Blog of the Department of History, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Talk: "Colonial Policing In The Dutch East Indies" - Sept. 9, 2011
Presentation Announcement: "Colonial Policing In The Dutch East Indies: The Case Of The Ambonese Gewapende Politie (1893-1946)" by Martin Thiry, 2011 Library of Congress Florence Tan Moeson Fellow Date: Friday, September 9, 2011 Time: 1:00-2:00pm Location: Asian Reading Room Foyer, LJ-150, 1st Floor, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress [Metro stop: Capitol South on the Blue/Orange Line.]
Summary: The role of ethnic minorities in colonial policing is integral to the rise of the nation-state and an expression of agency on the part of minority groups in the development of the nation-state. During the late colonial period an amalgamation of ethnic minorities, referred to collectively as the Ambonese, were employed as policing agents. In this capacity the Ambonese have been understood as subject forces and less as actors, obscuring a fuller history of the Ambonese as colonial police. The ways in which they served in the years 1873-1945 helped lay foundations for the Indonesian nation-state. The Dutch were trying to form and keep together the colonial state; with the help of the Ambonese they served to cohere Indonesia. The introduction of armed police units, fortified in ever greater numbers by the Ambonese (personnel from Ambon, greater Maluku, Manado, and Timor), allowed the start of the pacification of the archipelago, particularly in the Outer Islands where the Dutch had so far exercised no more than nominal control. Ambonese would serve prominently in the Marechausse and later in the much more robust gewapende politie, critically in their own home areas. About the presenter: Martin Thiry graduated from Harvard in 2000 and joined the New Orleans Police Department where he was a patrolman and a robbery detective. He will complete his PhD in History at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the East-West Center in Spring 2012.