- Behind the Banner of Unity: Nationalism and anticolonialism among Indonesian students in Europe, 1917-1931
- Award date
- 15 June 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
This thesis studies the activities of the Indonesian nationalist student organisation in the Netherlands, the Perhimpoenan Indonesia, in the capitals of Western Europe in the interwar period. It argues that the emergence of Indonesian nationalism and anticolonialism in this period cannot rest on an ‘internalist’ focus on the Dutch Indies or an ‘imperial’ focus on the Dutch-Indonesian confrontation alone. Instead, it should be understood in an global context of anticolonial movements and struggles.
Describing the period between 1917 and 1931, this thesis maps the emerging global historical awareness among students of anticolonial struggles elsewhere, and describes how they attempted to establish personal relations with anticolonial movements in cities such as Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Among other things, the chapters shed light on Mohammad Hatta’s activities within the League against Imperialism, the ambivalent attitude of Indonesian nationalists towards European communism, and the international reception of the communist revolt on Java and Sumatra in 1926-1927. Thus, the history of Indonesian nationalism is connected to a larger story of anticolonialism worldwide.
The thesis is structured around the adventures of a few individual members of the Perhimpoenan Indonesia in a foreign environment: Ratu Langie in Zürich, Mononutu in Paris, Hatta and Semaoen in Brussels, and Soebardjo in Berlin. The applied micro-historical approach makes it possible to examine the complex reality of movement building, beyond superficial suggestions of contact and collaboration. Moreover, ‘Behind the Banner of Unity’ explores the dynamics between different movements on the international stage, beyond propagandistic claims of harmony and solidarity.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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