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Prospectus

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Dutch Military Operations in Indonesia, 1945-1950

Course
2014-2015

Admission requirements

Good reading skills in Dutch.

Description

World War Two and particularly the 1942 Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies marked the beginnings of the end of the Dutch colonial empire in Asia. Two days after the Japanese occupation on August 15, 1945, nationalist leaders Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared the independence of the Republik Indonesia. It took over four years of protracted negotiations, bitter warfare and increasing international pressure before the Dutch agreed to a transfer of sovereignty, enacted the 27th of December, 1949.

Much has been written on the negotiations during these years. There is also an extensive literature on the military engagements, but far more work needs to be done in this field. Dutch-Indonesian warfare comprised both traditional military operations such as the so-called Dutch ‘politionele acties’ as well as widespread Indonesian guerrilla warfare. Moreover, there was an initial phase of local violence perpetrated against ethnic groups (supposedly) affiliated with the Dutch colonial regime, the so-called bersiap period. And last but not least, there was intense and violent conflict among Indonesian parties – no such thing as one unified Indonesian people fighting the Dutch.

In this research seminar, we will look at one aspect of this complex and violent period in Indonesian and bilateral Dutch-Indonesian history: the Dutch military operations. Official Dutch apologies have been made for ‘excesses’ committed against Indonesian citizens at specific locations on specific dates (Rawagade, South-Sulawesi). It is impossible as yet though to assess the extent to which such military violence, which today might qualify as crimes against humanity, was endemic. Heated debates have been waged in Dutch society about this issue, and continue to do so.
Veterans’ diaries and post-hoc written and oral testimonies, most kept in the KITLV collections, as well as archival collections at the National Archives will be the major source studied by the participants in this seminar. Experience has it that some students of the research seminar will proceed to write their MA-thesis on the same subject. There is excellent source material available to do so.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course are that students acquire:

  • the ability to independently identify and select sources;

  • the ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question;

  • the ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument;

  • the ability to interpret a corpus of sources;

  • knowledge and comprehension of the specialisations Colonial and Global History and its historiography specifically:

    • 1 empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective;
    • 2 comprehension of how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes; insight in cross-cultural processes.

Specific objectives
Knowledge and comprehension of the particular field of Colonial history, including decolonization. In this research seminar, students will learn more specifically about this critical period in Dutch-Indonesian relations, will become acquainted with debates about the extent and nature of Dutch military violence in this period, and most of all they will learn to work with source materials that may help us to enhance our understanding of this turbulent era.

Extra course objectives for ResMA students

  • the ability to interpret a potentially complex corpus of sources;

  • the ability to identify new approaches within existing academic debates;

  • knowledge of the interdisciplinary aspects of the specialisation.

Timetable

View Timetable History.
Second semester, 2014-2015.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Research

Course load

Total: 280 hours.

  • 30 hours seminar plus individual meetings;

  • 50 hours studying the compulsory literature;

  • 150 hours research;

  • 50 hours writing of papers.

Assessment method

Evaluation of the student papers (first short papers on the reading list of relevant literature, next and more crucially papers based on research in unique historical sources) will form the most substantial method of assessment. In addition, the presentation of these papers and active participation in the discussion will be incorporated in the assessment.

The papers show:

  • the ability to independently identify and select sources;

  • the ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question;

  • the ability to analyze and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument;

  • the ability to interpret a corpus of sources;

  • the ability to give a clear written report on the research results in English or Dutch;

  • the ability to independently identify and select literature.

The presentation and participation show:

  • the ability to give a clear oral report on the research results in English or Dutch;

  • the ability to provide constructive academic feedback;

  • the ability to engage actively with other students (participation);

  • the ability to engage with constructive academic feedback (participation).

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average:

  • presentations and active participation in the seminar – 20%;

  • two short (1,500 words) and one extensive (5,000 words) paper – 80%.

There are strict deadlines for the submission all papers.

ResMA students:
Additional requirements for the ResMa students:
The paper has to be based on more extensive archival research or research based on primary sources. The student has to show (especially in the paper) innovative insights.

‘Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.’

Blackboard

Blackboard is used for this course:

  • to make students aware of the set readings ahead of each seminar;

  • to make some of the course materials available to students;

  • to notify students of essay titles, requirements, and deadlines;

  • for all general course notifications.

Reading list

  • list of compulsory literature, availbale at the UBL, will be made available to the participants a month prior to the start of the course;

  • research materials likewise will be available at UBL or in digital form.

Registration

Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Remarks

This course can only be taken by students who have a passive command of the Dutch language.

Contact

Dhr. Dr B.W. (Bart) Luttikhuis