olf Praamstra (Leiden University, the Netherlands). A World of Her Own, the Eurasian Way of Living and the Balance Between East and West in Maria Dermoût’s Novel “The Ten Thousand Things”.
4.30-5pm: Pamela Pattynama (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). A Transnational Perspective on Marion Bloem’s Indo-Dutch Narratives.
Special evening program in the Berkeley City Club – Drawing Room – offered by the Netherlands America University League in California. No reservation is needed, everyone is welcome to attend.
7.30pm: Welcoming by Em. Queen Beatrix Professor Johan Snapper (University of California, Berkeley).
7.45pm: Introduction to the speaker by Queen Beatrix Professor Jeroen Dewulf (University of California, Berkeley).
8-9pm: Keynote lecture by Dutch author Adriaan van Dis: Squeezed between Rice and Potato: Personal Reflections on a Dutch (Post-)Colonial Youth.
9–10pm: Wine and Cheese Reception.
Saturday, Sept. 17
Faculty Club Seaborg Room
Presentations Section 5. Chair Michiel van Kempen.
9-9.30am: Christine Levecq (Kettering University Flint, MI). The Cultural Hybridity of the Dutch-Ghanaian Minister Jacobus Capitein.
9.30-10am: Adéle Nel and Phil van Schalkwyk (North-West University, South Africa). The Early Cape Colony: Karel Schoeman and/on Relationality.
10-10.30am: Luc Renders (University of Hasselt, Belgium). Better Than the Original: Christianity in Afrikaans Literary Texts by Colored and Black South African Authors.
10.30-11am: Coffee Break
Presentations Section 6. Chair Jeroen Dewulf.
11-11.30am: Ena Jansen (Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Similar Pasts Remembered: South African and Dutch Caribbean Slavery Novels.
11.30-12pm: Michiel van Kempen (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). Complexities of Non-Western Canonization.
12-12.30pm: Lodewijk Wagenaar (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). A Theatrical Reflection of Colonial Relations in Dutch Ceylon: The 18th-Century Reports on the Annual Apparition of Cinnamon Peelers with the Dutch Governor in Colombo.
Presentations Section 7. Chair Olf Praamstra.
2.30-3pm: Britt Dams (Ghent University, Belgium). Writing to Comprehend: The Role of Intertextuality in Johannes de Laet’s “Iaerlyck Verhael” on Dutch-Brazil.
3-3.30pm: Paul Hollanders (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). ‘Animus Revertendi’ versus ‘Animus Manendi’. The Will to Return versus the Will to Stay in Dutch Colonial Literature Applied to Colonists in Late 18th Century Surinam.
3.30-4pm: Hilde Neus (Paramaribo, College of Education). From Belle van Zuylen to Gertrude Stein, building modern literature.
4-4.30pm: Coffee Break
Presentations Section 8. Chair Jeroen Dewulf.
4.30-5pm: Florencia Cornet (University of South Carolina). 21st Century Curaçaoan Women Writers: Re-visiting, De-stabilizing and (Re) imagining the Kurasoleña.
5-5.30pm: Nicole Saffold Maskiell (Cornell University, NY). Bequeathing Bondage: Slave Networks in the Dutch Atlantic.
6-7.30: International premiere of the film on the life of the Dutch-Surinamese writer Edgar Cairo: ‘I Will Die for Your Head’ by Cindy Kerseborn. Introduction by Michiel van Kempen and Cindy Kerseborn. Room Dwinelle 142. No reservation is needed, everyone is welcome to attend.
7.30-9pm: Wine and Cheese Reception offered by the Dutch Consulate in San Francisco. Room Dwinelle 370.
Abstracts and Biographies
Giselle Ecury (Aruba, author)
Steps in History, Paces in Personal Lives. A Post-Colonial Family History from Aruba.
This autobiographical lecture takes us to Aruba. It tells the story of grandfather Dundun, who took over the little shop of his “mamachi” and founded in the years to follow an important business concern, married a white girl from Curaçao and together they got thirteen children. They were brought up with the idea, that their own culture was all right, but to become really successful, they had to study in the Netherlands. During and after World War II the lives of some members of this Aruban family show how vague the borders were in those days.
Giselle Ecury was born on Aruba. Her mother was Dutch, her father Aruban. She went with her family to the Netherlands at the age of six. In 2005 her first poems were published: Terug die tijd, Conserve, followed by a novel, Erfdeel, 2006, Conserve. In 2009 her second novel, Glas in lood, was released by In de Knipscheer, Haarlem, followed by new poems: Vogelvlucht, 2010, also published by In de Knipscheer. At the moment she is writing another novel. In 2008 she presented an essay at The Islands in between Conference, held on Curacao. This article is included in the volume Leeward Voices. Ecury regularly writes articles, columns, and short stories for the Caribbean newspaper Het Antilliaans Dagblad.
Danny L. Noorlander (Ph.D. Candidate, Georgetown University)
The Reformed Churches of the Netherlands and the Regulation of Religious Literature in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Atlantic World
As the public church in the Netherlands, the Dutch Reformed Church was also supposed to have a monopoly on worship in Dutch forts and colonies overseas. The East and West India Companies both worked with the church to obtain clergy and other ecclesiastical needs for their ships, trading posts, and other possessions. Providing religious literature was one of their most important tasks: Without Bibles, catechisms, hymnals, printed sermons, and other works, those who traveled abroad could not study and worship in ways that the church approved. In this paper I will examine the distribution and regulation of religious literature under the Dutch West India Company (1621-1674). In one sense, because the company used the same texts everywhere, they connected the disparate parts of the empire: Prayers, sermons, and other readings from one side of the Atlantic were echoed on the other. Yet literature could also be very divisive. The churches at home worked hard to ensure that clergy only used accepted, orthodox books overseas. I will look closely at an incident that arose in 1641 when a missionary in Dutch Brazil named David à Doreslaer tried to publish a trilingual catechism for teaching Tupi Indians in the colony. His manuscript reached the Netherlands at a bad time, when various synods and other Reformed councils were trying to take control of colonial religion from the Amsterdam and Zeeland churches. Because he omitted parts of the official catechism and rendered some sections too long or short—or just because he was caught in a political crossfire—Doreslaer’s translation was widely condemned. The discontented synods used it in their campaign against Amsterdam and Zeeland to prove that heterodoxy was creeping into the church abroad, corrupting Reformed doctrine and practice. Though the company published the catechism and shipped it to Brazil, the barrage of criticism had its effect. Doreslaer returned to Holland to defend his reputation and the catechisms sat in a warehouse, unused, because other clergy feared for their careers. These and other, similar episodes that I will touch briefly upon in the paper demonstrate the fears that religious literature could inspire and the amount of control that the churches of the Netherlands exercised over their colleagues in Africa and America. They cared intensely about what happened there—or at least about increasing their power. Ultimately their careful, worried management of colonial affairs was a significant obstacle to the spread of Reformed Christianity.
Danny L. Noordlander is a Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University, Washington DC. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. entitled “Serving God and Mammon: The Reformed Church and the Dutch West India Company in the Atlantic World, 1621-1674”. Recently invited (Oct. 2010) to revise and resubmit at the Sixteenth Century Journal: “„For the Maintenance of the True Religion‟: Calvinism and the Directors of the Dutch West India Company” Two brief translations: “An African (and Dutch) Triumph in Angola” and “Cardinal de la Cueva to his Majesty, Brussels,” in Major Problems in Atlantic History, eds. Alison Games and Adam Rothman (Houghton Mifflin, 2008)
Manjusha Kuruppath (Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University)
When Vondel Looked Eastwards: A Study of Representation and Information Transfer in Joost van den Vondel’s Zungchin (1667)
Seventeenth century China was fraught with crisis. In 1644, the Ming dynasty fell, the emperor ingloriously committed suicide and the empire opened its doors to new rulers from the north, the Manchus. As an episode of unprecedented consequence in China, it was also an event of unparalleled attention in Europe. This political revolution was accorded substantial print space in a variety of texts in the mid-seventeenth century Dutch Republic. Drawing inspiration and information from these works, the Dutch playwright Joost van den Vondel in 1667 dramatized this episode in one of his very last plays titled Zungchin. This paper broaches three principle themes in relation to Joost van den Vondel’s Zungchin – i) representation, ii) information transfer and iii) the role of the Dutch East India Company. With regard to representation, this paper analyses the nature of characterization of the Orient in Vondel’s play. It situates this representation within the context of a wide range of texts written in the seventeenth century Dutch Republic which chronicled this episode of dynastic change. This is done with the purpose of appraising the varying forms and tones that this event assumed in these different textual genres before culminating in Vondel’s theatrical production. In proposing such, this paper builds on the leads provided by Van Kley in News from China who signals to the rich textual tradition in the Low Countries which in the seventeenth century increasingly bore information about China. Early news-sheets, firsthand accounts and travel narratives detailed this period of crisis in Chinese history to the Dutch readership. Although the analysis of representation constitutes the prime objective of the paper, it also engages the theme of information transfer. It asks how Vondel, a ‘sit-at-home’ playwright based his drama on a historical episode of Asian extraction. Past studies suggest that Vondel appealed to a number of sources for his information and imagery when writing his play, most notably the first hand narrative authored by the Jesuit Martinus Martini’s titled De Bello Tartarico (1654) and a travel account titled Het gezantschap der Neerlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie aan de Tartarischen Cham (1665) by Johan Nieuhof, a servant of the Dutch East India Company. This paper attempts to delineate these linkages and point to the connections that Vondel’s Zunghin, by means of sources such as Johan Nieuhof’s travel account reveal with the workings of the Dutch East India Company in Asia. In illustrating such, the paper argues that the VOC played an important role as an agent of information transfer between Asia and the Dutch Republic in the period.
Manjusha Kuruppath is a PhD student at the Department of History, University of Leiden. She began with her doctoral research in October 2010 and her study involves working with Dutch drama of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which dramatize historical events of Asian extraction. She received her Masters Degree from the University of Hyderabad, India (2007) and a second Masters from the University of Leiden (2010). Her research interests include the History of the Dutch East India Company and Literary and Socio-cultural History.
Jos Damen (African Studies Center, Leiden)
Dutch Letters from Ghana Literature and Society in the 17th and 18th Centuries, with Special Reference to Willem van Focquenbroch and Jacobus Capitein
1. Willem van Focquenbroch: Not many Dutch authors can boast a special website dedicated to their life and work, but Willem Godschalck van Focquenbroch can: http://www.focquenbroch.nl It is devoted to his life, with facsimiles of his Leiden thesis on theology (not of his thesis on venereal disease [De lue venera, Utrecht, 1662]) and one of his plays, and with other works and articles about his life. Focquenbroch was born in Rotterdam in 1640 and died in Ghana, then the Gold Coast, in 1670 at the age of only thirty. Dutch author W.F. Hermans compiled an anthology of Van Focquenbroch’s work (Bloemlezing uit zijn lyriek, 1946), Wolfgang Marguc wrote a dissertation on his work (Münster, 1982), E.M. Beekman produced an intriguing study on his life entitled The Crippled Heart (Leiden, 1997) and van Focquenbroch’s letters have even been translated into Afrikaans (2007). There is also a special Van Focquenbroch Foundation with a journal (Fumus) entirely devoted to ‘Focq.’
2. Jacobus Capitein: In the last ten years, three books have been written about the slave-cum-student-cun- preacher Jacobus Capitein: David Kpobi, Saga of a Slave (2001); Grant Parker, The Agony of Asar (2001); and Henri van der Zee, Heeren slaaf (2000). Capitein was born in Ghana and educated in The Hague and Leiden in the Netherlands before returning to Ghana. He died just four years later, also at the age of thirty like van Focquenbroch. Capitein wrote a dissertation while in Leiden in which he argued that slavery did not go against Christian beliefs, he translated ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ into Mfantse, produced various sermons and sent six letters from Elmina (Ghana) to the Classis (Assembly of Elders) in Amsterdam.
A. Why have Van Focquenbroch and Capitein become so popular over the last few decades? Is this as a result of their work, their letters or their own adventurous lives? What does their popularity suggest about the times we live in today?
B. What do the lives and works of Jacobus Capitein and Willem van Focquenbroch tell us about the 17th and 18th centuries? Their stories differ hugely and this is not only reflected in their lives but also in their work. How does a reconstruction of their poetry, letters, translations and prose help us to learn more about Dutch and Ghanaian society in the 17th and 18th centuries?
C. Jacobus Capitein and Willem van Focquenbroch, though living in different centuries and coming from totally different backgrounds, have much in common and both clashed with the societies in which they lived. Were these intercultural clashes or were they due to their personalities? Van Focquenbroch was probably overwhelmed by homesickness while in Ghana. Capitein was torn between two races (‘zijn vel is zwart, maar wit zijn ziel’: ‘his skin is black, but his soul is white’) and had to assimilate twice, firstly in the Netherlands and later in Ghana.
This paper intends to give:
- more information about Capitein and van Focquenbroch, stressing the similarities in their lives and work; and
- answers to the three questions listed above, with particular reference to societal interaction and the way Capitein and van Focquenbroch reacted to this in prose and poetry.
Jos Damen is Head of the Library, Documentation and Information Department at the African Studies Center, Leiden (the Netherlands). Damen studied Dutch language and literature at Leiden University. His most recent publications include ‘Electronic journals and Africa studies: an overview and some trends’ (2009), ‘The Princess Bride: How did a Zanzibari Princess marry a German merchant -and her library end up in Leiden?’ (2008), Hora est! : on dissertations (2005); Jan Oort, astronomer (2000).
Jeroen Dewulf (University of California, Berkeley)
The Turtle as Model: On the Deterritorialization of Hybridity in Tjalie Robinson’s Identity Concept of the Diasporic Dutch-Eurasian ‘Indo’ Community
The epistemological implications of the dislocated, de-territorialized discourse produced by repatriates from formerly European colonies have remained largely overlooked in academic scholarship. One of those groups that seem to have slipped between the pages of history is the diasporic Eurasian “Indo” community that has its roots in the former Dutch East Indies. In my presentation, I will focus on Tjalie Robinson, the intellectual leader of this community from the 1950s to the mid 1970s. In recent decades, there has been a growing interest in the Humanities for what Homi Bhabha in The Location of Culture (1994) has called “the conceptualization of an international culture, based not on the exoticism of multiculturalism or the diversity of cultures, but on the inscription and articulation of culture’s hybridity” (38). A long time before Bhabha, however, Robinson had already published substantially on hybrid, trans-national identity. As the son of a Dutch father and a British-Javanese mother, Robinson had made a name in Indonesia with his writings. In 1954, he left Indonesia and soon became the leading voice of the diasporic Indo community in the Netherlands and later also in the United States. His engagement resulted in the foundation of the Indo magazine Tong-Tong and the annual Pasar Malam, the world’s biggest Eurasian festival. With his writings, Robinson played an essential role in the cultural awareness and self-pride of the Indo community through the acceptance of their essentially hybrid and trans-national identity. Despite his role as a pioneer of hybridity and trans-nationalism, scholars have so far paid little attention to his activities and his writings.
Jeroen Dewulf is Queen Beatrix Professor in Dutch Studies in the Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of Bern, in Switzerland. He has been a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Ceará, in Brazil. In his research, he focuses primarily on Dutch and German literature and on Postcolonial Studies. He publishes in five different languages (English, Dutch, German, Portuguese and French). His most recent book publication is Spirit of Resistance: Dutch Clandestine Literature during the Nazi Occupation (Rochester NY: Camden House, 2010).
Wilma Scheffers (The Hague, literary producer)
Everything Starts with Knowledge. A Voice of Humanity in Colonial Times: Wolter Robert van Hoëvell (1812-1879)
Reverend Van Hoëvell is one of the greatest champions of political reforms in colonial rule in the 19th century. He aimed specifically at the Dutch East Indies because he had lived and worked there for a period of 11 years (1836-1848). He is most widely known as the founder of the Tijdschrift voor Nederlands Indië (Magazine for the Dutch East Indies), as chairman of the Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences) and later as a member of the Dutch parliament. But he also deserves recognition in fields such as (ancient) history, literature, ethnology and indigenous languages of Java. In all of those fields Van Hoëvell fought for justice and welfare of the European inhabitants and the indigenous people in the East Indies. Soon after his arrival in Java Van Hoëvell set himself up as an intermediary. He founded the Tijdschrift voor Nederlands Indië in 1838 and wrote countless articles and brochures all aimed at challenging ignorance about and arousing interest in the East Indies. As it was forbidden to publish about political subjects in the East Indies, Van Hoëvell constantly met with great opposition and censorship and personal imputations. To get his voice also heard in The Netherlands, he approached P.J. Veth, editor of the authoritative magazine De Gids (The Guide). In May 1846 Veth received the first letter, in which Van Hoëvell complained about the total lack of interest in his magazine in The Netherlands, despite its being the only cultural-scientific magazine in the East Indies offering so many subjects of great interest to the Dutch reader. He requested Veth to review his magazine and his writings in De Gids which Veth endorsed straightaway. By that Van Hoëvell was provided with a platform he so much desired to have in The Netherlands. Veth would also edit some of Van Hoëvell’s publications. After his return to The Netherlands in 1849 Van Hoëvell was elected as a member of parliament. Being the colonial specialist in the parliament, he kept on hammering on political reforms in the colonial rule. On top of that he was an excellent speaker. That combination contributed considerably to a change of mentality in the Dutch colonial rule which led, slowly, to major political effects, such as the abolition of slavery in the East- and West Indies (his glowing indictment in 1854 against slavery in Surinam, did not fail to be effective), improvements in education, the abolition of the system of forced farming and a liberalization of freedom of the press. His travel book in two volumes Reis over Java, Madura en Bali in het midden van 1847 (Journey over Java, Madura and Bali in the middle of 19847) is one of his most important publications (published respectively in 1849 and 1851). It shows clearly that according to Van Hoëvell, art, science and politics are interrelated. In this lively written travel book the reader is taken along by Van Hoëvell on an educational and fascinating journey full of lessons about the nature and culture of the visited islands. But his political opinions which he boldly vented are equally important. This travel book was published in The Netherlands with no restrictions of freedom of the press, so finally Van Hoëvell could speak his political mind freely. Van Hoëvell is an important forerunner of Multatuli. Through the novel Max Havelaar Multatuli’s voice got through to parliament in 1860. Van Hoëvell’s voice however was heard there before, sounding literally, in his many speeches and debates. Van Hoëvell considered it important to increase the knowledge about the East Indies, considered it his duty to influence the public opinion with his writings. By doing so he hoped to contribute to political reforms in colonial rule. The voice of this liberal champion, being according to Eddy du Perron “a figure, who in the actual history of civilization, stands out head and shoulders above his contemporaries” deserves more attention than he has been given so far.
Wilma Scheffers studied Dutch language and literature at the University of Amsterdam and is specialized in Dutch colonial and post-colonial literature of the East- and the West-Indies. Since 1998 she works for the international literature festival Writers Unlimited in The Hague, as advisor and producer of the literary programs on and in Indonesia, Surinam and The Netherlands Antilles, and as chairperson of the sponsor group. Since 2009 she is doing research on W.R. van Hoëvell (1812-1879). Publications: ‘”The accommodations are comfortable”. Een egodocument uit de Japanse bezettingstijd’ In: Indische Letteren, vol.8, nr.3-4, Leiden 1993, pp.159-169. ‘”Du Perron ging bij jou voor, allicht’: Fred Batten 1910-1980’ In: Jaarboek Letterkundig Museum, vol.5, Den Haag 1996, pp.67-90. ‘Fred Batten en de “Couperus-rel” in 1952 In: Nieuwsbulletin Louis Couperus Genootschap, nr.9, Den Haag 1997, pp.17-24. ‘Paula Gomes’ In: Kritisch Literatuur Lexicon Groningen 1997, pp.1-13. Surianto’ In: Javaanse en Nederlandse gedichten van de Surinaams-Javaanse dichter Surianto, Jakarta 2001, pp.2-5. ‘Bert, Eddy, Sikko. Drie mannen en een bloemlezing’ In: Wandelaar onder de palmen. Opstellen over koloniale en postkoloniale literatuur en cultuur, Leiden 2004, pp.227-235. ‘Wolter Robert van Hoëvell. Reis over Java, Madura en Bali in het midden van 1847’ In: 40 jaar studie Nederlands in Indonesië / Empat puluh tahun Studi Belanda di Indonesia Depok, Java, (2011).
Rudolf Mrázek (University of Michigan)
Beneath Literature? Imprisonment, Universal Humanism, and (Post)Colonial Mimesis. The Internment Camp Boven Digoel in New Guinea.
The particular composite literary text that will be the subject of this paper stays with me since, several years ago, when I began a research project on history of the internment camp on Boven Digoel in New Guinea, the Dutch East Indies, 1927-1943. The text consists of two (or perhaps three) pieces of writing, each of which presents itself as a non-fiction: L. J. A. Schoonheyt’s Boven-Digoel: Het Land van Communisten en Kannibalen, published in Batavia in 1936; second edition from Amsterdam and Batavia in 1940. I.F.M. Salim’s Vijftien jaar Boven-Digoel: concentratiekamp in Nieuw-Guinea published 1976 in Amsterdam; second enlarged edition published in 1980. Anthony van Kampen’s Een kwestie van mach: het bewogen leven van de arts dr. L.J.A. Schoonheuyt in het vormalige Nederlandsch-Indië, Nieuw Guinea, Suriname en Nederland, Bussum, 1977. I want to think of the first two books as one “composite” work of literature, and of the third one as a kind of writing on the margins of the first two books. The Schoonheyt’s book narrates the author’s experience as the camp doctor at the internment camp. Salim, the second author, had been an inmate of the same camp for fifteen years and, during the Schoonheyt’s tenure, a helper in the camp hospital, were the Dutch doctor was in charge. The Salim’s book grew of the experience of a prisoner and, at the same time, its intensity is very much inspired by the interaction with the doctor and the author of the first book. The book of Van Kampen, published as the last of the three, is a memoir of Dr. Schoonheyt written on the basis of extended interviews with Dr. Schoonheyt and, so it looks, some draft of post-camp autobiography provided to the author by his subject. Drama of imprisonment, colonialism, human solidarity and forgiving underlies all three books individually and, in their interaction, together. After finishing his tenure in the New Guinea camp, in 1935, Dr. Schoonheyt became to be fascinated by Hitler. As an NSB sympathizer and a “threat to rust en orde’ in the Indies he was arrested and interned throughout the war in the Dutch camp for Nazi collaborators in Surinam. In Van Kampen’s book he is described as comparing, even identifying, his fate and that of the Boven Digoel New Guinea Indonesian prisoners with whom, as a white person, colonial official and an agent of the camp authority he had little political and human sympathy at the time. After the war Salim and Schoonheyt met (three of them, in fact: van Kampen was instrumental in this). Dr. Schoonheyt was released from the camp in 1947 but not rehabilitated until the 1960s. Salim chose not to return to Indonesia from the Dutch colonial camp, he married a Dutch woman and took a residence in Holland (he died there). Salim and Schoonheyt met in Scheveningen: Salim suffered from malaria contracted in the camp; Dr. Schoonheyt had already been permitted at the time to open a private medical practice. There appears to be coming together based on common experience of camps and, of course, aging, getting wise, and thus articulating the past in their memory. I have found, among Dr. Schoonheyt papers now in the KITLV manuscript collection in Leiden, a legal document signed by both Schoonheyt and Salim, according to which Salim acquired all right to translate Schoonheyt book on the Boven Digoel New Guinea internment camp into Indonesian. This never happened but Salim wrote a very massive book under his own name, the Vijftien jaar Boven-Digoel. The book became the most frequently quoted source for whoever since them decided to write about the New Guinea camp; it has also been translated into Indonesian, and published in Jakarta with a great success. The burden of the Salim’s book is his quiet coming to a common ground and (almost) an understanding with Dr. Schoonheyt(‘s book). Through explicit statements, but more so by the way their literature flows, the colonial and postcolonial is represented with an impressive plasticity. An integral part of this plasticity seems to be the fact that numerous passages in Salim’s book are taken verbatim from the Schoonheyt’s one (they could be remnants of the Salim aborted translation project). In the proposed paper for your conference I wish, on reading Schoonheyt, Salim and Van Kampen, to address especially the problems of mimesis in the colonial and post-colonial context.
Rudolf Mrázek is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. His publications include: A Certain Age: colonial Jakarta through the memories of its intellectuals (Duke University Press, March 2010). Engineers of Happy Land: Technology and Nationalism in a Colony (Princeton: Princeton University press, 2002). Sjahrir: Politics and Exile in Indonesia, 1906-1966 (Ithaca: Cornell University Studies in Southeast Asia, 1994). Bali: The Split Gate to Heaven (London: Orbis Publishers, 1983).
Ingrid M. Dümpel (Eindhoven, writer)
Cheese and Chili: the Emerging of an Authentic Indo European Youth Literature
From the second half of the nineteenth century, the new Dutch colonial mission aimed to transform the Netherlands Indies into a modern European economy and society. It was the “Dutchman’s burden” to bring superior civilization to the colony. This new ideology meant a rupture in the colonial relationship. As a consequence of the new paradigm, the mixed Indo-European culture that had emerged since 1600 in urban centers and rural Dutch settlements in Java, lost its status as a valuable but delicate modus vivendi in a situation where the Dutch were only a very small minority in a basically hostile environment. The arrival of more Europeans, especially women, between 1860 and 1900 enforced the rise of a strong Dutch settlement. A need of general and professional education produced a modern school system meeting with the quality and pedagogical standards of the mother country. The educational infrastructure was a powerful instrument to strengthen and spread the colonial ideology. Since then the long existing mixed (‘mestizo’) ‘Indische’ culture was considered more and more a perverted and undesirable phenomena. A mixed culture was considered disadvantageous for both the European and the indigenous population. In her own words as a member of the ‘Indische’ culture and community, Inge Dümpel intends to unveil an Indo-European perspective, or sense, in Indo-European literature as well as to highlight the voice of Indo-Europeans in colonial and post-colonial books, poems and plays. According to literary scholars as Edward Said, Homi K. Bhabha and Mary Louise Pratt the colonial and post-colonial discourse lacked of a ‘counter force’ and input by people who were living in the areas between the European elites and the indigenous zones. Indo-European writers, who did not belong to mainstream culture, hardly had any chances to attract the interest of their white(r) European brothers and sisters. In her lecture, Dümpel intends to discover specific ‘Indisch’ elements in literature as a form of ex post appreciation of the non-imperial eyes through which Indo-Europeans observed and described their experience of colonial society. Dümpel will specifically focus in her contribution on the surprising emerging of an authentic Indo-European youth literature.
Ingrid M. Dümpel was born in Surabaya, East-Java, from Indo-European parents. She lives in the Netherlands since 1964 and was a teacher of English language and literature in high school for twenty years. Both English and Indo (‘Indische’) literature have her special attention. She writes children’s books, poems, readings based on Indo books and plays. Ingrid Dümpel also writes monologues with a social topic, such as arranged marriages of girls, a monologue she recently performed at the Jakarta Berlin Arts Festival of 2011 in Berlin in the English, German and Indonesian language, hoping to start a discussion. Together with historians and anthropologists she wrote Gelders blauw (2007), a book about the history of second generation Indo-Europeans. She is also one of the editors of www.indischhistorisch.nl, a digital magazine in Dutch about the history of Indo-Europeans.
Olf Praamstra (Leiden University)
A World of Her Own, the Eurasian Way of Living and the Balance Between East and West in Maria Dermoût’s Novel “The Ten Thousand Things” (1958).
Maria Dermoût’s novel The Ten Thousand Things (1958) is divided into four sections, of which the first and second refer to ‘The Island’. It is an island in the Moluccas – for which Ambon has served as the model – with two bays, an outer and an inner bay, which have given the titles to successively the second and third section. In my lecture I focus on the second section, in which the stories ‘The Small Garden’ en ‘Himpies’ are placed. In this section a hybrid world exists, where the Eurasian owners of the garden behave in full accordance with the description given by Mary Louise Pratt of the mestizo culture in South America. She has appropriated the land, behaves in every respect as a colonial ruler, but on the other hand is acculturated in many ways to the Asian way of living. The influence of the Orient is especially strong where it concerns the belief in the supernatural – the knowledge of indigenous medicine or herbs, and the animistic power of stones, crustaceans and shellfish that live in the sea around the island. In the acquisition of this ‘Asian’ knowledge the Netherlands play a crucial role. Almost everything the grandmother teaches the lady of the Small Garden about local traditions and customs, people, flora and fauna has been taken from the work of the 17th-century naturalist Rumphius, who appears in the story several times as a kind of ghost. Georg Everhard Rumphius (1627-1702) was a German who enlisted in the service of the VOC, and in 1653 was stationed on Ambon. Here he worked at his description of the flora and fauna of Ambon. It resulted in two books that after his death were published in the Netherlands: Het Amboinsche kruid-boek (The Ambonese Herbal), an herbal, consisting of twelve books that appeared between 1741 and 1750 in six volumes, and the D’Amboinsche rariteitkamer (The Ambonese Cabinet of Rarities), divided into three books and published in 1705. The descriptions by Rumphius of shells and sea animals, of plants, shrubs and trees are accompanied by illustrations and a description of the item’s habitat and medical applications. For the most part, Rumphius got that information from the native people, from whom he learned methods for preparing salves, ointments, potions, etc. When Maria Dermoût mentions such things in her story, it almost always comes from Rumphius. The same is true of the folk tales that Rumphius incorporated into his descriptions. So the knowledge of the indigenous way of living that Maria Dermout depicts in her story of the Small Garden reaches her by a detour through the Netherlands. Because, as the novel states, both works of Rumphius had always been in the house at The Small Garden, and were cherished like a bible. To protect her ideal world against the evil from outside, the family in the garden keeps the Dutch as much as possible at a distance. It is impossible to avoid every contact with them, but when they visit the island, the books of Rumphius are safely hidden. But evil comes from two sides. As the story evolves itself, it becomes clear, that when the instructions of Rumphius are neglected, the mystical powers of the East will strike. Rumphius’ books about the native life on an island in Ambon are necessary to protect the paradise like world against the dangers of the indigenous as well as the colonial powers. It’s exemplary for the Eurasian way of living that cannot exist without East and West being in balance, a balance that can only be maintained by means of the Dutch knowledge of the East.
Olf Praamstra is Professor of Dutch Literature and Head of Department of Dutch Studies at Leiden University. His research focuses on the reception and development of Dutch literature in contact with other cultures. His publications include Een feministe in de tropen, de Indische jaren van Mina Kruseman (2003); Busken Huet, een biografie (2007); (With Eep Francken) Heerengracht, Zuid-Afrika (2008) (With Peter van Zonneveld) Omstreden paradijs, ooggetuigen van Nederlands-Indië (2010). Recent Publications in English: (With Eep Francken), ‘Towards an anthology of South African Dutch literature’, in: T.J. Broos, M. Bruyn Lacy, Th.F. Shannon [eds.], The Low Countries: Crossroads of Cultures, Münster, 2006, p. 127-142; ‘A postcolonial literature of the Dutch East Indies’, in: Margriet Bruijn Lacy (red.), Dutch studies in a globalized world, Münster, 2009, p. 121-130.
Pamela Pattynama (University of Amsterdam)
A Transnational Perspective on Marion Bloem’s Indo-Dutch Narratives
Postcolonial studies have exploded the category of the nation on which Dutch literature implicitly depends. They have also troubled the generic categories that were the basis of national literature. By studying encounters between Western imperial forces and colonized people, postcolonial critics such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak and many others have shown that European literature and its academic study cannot be separated from the texts and contexts of Orientalism, imperialism, and colonial resistance. As a result transnational frameworks for literary studies that is, the effort to put the study of literary works in a global context, have been among the most important renovations of literary criticism and history in recent decades. In this paper I will focus on the literary work of multi-talented Marion Bloem who takes a foremost position among the second generation Indo-Dutch authors, filmmakers and artists. Her narratives are written in the context of the postcolonial Netherlands and should not only be placed within the context of the diaspora of the Indo-Dutch migrants from the former Dutch East Indies, but also in the context of recent processes of displacement, globalism and multiculturalism. Born in Holland, the second-generation migrants grew up with, and through their parents’ bitter stories about racial inequality in The Dutch East Indies and their ‘cold reception’ in the Netherlands. Framed by emotionally charged silences and events that took place before they were born, the ‘postmemories’ produced by the second generation are mediations of their heritage. From the early 1980s on, the second generation began to resist the silent adaptation of the older generation and the colonial denial of their Indonesian ‘roots’. In contrast to the national embracing of ‘tempo doeloe’ nostalgia, second generation Indo-Dutch writers and filmmakers have negotiated nostalgia in a different manner and have re-written Indo-Dutchness through a transnational sense of self. Perhaps as a result of her Indo-Dutch upbringing, many travels around the world and long stays in Indonesia Bloem has brought an international perspective into her books that can no longer be defined as ‘novels’. Rather than in-between figures, as often is asserted, her protagonists have become transnational subjects who invent a home and shape identities through the creative re-writing of stories and myths about mixed race. Bloem’s works have more than often been interpreted in terms of a ‘migrant caught between two cultures/nations’, even of ‘continuous problems with her Indo-Dutch identity’, thus continuing colonial representations of the ‘unreliable half-blood’ or the ‘tragic mulatto’. Instead of this traditional-national approach and drawing among others on Edward Said, Paul Gilroy, Inderpal Grewal, Avtar Brah and Marianne Hirsch, I would like to suggest a diasporic, transnational or pluricentric perspective which may be more productive to understand Bloem’s work and, perhaps, modern ‘Dutch’ literature in general.
Pamela Pattynama is Indisch Huis Professor of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature and Culture History, specifically the Dutch East Indies. She teaches film studies, literary studies and Indies literature at the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely on (post)colonial discourse and the representation of gender and mixed race in Dutch postcolonial films and literature. Another focal point in her research is the relation between memory and identity formation in migrant communities. Currently, she is working on a book on postcolonial cultural memory in literature, photography and films about the Dutch East Indies. She also participates in a European project on colonial photographs in museum collections.
Adriaan van Dis (Paris, Dutch author)
Squeezed between Rice and Potato: Personal Reflections on a Dutch (Post-)Colonial Youth. Keynote lecture.
Adriaan van Dis, whose biography is profoundly marked by “colonial connections,” presents in this lecture a series of personal experiences that connect the mythological Dutch Indies with the color-sensitive South Africa. Being himself a child of two cultures, the topic of cultural mixture will be his main focus. For him, as a writer, it naturally implies a strong interest in Creole languages, or in the question of how race and racial discrimination can also influence linguistics. Van Dis concludes his lecture by highlighting similarities between his own postcolonial youth and that of the contemporary immigrant cultures in Europe. Clean your ears: the author will sing!
Adriaan van Dis was born on 16 December 1946 in Bergen, a coastal town to the north of Amsterdam, into a family of repatriates from the Dutch East Indies torn apart by the war. His mother’s first husband – an officer native in the colonial army – was beheaded during the Japanese occupation. After the war she stayed in an evacuation camp in Sumatra with her three mixed-race daughters where she met Adriaan’s future father. This man, who had lost track of his wife and children in the chaos of war, joined the fractured family and took on the children. The man proved to be seriously traumatised by the war. Van Dis’ childhood was marked by these circumstances and by the repatriate milieu. The stories from his childhood stirred up a desire to travel in the young man from an early age. Already as a student, he went on a nine-month-long trip to India – as a hippie with short hair and a crease in his trousers. After that he continued to travel, travel which eventually landed him in journalism. After a career at NRC Handelsblad – a leading Dutch newspaper – he finally opted for literature. Van Dis graduated in Dutch Language and Literature and took up a study of Afrikaans, in which he graduated in 1978 with a thesis on Breyten Breytenbach’s work. Throughout his career as a journalist and writer Van Dis has always been an important advocate of universal human rights. He has been particularly active on issues concerning freedom of expression and the defence of persecuted artists. Van Dis was involved in the anti-apartheid movement in the 60’s and 70’s. He was the co-founder and chairman of the Dutch Rushdie Defence Committee from 1991-1999. He has been vice-president of the Prins Claus Fund, which supports cultural projects in the Third World, and he is still a board member of the Foundation Amsterdam City of Asylum, which grants refuge to persecuted writers and journalists. Adriaan van Dis currently lives in Paris, France. Adriaan van Dis made his literary debut in 1983 with the novella Nathan Sid, which won the Gouden Ezelsoor’s prize. He subsequently wrote: De vraatzuchtige spreekt (novella, 1986), Tropenjaren: De zaak (play, 1986) De rat van Arras (novella, 1986), Casablanca (travel stories, 1986), Een barbaar in China: een reis door Centraal Azië (travel literature, 1987), Zilver of Het verlies van de onschuld (novel, 1988) Het beloofde land: een reis door de Kaaro (travel literature, 1990), In Afrika (travel literature, 1991), Indische Duinen (novel, 1994 – translated into English as My Father’s War, 2004) Palmwijn (novella, Book Week gift 1996), Totok (poetry, 1998), Dubbelliefde: geschiedenis van een jongeman (novel, 1999), Op oorlogspad in Japan (travel account, 2000), Familieziek (novel, 2002 – translated into English as Repatriated, 2008), Onder het zink. Un abécédaire de Paris (Book Week Essay 2004), De wandelaar (novel, 2007), Leeftocht (travel essays, 2007), Tikkop (novel 2010).
Christine Levecq (Kettering University in Flint, MI)
The Cultural Hybridity of of the Dutch-Ghanaian Minister Jacobus Capitein
Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein (1717-1747) is often relegated to the sidelines of both Dutch and African history, primarily because of the dissertation he presented at the University of Leiden in 1742, in which he argued that the institution of slavery was compatible with Christianity. My goal is to bring some nuance to this portrait. As part of my current book project entitled Black Cosmopolitans in an Age of Revolution, my paper argues that, when one looks closely at the letters Capitein wrote during the five years he spent as a missionary on the African coast, one can detect a slow transformation of his sense of cultural identity. The letters make an important contribution to Dutch literature and to the idea of “connections” between two cultural worlds. Capitein is often seen as a sort of sell-out who embraced his new European culture completely. Born in what is now Ghana, he was sold as a boy to a Dutch officer of the West India Company who worked at the fort of Elmina. He then followed his master to the Netherlands, where in the next few years, he thrived as a young student. He ended up studying theology at the University of Leiden, wrote and defended the infamous thesis there, and was ordained into the Dutch Reformed Church a few months later. That same year, he embarked on a ship for the Gold Coast, ready to bring the good news back to his country of birth. But studying his letters closely reveals how, during the five years he spent at Elmina, Capitein gradually evolved from a representative of Holland and of Christianity in Africa, into a spokesperson for the Africans vis-à-vis the WIC and the Church back in Holland. Rather than sticking to his self-assigned role as transmitter of metropolitan culture, he acted as a cosmopolitan reflector of various cultures. He thus redefined the notion of “connection” by making it clear to his sponsors that the current had to flow in both directions. I believe that it is this dimension that deserves to be explored within the context of this conference.
Christine Levecq has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Loyola University Chicago, and Michigan State University. In 1998-’99 she was a Resident Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University. She currently teaches African American and African Diaspora Literatures at Kettering University in Flint, MI. Her book Slavery and Sentiment: The Politics of Feeling in Black Atlantic Antislavery Writing, 1770-1850 came out with the University Press of New England in 2008.
Adéle Nel and Phil van Schalkwyk (North-West University)
The Early Cape Colony: Karel Schoeman and/on Relationality
Karel Schoeman is not only an accomplished novelist, but also one of the most gifted South African historians. In his works on history he succeeds in wedding vast erudition and scientific accuracy with exceptional literary competence, not only in terms of linguistic skill and style, but also his ability to capture and convey character and to tell a story. There is no other South African historian who can match his productivity. In the past couple of years he completed the first two volumes of a five part series Kolonie aan die Kaap, and it is on these two volumes that we focus in this paper. The first, Patrisiërs & prinse: Die Europese samelewing en die stigting van ’n kolonie aan die Kaap 1619-1715 (2008), deals with the Netherlands of the 17th century with the aim of portraying the background of the first Dutch settlers in the Cape. The emphasis of this book is on the nobility, and although the vast majority of the Dutch settlers did not belong to this class, Schoeman shows how the “Versailles” ideal had filtered through all ranks of society. It certainly influenced early leaders like Jan van Riebeeck and Simon van der Stel. Patrisiërs & prinse makes a convincing case for viewing South African history as significantly related to European history, also in ways not immediately obvious. The second volume in the series, Handelsryk in die Ooste: Die wêreld van die VOC, 1619-1685 (2009), explores another component of this historical relationality, but with the same drive toward pointing out the complex dialectics in and between the micro and the macro. The fascinating tapestry of the VOC empire is vividly painted, giving an impression not only of the rich colonial hybridity to which South Africa belonged, but also of human reciprocity, topics which were explored, in remarkable ways, by the early Afrikaans author and poet C. Louis Leipoldt and more recently by Elsa Joubert, who in her novel Gordel van smarag (1997) literally and figuratively follows in Leipoldt’s footsteps. Prior to embarking on the ambitious Kolonie aan die Kaap project, Schoeman had already written prolifically on the VOC and the early Cape Colony. Patrisiërs & prinse and Handelsryk in die Ooste need to be read with reference to not only Kinders van die Kompanjie: Kaapse lewens uit die sewentiende eeu (2007), in which Schoeman tells the stories of 35 individuals and how their lives related to the greater VOC, but also the two part Armosyn van die Kaap (2001). Of more recent Dutch descent, Schoeman has reflected on his own relationship with The Netherlands in Stamland: ’n Reis deur Nederland (1999) – this book should also be considered when studying his views on the relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands. In our papers we will then undertake a preliminary survey of the complex thinking on relationality presented in Patrisiërs & prinse and Handelsryk in die Ooste. We will argue that Schoeman’s work is underlain by a “poetics of reciprocity”, as David Attwell has claimed with regard to J.M. Coetzee.
Adéle Nel is an Associate Professor in the School of Languages at the North-West University in South Africa, where she lectures Afrikaans and Dutch literature and film studies. She is involved in the research program: “Literature, space and identity construction in local and global contexts”, as well as the subprogram: “Poetics of boundaries, liminality and hybridity: The representation and configuration of boundaries, liminal spaces and hybrid processes of identity formation in South African literature”.
Phil van Schalkwyk is senior lecturer in the School of Languages, North-West University in South-Africa, where he teaches Afrikaans and Dutch literature. He has published in accredited South African journals (Stilet, Literator, Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans, Critical Arts, South African Journal of Linguistics), and has contributed chapters to books such as Beyond the Threshold: Explorations of Liminality in Literature (2007) and Over grenzen: Een vergelijkende studie van Nederlandse, Vlaamse en Afrikaanse poëzie (2009).
Luc Renders (University of Hasselt)
Better than the Original: Christianity in Afrikaans Literary Texts by Colored and Black South African Authors
The European colonizers not only imported their culture into South Africa but also their religion. The Christian church was an essential cog in the colonial machine. In this paper I will analyze a number of novels written mainly by colored and black writers in Afrikaans in the second half of the 20th century in order to determine the position the authors take in relation to Christianity. As die son ondergaan (As the sun sets) (1945) by S.V. Petersen, Jôhannie giet die beeld (Johannesburg moulds the statue) (1954) by Arthur Fula and Okkies op die breë pad (Okkies on the broad road) (1955) by Eddie Domingo are so-called ‘Jim goes to Jo’burg’ stories: a black man leaves his rural village to go to the city, gets corrupted by it but is saved by his Christian faith. These novels illustrate how fully Christianity was assimilated by the colored and black communities. This adoption or assimilation allows the black and colored writers to start using their faith as a weapon against the discrimination of their communities by the white rulers. Their criticism takes two forms: firstly as an attack on the hypocrisy of the Christianity preached by the whites; the blacks and coloreds see themselves as the true Christians. And secondly as a firm conviction that God is on the side of the oppressed and will free South Africa from Apartheid. This trust is expressed in the literary works by Adam Small such as the play Joanie Galant-hulle (Joanie Galant and his family) (1978), his collection of poetry Kitaar my kruis (Guitar my cross) (1979) and his novel Heidesee (1979), in the novel Rebunie (2000) by P.J. Philander, in the egodocument Die verdwaalde land (The lost country) (1992) by Abraham Phillips, in the prose texts by A.H.M. Scholtz Vatmaar (Just take) (1995) Langsaan die vuur (By the fireside) (1996) and Afdraai (Turn off) (1998) and in the novel Die storie van Monica Peters (The story of Monica Peters) (1996) by E.K.M. Dido. After the first democratic elections in 1994 a black government is installed. Consequently Eurocentrism is replaced with Africanism. The literary works by colored writers show an heightened interest in the cultural traditions and religions of Africa. The mythical stories of the Khoi and the San and the traditional beliefs of the blacks are re-appropriated e.g. in the short story collections Iets goeds uit Verneukpan? (Something good from Verneukpan) (1998) and Mafoiing en annerlike gelofietjies (Mafoiing and other superstitions) (2001) by Elias P. Nel and in the novel ‘n Stringetjie blou krale (A small string of blue beads) (2000) by E.K.M. Dido. In his novel Bidsprinkhaan (Praying mantis) (2000) the white author André P. Brink closes the circle. His main character Kupido Kakkerlak rejects the Christian faith, to which he was converted, and embraces the beliefs of his ancestors once again. The way in which black and coloreds authors have given voice to their Christian faith in their literary works has undergone significant shifts, representing the political and social developments in South African society during the second half of the twentieth century.
Luc Renders is a member of the BCL Department at Hasselt University in Belgium. His research interests center on Afrikaans literature and on Dutch literature on the Congo. On both research topics he has a substantial number of articles. He is the co-author of the overview of South African literature entitled Skrywers in die strydperk: Krachtlijnen in de Zuid-Afrikaanse letterkunde (2005).
Ena Jansen (Free University of Amsterdam)
Similar Pasts Remembered: South African and Dutch-Caribbean Slavery Novels
Despite huge differences between South Africa and the Caribbean, colonial Dutch influences are still highly visible in both areas, especially with regards to important cultural products such as language (Afrikaans and Papiamento) and memories of slavery. For centuries, though, there was very little direct contact between South Africa and the Caribbean. This was mainly due to the division of the seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch world between the VOC and WIC areas as well as the fact that South Africa became part of the British world after 1806 and had little direct official contact with Holland. After apartheid ended in the 1990s these transatlantic worlds started making contact, mainly via their communal ‘mother country’ from colonial times by way of projects initiated by Dutch cultural networks such as the Nederlandse Taalunie and Winternachten. Novelist Rayda Jacobs who had published The Slave Book in 1998, was the first South African author to be invited to attend the Krusa Laman festival (an extension of Winternachten) on Curacao. That was in 2003. In a recent article (‘Slavernijromans als beginpunt voor een vergelijkend onderzoek tussen literatuur uit Zuid-Afrika en het Nederlands-Caribisch gebied’, Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans 2009:1) I suggested that slave novels can be an important starting point for comparative literary studies between South Africa and the Dutch-Caribbean areas. In my paper I will continue this line of thought by discussing a few slavery novels written by South African and Dutch-Caribbean authors in a comparative context against the background of insights from postmodern and postcolonial theories on historical novels. I will also take up a suggestion which I made in the article to compare how slave history is used as literary material in the literatures of South Africa and the Dutch Caribbean islands to comment on more recent unjust practices such as apartheid, corruption and political repression. Recent popular culture projects such as the Curacao-Dutch opera ‘Katibu di shon’ (collaboration between author De Haseth and the Dutch mezzo soprano Tania Kross) and André Brinks most recent novel based on slave narratives will all be included in an attempt to frame the parameters of comparative research. David Johnsons article ‘Representing Cape Slavery: Literature, law, and history’ (2010) in Journal of Postcolonial Writing 46(5: 504-516) will be taken into account.
Ena Jansen studied at the universities of Stellenbosch and Utrecht. She taught for sixteen years at the University of the Witwatersrand before moving again to the Netherlands in 2001 where she teaches Dutch literature at the Free University of Amsterdam. She is also Professor of South African literature at the University of Amsterdam. Her publications include Afstand en verbintenis. Elisabeth Eybers in Amsterdam (1996 and 1998 – in Afrikaans and Dutch editions), as well as books and articles on the Boer War, migrant literature, city novels and the representation of families in literature. Her inaugural lecture on constructions of Jan van Riebeeck’s translator Eva/Krotoa is available on internet. She is currently working on a book on the role of domestic servants in South African city novels.
Michiel van Kempen (University of Amsterdam)
Complexities of Non-Western Canonization
Processes of canonization in former colonies follow completely different tracks compared to western literature. In an earlier paper I described 14 factors decisive in canonization processes and I tried to point out how they function in Caribbean literature. More complex even is the way canonization in the Caribbean is influenced by trans-Atlantic mechanisms. If there is, for instance, not a firm literary infrastructure in former colonies, then the question is not only how the gap is filled in, but also in what way old post-colonial conditions still operate. How do ideas of decolonization interfere with processes of canonization of literature? I will try to make this clear in a comparison of what happened with the work of writers from the thirties (20th century) and the beginnings of the 21st century.
Michiel van Kempen is a professor by special appointment in West-Indian literature at the University of Amsterdam. He wrote an extensive history of Surinamese literature (2003). He is the editor of numerous anthologies on Surinamese and Dutch-Antillean literature:, a.o.: Nieuwe Surinaamse verhalen (1986), Spiegel van de Surinaamse poëzie (1995), Mama Sranan: twee eeuwen Surinaamse verhaalkunst (1999) en Noordoostpassanten: 400 jaar Nederlandse verhaalkunst over Suriname, de Nederlandse Antillen en Aruba (2005, with Wim Rutgers). He was co-editor of two collections of essays: Tussenfiguren in de literatuur (1998) and Wandelaar onder de palmen; Verkenningen in de koloniale en postkoloniale literatuur en cultuur (2004), wrote novels, collections of short stories and a book on India. He was awarded the 2004 Dutch-Belgian ANV-Visser Neerlandiaprijs and was knighted twice. His latest book, Cityscapes + birdmen (2010) got two prizes in the USA. Currently he is writing a biography of the first Caribbean-Dutch migrant-writer Albert Helman.
Lodewijk Wagenaar (University of Amsterdam)
A Theatrical Reflection of Colonial Relations in Dutch Ceylon: The 18th-century Reports on the Annual Apparition of Cinnamon Peelers with the Dutch Governor in Colombo.
Most documents kept at the Dutch East India Company (VOC) archives in The Hague, Cape Town, Jakarta, Colombo and Chennai represent the core business of the Company: Transport and Trade. Therefore we find sheer endless management reports, financial statements, bills of load and so on. However, the Company was not just an ordinary trader, buying and selling products from Asia. To foster its interest the trade company administered foreign lands – acquired by lease contract or by occupation. The occupied coastal areas of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) formed by far the greatest territory under jurisdiction of the Company. Hence the Company officers had legal power over a population of about half a million people, of whom the cinnamon peelers of the salagama caste were of the utmost importance for the realization of the commercial goals of the VOC on the island, the procurement of the aromatic bark. At the beginning of the pealing season, the Ceylonese cinnamon peelers left their respective villages and walked all the way to Colombo in order to appear for the Governor and Councils, in front of the pavilion in the garden of the Governors House. There they assembled to show their loyalty to the Lord of the Land at the annual paresse with the Governor. Copies of the report of this meeting were inserted in the Diary of Colombo (Colombo’s Dagregister) and sent to the High Government in Batavia as well as to the Board of the Gentlemen Seventeen in the Netherlands. The reports of the paresses read as if they were theatre plays, inclusive a set of traditional characters, such as villains and heroes. At the one side of the podium we see the Governor and his Councils, at the other side the peelers with their chiefs or inlandse hoofden. Through the translator the Governor greets the peelers, and asks them about their family’s health and welfare. The first chief of the peelers answers politely. Then the Governor suddenly turns into the harsh director of the VOC business, bringing forward the Company’s complaints related to the last delivery of cinnamon. In most cases the comments of the peelers’ chiefs are turned down as ridiculous and false excuses. The ‘play’ ends with sentencing to forced labor of the worst culprits who had not handed in the due amount of peeled cinnamon. As all Sinhalese, these useless people are called lazy and not to be trusted – the punitive correction will help them to behave better in future. The Governor however, shows he is a real good and fair Lord of the Lands by not blaming and punishing the good and lenient peelers, for those lucky ones are allowed to take their leave and proceed to the interior lands in order to fulfill their cast obligation. All well that ends well… Certainly, the reports of the annual paresses are not the only documents which can be read as theatre plays. The many kinds of interrogations – be they part of a criminal trial or of the proceedings of a fact finding committee – are of a most extraordinary liveliness. Such interrogations could be easily used as basic material for a film scenario. As an example I refer to the remarkable history of three persons sentenced in Batavia to be banished to the Cape – after arrival a period of 25 years of forced labor would wait for them. The culprits (as they were seen by the Company) left Batavia in 1775 as prisoners on board the GEINWENS, however on its way to the Cape this East-Indiaman shipwrecked in the Bay of Galle and fell apart. Surprisingly, sailormen, passengers and prisoners were all saved, together with the ships’ papers. The letters from the Council of Justice to the Governor of the Cape, with the attached copies of interrogations and sentences were handed over by the unfortunate shipper to the Commander of Galle. For the prisoners was no escape: They were locked up temporarily and had to wait for final transport to their unwanted destination. The papers saved from this ship nowadays are kept in the National Archives, Colombo. There I retrieved these files and from them I could partially reconstruct the lives of a rebellious imam from Johor, a cattle thief from Java and a female slave who twice got rid herself of her chains. Drama!
Lodewijk Wagenaar is Senior Curator, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Affiliated Member, History Department, University of Amsterdam (UvA) Articles: ‘Phrases and faces: The involvement of the Dutch East India Company in the Contacts between Siam and Kandy, 1753-1757’, in Abhinandanamala – Nandana Chutiwongs Felicitation Volume. Editor-chief Leelananda Prematilleke. Bangkok/Colombo, 2010, 275-282. ‘The arrival of Buddhist monks from Siam in 1753. Mid-eighteenth century religious contacts between Kandy and Siam, as recorded by the Dutch East India Company, in Proceedings of the International Symposium ‘Crossroads of Thai and Dutch history’. Dhiravat na Pombejra, Han ten Brummelhuis, Nandana Chutiwongs, Pisit Charoenwongsa (eds.). Bangkok: Seameo-Spafa, 2007. ‘Looking for Monks from Arakan: A Chapter of the Kandyan-Dutch Relations in the
18th Century’, in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, Special Issue, nr. 48 (2003): 91-111.
Britt Dams (Ph.D. candidate, Ghent University)
Writing to Comprehend: The Role of Intertextuality in Johannes de Laet’s “Iaerlyck Verhael” on Dutch-Brazil
This contribution deals with Johannes De Laet’s Historie, ofte Iaerlyck Verhael van de Verrichtinghen der Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie. Johannes De Laet (1581-1649) was a Dutch geographer who wrote and edited several influential works about the New World. Moreover, he was the official chronicler of the early years of the Dutch West India Company (WIC). In his Iaerlyck Verhael De Laet gave an overview of the history of the WIC from 1623 to 1636, i.e. the year in which Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen took off for Brazil to become the Governor of the Dutch colony. De Laet was also one of the directors of the WIC, the Iaerlyck Verhael is thus clearly a biased work. What makes the thirteen volumes so valuable is the impressive amount of descriptions of the New World. De Laet mainly based his work on primary sources of which unfortunately many disappeared. The Iaerlyck Verhael is constructed of a mosaic of reports, letters and other textual and non-textual sources from authors with various backgrounds and origins. De Laet brought together and transformed to create his own version of the events, a version that was supposed to attract investors for the colonial enterprises of the WIC. In my speech I want to focus on a number of selected passages wherein de Laet described the tropical reality of (what would become) Dutch Brazil, more specifically the fauna, the flora and the local people. These descriptions both reveal and construct the strange reality encountered by the (Dutch) colonisers in Brazil. I want to reveal the function of these descriptions and by means of an analysis of some selected passages to demonstrate that even if de Laet was one of the directors of the WIC he was not only driven by utilitarian interests when writing his Iaerlyck Verhael. In his Iaerlyck Verhael de Laet not only wrote down facts and events about Dutch Brazil but he also gave shape to the colony. My hypothesis is that more specifically in the descriptive passages he participated in the creation and comprehension of Dutch Brazil. In the descriptions the strange reality is not just displayed: the act of describing constructs, gives meaning and fashions the strange reality. In short: the description creates the possibility to eventually explore and comprehend, i.e. to appropriate and understand. I will investigate how he constructed his descriptions and (when possible) reveal his sources. I will demonstrate how the descriptive passages became on their turn textual loci of knowledge-transfer and focus on the rhetorical techniques that sustain this transfer. De Laet relied on a variety of sources, classical and contemporary ones. But soon after its publication, the Iaerlyck Verhael itself became an authority and took part in a knowledge and imagination network about foreign (scientific) realities.
Britt Dams studied French, Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature in Ghent (Belgium) and Salvador (UFBA, Brazil), and Literary Studies in Leuven (Belgium). She is currently working as a PhD-student at the department of Dutch Literature and Literary Theory, preparing a dissertation on “Describing the New World in the Early Modern Period: the ‘Case’ of Dutch Brazil (1624-1654)”. Her main field of interest is colonial history and literature. Selected publications: “Manoel de Moraes. Spelen met de grenzen van de eigen identiteit in Nederlands Brazilië.” (2011), in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, nr.1 2011, Assen, 4-15. “Elias Herckmans. A poet at the borders of Dutch Brazil” (2010), in: Intersections, Yearbook of Early Modern Studies: The Dutch Trading Companies as Knowledge Networks, Leiden: Brill.
Paul Hollanders (Ph.D. candidate, University of Amsterdam)
‘Animus Revertendi’ versus ‘Animus Manendi’. The Will to Return versus the Will to Stay in Dutch Colonial Literature Applied to Colonists in Late 18th Century Surinam.
The concept of Animus Manendi could prove to be an illuminating searchlight in the analysis of colonial and post-colonial literature. Jan Jacob Mauricius (1692 – 1768), who was Governor of Surinam from 1742 up to 1751, is as far as I know the source of the pregnant words ‘Animus Revertendi’; the will to return. Many colonists came with the idea to return to the Fatherland as soon as possible, preferably with a well – filled purse and in good health. In opposition to this concept I would like to put forward ‘Animus Manendi’; the will to stay. The basic attitude willing to stay in a certain colony is essentially different from wanting to leave the colony as soon as possible. When you are willing to stay, you want to be a part of, you want to build something instead of looting the area and leave. This opposition wasn’t only operative in the West, but also in every colony on every continent. The Dutch Republic has undoubtedly had to deal with it on a large scale, being the spider in the cultural, economical and geographical web. The connection between the Republic and its colonies can very usefully be studied with the focus on the opposition ‘Revertendi’ versus ‘Manendi’; returning versus staying. It can also very well be extended towards the present. My aim is to present the Manendi–concept and to connect it to research into the Association of ‘de Surinaamsche Lettervrinden’ (the Surinam friends of Literature), in which Paul Francois Roos (1751–1805) has played a dominant role. This information I want to connect to, on the one hand the rich Association life in the Republic and on the other hand to Association life in other colonies during the same period.
Paul Hollanders graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 1984 on a doctoral on Paul Francois Roos under the supervision of Bert Paasman. He teaches Dutch at Mearlant College in Brielle, the Netherlands. In 1989 he obtained a first degree teaching license in History at the Hogere School Rotterdam & Omstreken. At present he is working on his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Amsterdam on the above mentioned Paul Francois Roos and his contemporaries under the supervision of Michiel van Kempen.
Hilde Neus (Paramaribo, College of Education)
From Zuylen to Stein, Building Modern Literature
Egmond Codfried saw a portrait of Belle van Zuylen’s grandmother and proposed she was black. He finds his opinion supported in ‘Portrait de Zelide’ a self description of Belle in which she states: ‘Elle n’a pas la main blanche…’. The idea in itself is not totally without grounds, since Van Tuyl van Serooskerken, Belle’s family, used to own property in the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. After marrying the Swiss count De Charrière, Belle changed her name to Isabelle and moved to Switzerland. Her she doted her time to writing novels, epistolary manuscripts and philosophical treaties. Together with Pierre-Alexandre Du Peyrou she published work by Rousseau and defended his wife against malicious gossip. After the French Revolution she wrote an interesting novel, ‘Trois Femmes’ (1798). The main character is Constance, who lives with two other women of different social class in a little village. It turns out that her fortunes are of dubious background. In a supplement, ‘Histoire de Constance’ (that was never published or translated), the author explains about the origins of Constance, a creole woman originating from Martinique. Her uncle had a disastrous love affair with a black slave girl; their mulatto daughter was raised by Constance for some time. The story is a trope for the relations between (French) Europe and the colonies. Du Peyrou and relatives had played a major role in the eighteenth century politics in Suriname and owned important plantations. We could say that his fortune was one derived from the blood and sweat of the slaves who worked his plantations. It seems almost impossible that Isabelle de Charriere never talked about the (Dutch –not French!) colonies with her dear friend Du Peyrou. In describing the situation on Martinique she might have been writing about the situation in Suriname. According to Vega, ‘Trois Femmes’ would fit perfectly within Said’s theory of Culture and Imperialism, especially since Belle wrote in a literary oppositional fashion against colonialism. Gertrude Stein wrote Three Lives (1909) in Paris, where she had lived as a child, and returned to in 1903. In this modernistic psychological novel she describes in detail the portraits of three very different women (like in ‘Trois Femmes’). One of these women is black; Melanctha is all about her sexual searching and tragic love affair. According to Wilson Stein was one of the first to write with an approach totally free of race consciousness. ‘Behind the clear, mostly monotone simplicity of Gertrude Stein’s syntax we see more and more how she controls the contradictory and undividable organisms that human characters are made of’. In the ‘Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas’ we learn about Steins attitude toward language. There is no undeniable proof that Belle van Zuylen was of influence to Gertrude Stein, but in close reading both ‘Trois Femmes’ and ‘Three Lives’ we see a number of similarities in topic and theme. Both women were trend setters of their times. Stein so much that Picasso painted one of his first cubist painting ‘Trois Femmes’, inspired by her book. In this paper I would like to go into the possibilities of Belle van Zuylen having been of influence and inspiration to Gertrude Stein.
Hilde Neus – van der Putten was born in 1960 in the Netherlands. She taught for six year at a primary International School in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and is currently living in Suriname, since 1991. Attended Advanced Teacher Training College (IOL) in Paramaribo and majored in Dutch Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam in 2003. She has been teaching in High School the subjects Dutch language and Arts and culture from 2000 – 2005. Since 2000 she is working as Educational Officer for the Suriname Museum Foundation where she makes children’s programs and builds exhibitions. She is also program coordinator at the College for Education in Paramaribo. She is currently writing a Ph.D. in the Dept. of History at the Erasmus University Rotterdam about the topic “Free Women in Suriname in the 18th century.” Neus writes regular book reviews for the daily newspaper De Ware Tijd and articles on the museum in Museumstof. Since January 2010 she teaches at the Advanced Teacher Training College (IOL) in the subjects Colonial and Modern Literature and is now head of the Dutch language department. She published ‘Susanna du Plessis. Portret van een slavenmeesteres’, a study on a cruel slave mistress. (KIT 2003). In 2007 she edited ‘Diversity is Power’, an Anthology of Poetry, Short Stories, Columns and works of Art to commemorate the 5th International Literature Festival Suriname. Recently she co-authored ‘Gerrit Schouten. Met meesterhand vervaardigd’ (Libri Musei Surinamensis 4, 2008) with Laddy van Putten.
Florencia Cornet (Ph.D. candidate, University of South Carolina)
21st Century Curaçaoan Women Writers: Re-visiting, De-stabilizing and (Re) imagining the Kurasoleña.
This paper critically analyzes the racial and gender decolonization process and social agency in three works of fiction by three Curaçaoan women writers. This is an attempt at locating the performance of third space politicization and identity formation in Aliefka Bijlsma’s Gezandstraald [Sandblasted] (2007), Loeki Morales’ Bloedlijn Overzee: Een Familiezoektocht’ [Bloodline Oversees: A Family Search] (2002) and Myra Römer’s Het Geheim van Gracia [The Secret of Gracia] (2008). The main female characters in the above mentioned novels reinvent themselves by contesting, influencing and re-shaping the dominant socio-political, gender and cultural norms and structures of their landscapes. The Curaçaoan colonial history is a lingering reality in the corporeal and imaginary lives of the women characters. Their present experiences seem to be tainted by a colonial past that has been directly or indirectly shaped by Dutch domination on Curaçao. The women characters are located in the fluid yet constrained cultural and socio-political Kingdom relationship between Curaçao and the Netherlands. Whether located in the periphery or the center, these women are haunted by real and imaginary restrictions that function to configure their behavior and bodies along nationally imposed boundaries of what it means to be a woman, a woman of color, a Kurasoleña or a Dutch citizen in the 21st century. Though the stories in the three novels are presented from different points of historical and cultural locations in the Curaçaoan Dutch postcolonial experience, they all offer interchangeable ways of performing resistance to the lingering colonial traces that have impacted racial and gender cultural constructs in the Curaçaoan city space. The main female characters in Bijlsma’s, Morales’ and Römer’s novels are attempting to find a “home” that allows them to perform a Kurasoleña identity and cultural citizenship on their own terms. This attempt at self-determination within the politically, culturally and economically bound Curaçaoan city calls to some extent for a dismantlement of all popular held beliefs surrounding constructions and definitions of the Kurasoleña.
Florencia Cornet is an PhD candidate currently completing her dissertation in Comparative Literature in the Department of Languages Literatures and Cultures at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Her dissertation focus entails a comparative analysis of the racial and gender decolonial moves performed by women from the hybrid Curaçaoan diaspora and the New York Afro-Latina diaspora. Her approach is interdisciplinary in that Ms. Cornet weaves ethnographic inquiry with a critical literary analysis of Dutch Caribbean and US Latina/o literature and performance texts.
Nicole Saffold Maskiell, (PhD Candidate, Cornell University)
Bequeathing Bondage: Slave Networks in the Dutch Atlantic
Sometime after arriving on the island of Curaçao, a small group of adults and children from New Netherland was lost. The misfortune was discovered by the Director General’s wife, Judith, who had, before their disappearance, stood as baptismal witness for the missing persons at her own family chapel on the bouwery in Manhattan. This launched a series of correspondences between the two Dutch colonies throughout the summer and fall of 1664. That the group was lost was not extraordinary: piracy, storms and warring polities made the late seventeenth century Atlantic world a place of frequent disappearances. What was extraordinary was that the incident was noted at all and at the highest levels of Dutch colonial society. For the missing persons were enslaved Africans. In 1687, Judith Bayard Stuyvesant died in New York. Through the pieces left to her descendents, a lifetime of connections between New Netherland and the larger Dutch slave empire emerge. To her granddaughter, Judith, she bequeathed “all my Testracies Wearing apparel of silk and Wollen belonging to my body Together with a Summe of One thousand Gilders Wampum.” The legacy she left to her Caribbean-born granddaughter uncovers the ways that the VOC silk trade was knit together with the New Netherland economy of Wampum. To her son, Nicholas Stuyvesant, she left a “black Cabbinett of Ebbon wood with the foot or frame belonging to it.” While New Netherland provisioned the Caribbean with timber and foodstuffs, the Caribbean supplied New Netherland with slaves and the black wood from the western African coast. Even as slavery disrupted the personal and family lives of enslaved Africans, it created a common slave culture and knit together merchant Dutch families, cementing Atlantic alliances which crossed contested colonial lines. When smallpox swept through the Massachusetts Bay colony during the summer of 1721, Cotton Mather and fellow Harvard alum and amateur scientist Benjamin Colman interviewed enslaved people in Boston about their experiences of smallpox inoculation in Africa. Mather and Zabdiel Boylston submitted Boylston’s son as well as his enslaved man servant and child as test subjects. The consultation of blacks caused a strident debate in Boston, but the inoculation bore favorable results. In his diary, Mather planned to “hasten unto Holland” and share his “account of the astonishing Success, which we have here seen of the Small –Pox inoculated.” His intention to “Hasten unto Holland” with his smallpox results illuminates the ways in which the Dutch and English continental and Atlantic worlds were tied along lines of honor and the products resulting from trade in human beings. Letters, wills and diary entries uncover hidden pathways of slavery connecting Caribbean planters, Harvard elites, New York magistrates and Holland’s scientific society. Insults and niceties, secret deals and veiled deceit flowed between members of the Dutch slaveholding Atlantic, moments easily missed without a framework for understanding the coded world they inhabited. My paper will explore the ways that slavery transformed the cultural landscape of the Dutch Atlantic through an examination of the social, intellectual and kinship networks that intertwined Dutch slaveholders with those they enslaved.
Nicole Saffold Maskiell is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Cornell University. Her research is focused on the networks that connected communities across racial lines in colonial New York and New England, and how those ties affected the larger culture of the Dutch and English world during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She is currently writing her dissertation tentatively entitled “A Kind of Extravagant Blood: Slavery Among Elites in Colonial Massachusetts and New York,” for which she received the 2010 Huntington Library Mayers Fellowship and the 2010 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship.
Cindy Kerseborn: I Will Die for Your Head
International premiere of the documentary film on the work and life of the Dutch-Surinamese writer Edgar Cairo: “I Will Die for Your Head” by Cindy Kerseborn. In much of his literary and artistic work, Edgar Cairo (1948-2000) focused on the Dutch colonial history of his native Suriname and on the Dutch legacy of slavery. As a black man in the predominantly white Netherlands, race and racial discrimination played an important role in his critical analysis of Dutch society. Cairo was known as an extremely creative writer who developed a proper literary language, mixing Standard Dutch with the Surinamese Creole Sranantongo. Kerseborn’s film highlights Cairo’s role as a pioneer in the development of a black identity and a black consciousness in the context of the Dutch colonial history and post-colonial present.
Participation at this conference is free of charge. No registration is needed. Rooms can be booked at the Berkeley City Club Hotel, a historic Julia Morgan hotel (http://berkeleyhistorichotel.com) located next to the Berkeley campus and in walking-distance from the metro station BART-Downtown Berkeley that connects you to downtown San Francisco as well as to the San Francisco International Airport. At the Berkeley City Club Hotel, a selection of single-bed rooms is available for the conference participants at the price of $140/night (including all taxes, free internet, buffet breakfast, and afternoon tea). In order to book your room, please email the hotel manager Mrs. Kellie Robinson at <email@example.com>. Please indicate in your reservation that you are a participant at the “Dutch Studies Conference”, the number of nights you need, your credit card information, your name as it appears on your card, the type of card (Visa/Mastercard) and expiration date.
An alternative option is Hotel Shattuck (http://www.hotelshattuckplaza.com), also located next to the Berkeley campus and right next to the BART-station Downtown Berkeley. Please contact Hotel Shattuck for more information.
This conference is made possible thanks to the generous support of:
The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley
The Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley
The Department of German and Dutch at the University of California, Berkeley
The Hellman Fund
De Nederlandse Taalunie
Fonds voor de Letteren
The Netherlands America University League of California
The Royal Netherlands Embassy in the United States
The Netherlands Consulate General in San Francisco