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In: The Dutch Trading Companies as Knowledge Networks
In: The Dutch Trading Companies as Knowledge Networks
Eighteenth-Century Travellers in South Africa
The establishment of a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in the seventeenth century and an expansion of the sphere of colonial influence in the eighteenth century made South Africa the only part of sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans could travel with relative ease deep into the interior. As a result individuals with scientific interests in Africa came to the Cape. This book examines writings and drawings of scientifically educated travellers, particularly in the field of ethnography, against the background of commercial and administrative discourses on the Cape. It is argued that the scientific travellers benefited more from their relationship with the colonial order than the other way around.
In: Shaping a Dutch East Indies

Abstract

The first part of the introduction sets out the underlying approach in this volume and first of all clarifies that Shaping a Dutch East Indies takes its cue from the history of knowledge history, in order to explore the construction of five different fields of knowledge in François Valentyn’s 5 volume magnum opus Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën (1724–1726): religion, geography, natural history, ethnography, and history. It is explained that the individual analyses will draw on classical rhetoric as the common method of text production in the early modern period. The second part of the introduction presents a sketch of Valentyn’s intellectual and professional career. It first examines the intellectual bearings of his Leiden professors, several of whom held heterodox views. It then moves to Valentyn’s career as a clergyman in the East Indies as well as his marriage to Cornelia Snaats, a wealthy widow, which enabled him to devote himself to studies, first of translating the Bible into Ambon Malay and later the composition of Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën. Additionally, Valentyn’s views on slavery and skin colour are discussed.

In: Shaping a Dutch East Indies

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to shed light on the composition of Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën. To this end, it is first established how the book was presented to contemporary readers. Then the structure of the text is discussed and it is shown how Valentyn forged the extensive and heterogeneous material into a more or less coherent whole. The emphasis will be on the rhetorical templates and text formats that Valentyn employed. The most important among these templates is chorography, the description of a micro-region. Despite Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën being structured into separate volumes, and hierarchically ordered in ‘books’ and chapters, the structure of Valentyn’s work is primarily based on the individual chorographies of establishments of the VOC in Asia. To create these chorographies, Valentyn drew on a wide collection of documents and publications, using fixed rhetorical templates and implementing a recognisable narrative voice in his descriptions. As a result, despite the heterogeneity of the material, he managed to establish a degree of coherence.

In: Shaping a Dutch East Indies
In: Shaping a Dutch East Indies