Beyond the Dutch Indies: Colonial Memory of the Second and Third Generation Indo in Literary Texts and Monuments
Kerkhof Mogot, G.
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Departing from the notion of the hybridity of Indos, who traditionally have a position between colonizer and colonized, this thesis analyses how the memory of the Dutch Indies influences second and third generation Indos in the Netherlands and how their identity is performed/ represented/ manifested through cultural artifacts. This thesis regards both monuments and novels as ‘lieux de mémoire’. The purpose of this thesis is twofold: on the one hand it examines the memory of the Dutch Indies that is shaped by trauma and nostalgia. Colonial memory in the Netherlands is characterized by a discourse of nostalgia that persisted since the beginning of the colony. This same discourse is prominent in Indo memory. Nostalgia, surprisingly, is an aspect that unites Dutch and Indos. Second and third generation Indos reappropriate this discourse, developing a reflective mode of nostalgia that uncovers the complicated position of Indos in the Dutch Indies. On the other hand, this thesis analyses what role these memories play in the performance of Indo-identity in the Netherlands. I argue that commemoration and the circulation of memory in the form of stories play a significant role in the shaping of Indo- identity. The colonial legacy is what determines this identity. It is also something that is cherished and maintained within families. The memory is contained within the familial bond, implying ownership. It concerns narratives that are told and retold within the family. Consequently, the notion of postmemory becomes important. Starting point are two ‘family chronicles’: Asta’s ogen by Eveline Stoel and Een meisje van honderd by Marion Bloem. While Asta’s ogen offers a straightforward account of a family history, Een meisje van honderd employs the same notion of family history through a mode of magical realism, placing the novel in a tradition of colonial writings as well as adopting a critical approach to such traditions. Through the analysis of reader’s responses this thesis shows how these novels are used as carriers of memory by second and third generation Indo. In comparison this thesis looks at the Van Heutsz Monument in Amsterdam, the Indië Monument Amstelveen and its counterpart at Zorgvlied, analysing commemorative events of these monuments, focusing especially on speech acts.