Gert Oostindie, born in Ridderkerk, the Netherlands, in 1955. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden, and Professor of Caribbean Studies at Utrecht University.
Guest of the Rector (Spring 2006)
BRINGING HISTORY HOME. POSTCOLONIAL IDENTITY POLITICS IN THE NETHERLANDS
My stay at NIAS was a productive time in which I made very good use of the institute’s excellent facilities. I made extensive use of the excellent library facilities and the stimulating intellectual environment. I had planned to start working on a book, in Dutch, on the way colonial history is recorded in new canonical versions of Dutch national history. The draft outline of that book consisted of an introductory chapter and a handful of thematic essays.
I accomplished more than I had hoped. I wrote an extensive draft version of the Introduction, glossing over piles of recently published books on Dutch history as well as some comparative discussions. At the same timeI also started to work on one an essay on the role of the monarchy in the creation of an imagined imperial community. This essay quickly developed into a book in its own right. By the end of my third month, I had completed a book manuscript which will be published this October by the renowned publishing house De Bezige Bij. The book’s title is De parels en de kroon; Het koningshuis en de koloniën.
Meanwhile, I collected data and made notes for others essays, but these will have to wait for later, as will the revision of the draft version of the Introduction. I did use parts of the introductory essay for a contribution to a Festschrift. Other than this, I did one lecture, a review and some media appearances, none of these directly related to my NIAS work. In short, my first, regrettably short, stint at NIAS was even more pleasant and productive than I had anticipated.