Ethnography of a Colonial Present: History, Experience, and Political Consciousness in West Papua
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CitationKusumaryati, Veronika. 2018. Ethnography of a Colonial Present: History, Experience, and Political Consciousness in West Papua. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation is an ethnography of a colonial present and the making of political consciousness in West Papua, a self-identifying term that refers to Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua. Despite Papuans’ demands for their own nation-state, West Papua was transferred from Dutch colonial power in 1963 and subsequently incorporated into the newly independent modern state of Indonesia. While this transfer marked the end of European colonialism in the region, Papuans consider it to be the beginning of another period of colonialism. They continue to use this term to frame their history and to refer to their present experience under Indonesia.
Drawing from eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in West Papua, this dissertation investigates Papuans’ articulations of their coloniality. My narrative begins with the arrival of Christian missions and the establishment of civilizing schools (beschavingsschool) during the late period of Dutch rule, and covers defining historical moments and transitions from 1945 to 1969. After the arrival of Indonesia, I analyze Papuans’ experiences of state violence, their encounters with Indonesian models of development, transnational mining operations, transmigration programs and their impact on Papuans’ economic marginalization, and Indonesian cultural domination. I use the term “a colonial present” to refer to the trans-temporality of colonialism in West Papua, and how the Indonesian state governs this territory through its civil and military administration. By examining West Papua’s colonial history and the experience of the Papuans in a colonial present, this study offers a new approach to the ethnography and historiography of colonialism, decolonization, and postcoloniality.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41129140
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