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Departing from the role of the female Indonesian body in Louis Couperus’s novel De Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force), the speakers focus on the lives of women during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia, acknowledging the subjection that many of them endured. In particular, they will focus on the (then) silenced history of the Njai, and on the Indonesian folkloric figure of the Kuntilanak. By means of an intersectional feminist approach, the event will explore how pre-colonial concepts could serve as decolonial tactics.

Colonial Spectres

The starting point of Colonial Spectres is the speculation that the Dutch colonial elite brought haunted objects back to the Netherlands from Dutch-occupied Indonesia, coupled with a close reading of Dutch writer Louis Couperus' 1900 novel De Stille Kracht (The Hidden Force). The aim of this three-part series is to develop a cultural reading of the spectres which, in concrete form and as memories, are interwoven with bodies, material spaces and objects in Indonesia and the Netherlands. These themes are examined from the perspective of object collections, spectral tropicalism, pre-colonial folklore and early 20th-century occultism. In this programme, the colonial spirits take centre stage and are replaced by de-colonial perspectives.

19:30 – 21:00

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam


Standard€ 7.50
Students, CJP, Friends and Members of Het Nieuwe Instituut€ 3.75

Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.