Sanne Ravensbergen is a historian of colonial Indonesia. The local setting of colonial spaces is the focal point of her work that tries to understand the interactions between state and society in the Dutch imperial context.
Her postdoctoral research project ‘Building cultures of legality: a long term analysis of colonial commissions’ takes up the task of understanding the process of law-making in a colonial society where legal pluralities were the norm. It analyses the development of ideas about ‘sovereignty’ and ‘just rule’ through the lens of colonial commissions of inquiry, and traces the encounters and underlying anxieties of the lawmaking process.
After obtaining a MA degree in Colonial and Global History (cum laude) Sanne Ravensbergen pursued a PhD project on criminal law in colonial Java. Her PhD thesis Courtrooms of Conflict demonstrates the role of criminal law practices, legal pluralities and courtroom dynamics in the process of colonial state formation in nineteenth century Java.
In 2015 and 2016, Sanne co-initiated and co-organised two international conferences entitled Ocean of Law, bringing together scholars working on the legal history of the Indian Ocean World. The proceedings of the first Ocean of Law Conference is forthcoming in a special issue of Itinerario (2018).
For her postdoctoral research (being part of the project ‘Institutional Memory in the Making of Colonial Culture’) she turns her attention to the long-term development of Dutch colonial culture, in particular by unraveling the practices, encounters and anxieties of colonial commissions of inquiry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Asia.