Symposium ‘Dutch Colonialism and Its Afterlives: Anglophone Literary Perspectives’

Date: 14 June 2024
Time: 10:00-17:00
Venue: University of Groningen, Academy Building, room A7
Open to: PhDs and RMA students; OSL members have first access
Organizers: Dr. Suzanne Manizza Roszak and Dr. Ann Hoag (University of Groningen)
1-2 ECs

Registration will open VIA THIS LINK on March 11th, 9am

Among contemporary writers of historical fiction from the US and the UK, stories set against the backdrop of Dutch colonial history have become increasingly popular. Not infrequently adapted into films and television series, these literary renderings wield substantial cultural power in shaping the understanding of Dutch imperialism among English-speaking readerships and audiences. Often, however, such narratives present whitewashed views of Dutch imperial culture or indulge in fetishistic representations of colonial spaces and subjects. In this way, they form part of a larger picture of the “western consumption” of colonial stories (Huggan 2001), its influence on the global literary marketplace, and the mythologies it perpetuates through books. Anglophone fiction, poetry, drama, and memoir by postcolonial and diasporic voices from spaces including Sint Maarten, Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka offer a concrete but often lesser-read alternative to these more widely circulating works.

This one-day symposium brings together early-career and senior researchers working on English-language literary texts that engage with the Dutch imperial project and its “present-day recursions” (Jones 2016). In addition to the planned series of talks, an afternoon workshop and discussion session will offer training and support for ReMA and PhD students interested in contributing to this area of research. Special topics to be addressed within our discussion of these literatures will include multilingualism and translanguaging, intersectional approaches to gender and decolonial thought, the activist potentialities of genres and literary forms ranging from the Gothic to young adult fiction, and approaches to teaching colonial history at the university through the prism of literature. Students receiving 1 EC will complete a series of preparatory readings and a short post-workshop reflection paper; students receiving 2 ECs will complete additional readings and will also submit questions for our speakers in advance of the event.

More details on the program will be available soon