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Raben, Remco

Raben, Remco


The Long Decolonisation of Indonesia

Research Question

What were the effects of colonialism and decolonization on the development of the state in Indonesia? What explains the relative weakness of the Indonesian state (in all periods from the 1920s to the 1960s), and how did this affect its relations with society? And if continuities are strong, is decolonization the watershed it is often taken for?

Project Description

The writing of the modern history of Indonesia is very fragmented: historians either tell us about the colonial era, the Japanese occupation, revolution, or independent Indonesia. This study will look beyond these junctures and explain how the state and its relations to society have developed from late colonial to independent times. This study looks into the causes of the troubled relations between state and society. It will show that, despite the revolution that brought about a break from the former colonial regime, the legacies of colonialism were strong, although the effects varied strongly in different sectors of society. This book will deal with a range of topics, such as: mobility, the urban environment, safety, prisons, the military, employers, labourers, health and education, and democracy.

Selected Publications

(ed.) Beyond empire and nation. The decolonization of African and Asian societies, 1930s-1960s (with Els Bogaerts) (Leiden: KITLV Press 2012)

‘On genocide and mass violence in colonial Indonesia’ in: Bart Luttikhuis and A. Dirk Moses (eds), Colonial counterinsurgency and mass violence: The Dutch empire in Indonesia (London and New York: Routledge 2014) 329-347

‘A New Dutch Imperial History? Perambulations in a prospective field’, BMGN The Low Countries Historical Review 128, 1 (2013) 5-30

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