Writing Empire Across the Indies: Towards a Comparative Analysis of Colonial Literatures on British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, c. 1780-1930

Denger, Marijke Katrijn (10 October 2019). Writing Empire Across the Indies: Towards a Comparative Analysis of Colonial Literatures on British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, c. 1780-1930 (Unpublished). In: Leiden Southeast Asia Seminar. Leiden, Netherlands. 10 Oct 2019.

In postcolonial studies, the focus has traditionally been on colonised subjects and on the wide-ranging impact that European imperialism has had on non-Western societies. However, in the face of the resurgence of nationalism, it is as pertinent as ever to also ask what colonisation did to the (former) colonisers. My current research project pursues this question in relation to the literary histories of Great Britain and the Netherlands, as competing powers in the ‘East Indies’. Analysing British and Dutch writing on colonial Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the project seeks to trace how the British and Dutch developed distinct affective and aesthetic relationships to empire, which continue to impact on their respective societies. In my talk, I will explore some of the theoretical and methodological issues that have arisen since the start of the project, discuss the historical parameters within which I seek to compile my corpus and analyse selected passages of primary literature. Writing (on) empire, the British and Dutch both navigated “the social antagonism of the colonial relation” (Bhabha). However, in doing so, they represented and supported very different notions of what that relation entailed and whom the antagonism concerned. As empire became a framework alternately for self-assertion or self-critique, the very discourse on which European hegemony was based in the region became open to renegotiation. Similarly, it is through the comparative analysis of colonial literatures that we can rethink the theoretical and ethical implications of some of the key concepts in postcolonial studies today.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures > Modern English Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Denger-Kähler, Marijke Katrijn

Subjects:

800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages
400 Language > 490 Other languages
800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 890 Other literatures

Language:

English

Submitter:

Marijke Katrijn Denger-Kähler

Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2020 13:26

Last Modified:

06 Nov 2020 08:49

Additional Information:

Guest Lecture at KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144330

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