Bijl, Dr. Paul

Dr. Paul Bijl is a a researcher at KITLV and an assistant professor in Comparative Literature at Utrecht University. His research interests include human rights, colonial history, anti- and postcolonial literature, racism, cultural memory and visual culture. He has a PhD in Comparative Literature from Utrecht University and was a visiting scholar at University of California, Los Angeles, Columbia University and Universitas Indonesia. Recipient of various grants, he is a postdoctoral researcher on an NWO Veni Grant for the period  2015 – 2019. In 2017, together with Dr. Manon Parry and Dr. Paul van Trigt, he received an NWO Creative Industry – KIEM Grant for the “Digital Disability Archive.” He has published Emerging Memory: Photographs of Colonial Atrocity in Dutch Cultural Remembrance (Amsterdam UP) and articles in Journal of Genocide Research, Depth of FieldJournal of Dutch LiteratureIndonesia and Law & Literature.
Current Research Projects

Writing Human Rights in Colonial Indonesia
This book project analyzes how Indonesians living with the modern Dutch colonial project (1816-1949) wrote about rights, law and justice. The project is informed by legal history, critical legal studies, human rights history and law & literature. Texts include letters, pamphlets and novels by Kartini, Hadji Mukti, Soewardi Soerjaningrat, Semaoen, Agoes Salim, Sutan Sjahrir and Soewarsih Djojopoespito. In 2017, articles will be published in Indonesia and Law & Literature.

Appropriating Kartini: Colonial, National and Transnational Memories of an Indonesian Icon
This project analyzes the transnational circulation of the writings of the Javanese author Kartini (1879-1904) whose letters were appropriated by institutions and actors in Southeast Asia (Indonesian nationalism, the Indonesian postcolonial state), Europe (European colonialism, Dutch multiculturalism), and transnationally (UNESCO, women’s movements) to articulate their position on the role of ‘native’, Indonesian, Asian and colored women in (post)colonial society. This project is about a century of changing patterns of racialization and gendering in Western and Asian contexts. It is conducted together with dr. Grace Chin.

Selected Publications

‘Colonial and Postcolonial Silences: Listening to Kartini in the Netherlands‘, in: Alexandre Dessingué and Jay Winter (eds.), Beyond memory: Silence and the aesthetics of remembrance. London: Routledge, 2015.

Saving the children? The ethical policy and photographs of colonial atrocity during the Aceh war‘, in: Susie Protschky (ed.), Photography, modernity and the governed: Re-viewing the ‘ethical’ era in late-colonial Indonesia.  Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2014.

‘Colonial Nostalgia Across Decolonization’, Journal of Dutch Literature 4.1 (2013).

Colonial memory and forgetting in the Netherlands and Indonesia‘,  Journal of Genocide Research 14.3-4 (2012): 441-61.

Old, eternal and future light in the Dutch East Indies: Colonial photographs and the history of the globe‘, in: Astrid Erll and Ann Rigney (eds.), Mediation, remediation and the dynamics of cultural memory. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009. 49-66.