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Van Vollenhoven Lecture 2021

Following the Plantation: Law and Human Rights in Indonesia 1870-2020

Thursday 20 May 2021

Scholars working mainly in the Americas have argued that the emergence of plantations circa 1600 re-shaped the world order, embedding racialized modes of social, political and economic organization that resonated far beyond plantation borders. They have dubbed this the “plantationocene.” Inspired by this line of inquiry and focusing on Indonesia, this lecture argues that from the 1870 Agrarian Law through the 1960 Land Law, the emergence of the New Order and the 2020 pro-investment Omnibus Law, plantations have been central to the formation of Indonesia’s legal regimes. Plantations also entrench race-like social divides at the heart of the social order, and install political relations that are antithetical to human rights and enfranchised citizenship. Measures to protect customary land rights, small scale farms and ordinary citizens struggle to make headway in this milieu.

Please register for this lecture by sending an email to: vollenhoven@law.leidenuniv.nl. On registration you will receive a link to the online meeting. 

This lecture is organised by:
The Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI)
The Commission on Legal Pluralism
The research programme Effective Protection of Fundamental Rights in a Pluralist World (EPFR)

Van Vollenhoven Lectures
The Van Vollenhoven lectures are organized in honour of Cornelis van Vollenhoven, the Leiden law professor who acquired fame between 1901 and 1933 for his elaborate and detailed description and analysis of the laws of the Netherlands-Indies as well as for his impressive contributions to public international law.

Previous lectures were delivered by: Prof. Tony Platt (Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Law and Society) in 2019; David Engel (SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the State University of New York) in 2018; Dr Surya Tjandra (lecturer at the Law Faculty of Atma Jaya Catholic University and Jentera Law School, Jakarta, Indonesia) in 2017; Graham E. Fuller (former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, former senior political scientist at RAND, and adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University) in 2016; Dr Tom van den Berghe (senior researcher at the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV); Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) in 2015; Dr Fernanda Pirie (director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford) in 2014; Irene Khan (Director-General of the International Development Law Organization) in 2013; Prof. Andrew Harding (Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, National University of Singapore) in 2012; Dr Ben Knapen (then Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation) in 2011; Prof. Veronica Taylor (then Director Asian Law Centre, University of Washington, Seattle) in 2010; Profs. Franz and Keebet von Benda-Beckmann (then directors of the Legal Pluralism Group of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle) in 2008 and Bert Koenders (then Minister for Development Cooperation) in 2007.


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