Dissenting Voices: Challenging the Colonial System

in Bridging Humanities

This article emerges from a process of co-creation in which Historian Maartje Janse, Journalist Anne-Lot Hoek and Musician Ernst Jansz challenge the dominant national narrative about the colonial experience in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). In combining journalistic and academic writing with musical performance they amplify the critical voices that have spoken out against colonial injustice and that have long been ignored in public and academic debate. The article is organized around the biographies of several critics (whose lives Janse and Hoek have published on before) and includes reflective videos and texts on the process of co-creation. Maartje Janse started the process by tracing the life history of an outspoken nineteenth-century critic of the colonial system in the Dutch East Indies, Willem Bosch. The article argues that it was not self-evident how criticism of colonial injustices should be voiced and that Bosch experimented with different methods, including organizing one of the first Dutch pressure groups. The story of Willem Bosch inspired Ernst Jansz, a Dutch musician with Indo roots, to compose a song (‘De ballade van Sarina en Cronjo’). It is an interpretation of an old Malaysian ‘krontjong’ song, that Jansz transformed into a protest song that reminds its listeners of protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Jansz, in his lyrics, adds an indigenous perspective to this project. He performed the song during the Voice4Thought festival in 2016, a gathering that aimed to reflect upon migration and mobility in current times. Filmmaker Sjoerd Sijsma made a video ‘pamphlet’ in which the performance of Ernst Jansz, an interview with Maartje Janse, and historical images from the colonial period have been combined. Anne-Lot Hoek furthermore connected Willem Bosch to a series of twentieth-century outspoken anti-colonial critics such as Dutch Indies civil servant Siebe Lijftogt, Indonesian revolutionaries Sutan Sjahrir and Rachmad Koesoemobroto, Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek and Indonesian activist Jeffry Pondaag. The response from authorities indicates they recognized how dangerously powerful critiques of dominant narratives can be for those in power. This article also critically reflects on the way these critics have been treated in public and academic debate. http://dissentingvoices.bridginghumanities.com/

Abstract

This article emerges from a process of co-creation in which Historian Maartje Janse, Journalist Anne-Lot Hoek and Musician Ernst Jansz challenge the dominant national narrative about the colonial experience in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). In combining journalistic and academic writing with musical performance they amplify the critical voices that have spoken out against colonial injustice and that have long been ignored in public and academic debate. The article is organized around the biographies of several critics (whose lives Janse and Hoek have published on before) and includes reflective videos and texts on the process of co-creation. Maartje Janse started the process by tracing the life history of an outspoken nineteenth-century critic of the colonial system in the Dutch East Indies, Willem Bosch. The article argues that it was not self-evident how criticism of colonial injustices should be voiced and that Bosch experimented with different methods, including organizing one of the first Dutch pressure groups. The story of Willem Bosch inspired Ernst Jansz, a Dutch musician with Indo roots, to compose a song (‘De ballade van Sarina en Cronjo’). It is an interpretation of an old Malaysian ‘krontjong’ song, that Jansz transformed into a protest song that reminds its listeners of protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Jansz, in his lyrics, adds an indigenous perspective to this project. He performed the song during the Voice4Thought festival in 2016, a gathering that aimed to reflect upon migration and mobility in current times. Filmmaker Sjoerd Sijsma made a video ‘pamphlet’ in which the performance of Ernst Jansz, an interview with Maartje Janse, and historical images from the colonial period have been combined. Anne-Lot Hoek furthermore connected Willem Bosch to a series of twentieth-century outspoken anti-colonial critics such as Dutch Indies civil servant Siebe Lijftogt, Indonesian revolutionaries Sutan Sjahrir and Rachmad Koesoemobroto, Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek and Indonesian activist Jeffry Pondaag. The response from authorities indicates they recognized how dangerously powerful critiques of dominant narratives can be for those in power. This article also critically reflects on the way these critics have been treated in public and academic debate. http://dissentingvoices.bridginghumanities.com/

This article1 emerges from a process of co-creation in which Historian Maartje Janse, Journalist Anne-Lot Hoek and Musician Ernst Jansz challenge the dominant national narrative about the colonial experience in the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia). In combining journalistic and academic writing with musical performance they amplify the critical voices that have spoken out against colonial injustice and that have long been ignored in public and academic debate. The article is organized around the biographies of several critics (whose lives Janse and Hoek have published on before) and includes reflective videos and texts on the process of co-creation. Maartje Janse started the process by tracing the life history of an outspoken nineteenth-century critic of the colonial system in the Dutch East Indies, Willem Bosch. The article argues that it was not self-evident how criticism of colonial injustices should be voiced and that Bosch experimented with different methods, including organizing one of the first Dutch pressure groups. The story of Willem Bosch inspired Ernst Jansz, a Dutch musician with Indo roots, to compose a song (‘De ballade van Sarina en Cronjo’). It is an interpretation of an old Malaysian ‘krontjong’ song, that Jansz transformed into a protest song that reminds its listeners of protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Jansz, in his lyrics, adds an indigenous perspective to this project. He performed the song during the Voice4Thought festival in 2016, a gathering that aimed to reflect upon migration and mobility in current times. Filmmaker Sjoerd Sijsma made a video ‘pamphlet’ in which the performance of Ernst Jansz, an interview with Maartje Janse, and historical images from the colonial period have been combined. Anne-Lot Hoek furthermore connected Willem Bosch to a series of twentieth-century outspoken anti-colonial critics such as Dutch Indies civil servant Siebe Lijftogt, Indonesian revolutionaries Sutan Sjahrir and Rachmad Koesoemobroto, Dutch writer Rudy Kousbroek and Indonesian activist Jeffry Pondaag. The response from authorities indicates they recognized how dangerously powerful critiques of dominant narratives can be for those in power. This article also critically reflects on the way these critics have been treated in public and academic debate. http://dissentingvoices.bridginghumanities.com/

This article was written in cooperation with E. Jansz and S. Sijsma.

Dissenting Voices: Challenging the Colonial System

in Bridging Humanities

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 97 97 15
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 24 24 2