In historical narratives, the Dutch colonial period is often interpreted as a prelude to the birth of the Indonesian nation. Because of this nation-centred discourse, Indonesian women’s history tends to be dominated by ‘Pahlawan perempuan’: female Heroes of the Indonesian Republic, such as Raden Ajeng Kartini and Cut Nyak Dhien. This lecture will consider the history of women and gender from a different point of view. With the help of examples from the period between 1900 and 1942, we will look beyond the big names of Indonesian women’s history and see how this changes our perspective on the colonial era.
Kirsten Kamphuis is a feminist historian of late-colonial and decolonizing Indonesia. Her research focuses on the history of girls’ education and women’s activism. Kirsten is currently a Junior Researcher at the Cluster of Excellence for Religion and Politics at Münster University in Germany.