Beyond race : constructions of "Europeanness" in late-colonial legal practice in the Dutch East Indies
Title: Beyond race : constructions of "Europeanness" in late-colonial legal practice in the Dutch East Indies
Author: LUTTIKHUIS, Bart
Citation: European Review of History ; Revue européenne d'histoire, 2013, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 539-558
ISSN: 1469-8293; 1350-7486
This article proposes to introduce the study of European identity into colonial history and vice versa. It analyses the ways in which the legal classification of the population functioned in late-colonial Indonesia. A close inspection of this case reveals that the oft-cited fundamental colonial difference between ‘ruler’ and ‘ruled’ was in reality not nearly as clear-cut. The concept of ‘Europeanness’ – as opposed to ‘Whiteness’ – is highlighted as the category at the center of colonial hierarchy. This leads to a re-evaluation of the relative significance of various differentiating categories in the colonial context, most importantly race and class. The author concludes that by not taking ‘Europeanness’ seriously as an independent category, scholars of ‘cultural racism’ have tended to overemphasise ‘race’, with the consequence of oversimplifying the complex, multi-layered nature of the colonial social hierarchy.
First published online : August 2013
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