New article: ‘Human rights and anticolonial nationalism in Sjahrir’s Indonesian contemplations’

By KITLV researcher Paul Bijl. In 1945 and under the pseudonym Sjahrazad, Indonesia’s first prime minister Sutan Sjahrir and his wife Maria Duchâteau published a book in Dutch entitled Indonesian Contemplations about Sjahrir’s exile to and incarceration in the 1930s in the Dutch colonial concentration camp Boven-Digoel. Through an analysis of the book’s critique of the legal spatialities of the Dutch empire and its imagination of the space of the Indonesian nation-state, this article makes a double argument: on the one hand, for the importance of scholarly analyses of Indonesian writing on the Dutch colonial-legal project and, on the other, against the idea that national liberation and international human rights were mutually exclusive in anticolonial nationalism.

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