Transcending Colonial Dichotomies: Javanese Orientalism and the Development of Nationalism in the Dutch-East Indies
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Few studies on the emergence of nationalism in Indonesia have considered the regional, cultural nationalist endeavors that preceded the rise of radical Indonesian nationalism, and even these have ignored how the interaction between Dutch and Javanese interests and ways of thinking shaped nationalist aspirations. This thesis investigates to what extent Dutch Orientalism influenced how Javanese nationalists used Javanese culture to argue for an independent nation. Through the analysis of publications of the colonial academic Java Institute, nationalist individual publications, and colonial government documents, I argue that Dutch Orientalism and Javanese nationalist arguments were inextricably connected through the close interaction between the Dutch rulers and the Javanese nationalist elite. Due to the interlacing of Dutch and Javanese interests and ideas, Javanese nationalists created a nationalist Orientalist discourse to argue for an independent nation that would serve their own social and ethnic group’s interests. By placing this discourse in the historical context of Indonesian nationalism, this thesis demonstrates that Javanese cultural nationalism had a lasting impact on the development of the Indonesian nationalist movement and the conception of an Indonesian nation-state.