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6 Feb. 2018 -
15:00 - 16:30
Posthumus Room, Vide
Free entrance

Industrious Women in the Dutch Empire: the Cultivation System and its Consequences

IISH Public Seminar by NIAS Fellow Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk

Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk will present her results about the consequences of the Cultivation System in Java for women’s work in the colony and the metropole, which she researched during her stay at NIAS.

About the Seminar

The Cultivation System (1830-1870) in the Dutch East Indies constituted a “classic piece of colonial exploitation” (Elson 1994, 303). Javanese peasants were forced to employ part of their land and (an even larger share of) their labour for the cultivation of cash crops such as sugar, coffee and indigo for the European market. While the consequences of this system – both for Java and the Netherlands – have been much debated, the effects of the Cultivation System on women’s work have hardly been investigated. This paper argues that women’s work has been crucial for the fulfillment of the increasing labour demands of the system. Moreover, it contends that the Cultivation System not only drastically influenced women’s work in Java, but, through the vast remittances from the colony to the metropole, also slowly but surely led to shifts in gendered work patterns in the Netherlands. All in all, colonialism shaped, and was shaped by, women’s participation in the household economy in the colony as well as in the metropole, albeit in increasingly contrasting ways.

About IISH Seminar

This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series. In principle, seminars take place every first Tuesday of the month. The seminar is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation and distribution of the paper in advance, we would like you to register with Jacqueline Rutte, jacqueline.rutte@bb.huc.knaw.nl.  You will receive the paper after registration. After the lecture we serve drinks. We are looking forward to meeting you.