Collective Memory and the Dutch East Indies
Collective Memory and the Dutch East Indies
Unremembering Decolonization
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1 Collective Memory and Unremembering
Collective Memory
Collective Unremembering
Historical Representation
A Short Summary of Decolonization in the Dutch East Indies

2 Representations during the War
The Press
Indonesia Calling: A Film
Oeroeg: A Novella
Historiography of the Conflict: Early Beginnings

3 Post-decolonization: The First 20 Years, 1949-1969
The Great Unremembering
The Existentialist
The Adventurer
The Soldier
The Historian

4 Breaking the Silence
The Hueting Interview
The Role of the Public

5 Postmemory
The Moluccan Attacks
Postmemory Authors
Radio and Television, 1979-1988

6 Loe de Jong Controversy
A Slow Change Coming
Silence of the Guild
Loe de Jong, Volume 11a

7 Remembering the War
Ben Laurens: A Soldier Novelist
Anton P. de Graaff and The Way Back
Oeroeg: The Film
The Boomsma Affair
The Poncke Princen Affair
The Guild Stirs

8 Conclusion


Reviews and Features

"Doolan’s work is the most comprehensive English language account of so many forms of Dutch remembrance of the 1945-1949 period… For scholars who do not read Dutch, his review of Dutch texts that engage with remembrance of the independence war is very useful, particularly because of the synthesis of so many diverse works."
Katherine McGregor, BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, Vol. 138 (2023)

"[...] this is quite an impressive, courageous, and ambitious attempt to sketch the whole process of the development of collective (un)remembering. [...] a complete and detailed overview, covering all facets."
- Liesbeth Rosen Jacobson, Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies, Vol. 42, Iss. 1

Paul M.M. Doolan

Collective Memory and the Dutch East Indies

Unremembering Decolonization

Collective Memory and the Dutch East Indies: Unremembering Decolonization examines the afterlife of decolonization in the collective memory of the Netherlands. It offers a new perspective on the cultural history of representing the decolonization of the Dutch East Indies, and maps out how a contested collective memory was shaped. Taking a transdisciplinary approach and applying several theoretical frames from literary studies, sociology, cultural anthropology and film theory, the author reveals how mediated memories contributed to a process of what he calls "unremembering." He analyses in detail a broad variety of sources, including novels, films, documentaries, radio interviews, memoirs and historical studies, to reveal how five decades of representing and remembering decolonization fed into an unremembering by which some key notions were silenced or ignored. The author concludes that historians, or the historical guild, bear much responsibility for the unremembering of decolonization in Dutch collective memory.

Paul M.M. Doolan

Paul Doolan was born and raised in the Republic of Ireland. He has spent over 30 years teaching history in the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland. He studied history at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and completed his PhD at the University of Konstanz, Germany.