In the second event in the Colonial Spectres series, researcher and filmmaker Janilda Bartolomeu talks to filmmaker and professor Sophia Siddique Harvey and film studies professor Rosalind Galt about the position of women in Indonesia during the Dutch occupation.
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.
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.
Colonial Spectres #1
And Other Spectres x TNL!
For the first event in the Colonial Spectres series, researcher and filmmaker Janilda Bartolomeu is joined by historian Caroline Drieënhuizen, curator Amanda Pinatih and scholar Robin Hartanto Honggare. They will discuss the contested histories of object collection in, during and after Dutch colonial rule in the former Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and how this practice helped forge Dutch identity.