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Translation, Memory, and Ongoing Coloniality: Reading Gentayangan for a More Worldly Dutch Studies

Papers (in PDF)

By Arnoud Arps Lucelle Pardoe

In this article: Gentayangan: Pilih Sendiri Petualangan Sepatu Merahmu Intan Paramaditha
Published in Dutch Crossing,
Nov 24, 2022

Responding to De postkoloniale spiegel and De nieuwe koloniale leeslijst, this article exposes how few Indonesian voices are heard in conversations on colonial history in the Netherlands today. Representations of the Dutch East Indies as colony prevail over conceptions of Indonesia as independent nation. Through a reading of Gentayangan by Intan Paramaditha, we decentre readings of colonial literature in Dutch Studies by turning to Indonesian literature in translation. Like colonial indies literature preoccupied with nostalgia, this book is also haunted by memory, but of a different anti-colonial character. As Paramaditha’s character journeys around the world she is discomforted by Dutch nostalgia for tempo doeloe in the Netherlands, but finds solidarity in encounters with other wanderers who have faced colonization and racialized oppression in different contexts. In our reading of this text in translation, we lean on theories in memory studies to consider: How might Gentayangan as a demonstration of ongoing coloniality support the shift towards a more worldly approach in Dutch Studies? Are postcolonial re-readings from Western loci of meaning-making enough – as found in Spiegel and Leeslijst – or are there more innovative ways to decolonize Dutch Studies by implicating oneself in the power dynamics of ongoing coloniality?

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