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Lecture | CMGI Brown Bag Seminar

The colonial past keeps haunting the postcolonial present: A comparison of the way postcolonial heritage organisations came to terms with the colonial past in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Monday 27 May 2019
CMGI Brown Bag Seminars 2018 - 2019
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden

Nowadays, colonialism has ended for most European countries more than sixty years ago, but the colonial heritage keeps occupying metropolitan governments in different forms. While attention for the colonial past on the political agenda comes and goes, people with personal experience in the colonies have often founded interest organisations who took care of a regular return of the colonial topic on the political agenda. In short, these organisations sought to look after the preservation and recognition of certain aspects of the colonial past. Especially people who had lived in former Asian colonies such as the Dutch East Indies and British India, were actively organising themselves and promoting, demanding and petitioning their rights to the metropolitan government. In this paper I compare a number of these organisations in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in their ability to successfully achieve their goals at the end of the twentieth century. Using magazines and newsletters of these organisations as the most important sources in this research paper, I argue what kind of organisation (in terms of size and member composition: full European ancestry or mixed ancestry) was most successful in achieving their goals and what methods, such as lobbying, petitioning or personal meetings, were the most important markers of success.

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