New article: ‘The screaming injustice of colonial relationships’

Open access article by Tom Hoogervorst (KITLV) and Melita Tarisa in the latest issue of Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia (BKI), volume 177, issue 1: ‘The screaming injustice of colonial relationships: Tracing Chinese anti-racist activism in the Netherlands’.

An insensitive poem published in 1935 sparked a wave of outrage among the Indies Chinese students in the Netherlands. Titled The yellow peril, it had started as an inside joke among Leiden’s Indologists, yet quickly aroused the fury of both moderates and radicals. Their anti-colonial activism flared up for months, attracting numerous allies and eventually taking hold in the Netherlands Indies. After the Indologists had apologized, the number of activists willing to push for more structural change dwindled. As such, this microhistory lays bare some broader dynamics of anti-racism. We argue that ethnic Chinese, who continue to be portrayed as an unobtrusive model minority, have a longer legacy of activism than they are usually given credit for. This is particularly relevant in the present, when Covid-induced Sinophobia, anti-Black racism, and a reassessment of the colonial past are inspiring new movements and forging new anti-racist solidarities.

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