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Colonial impact at the margin: Contact zones in the Aru Islands
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. (Postcolonial Forum;Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4758-191X
2018 (English)In: Symposium – European Colonialism in Southeast Asia: Charles Darwin University, 30 November 2017, Australia: Charles Darwin University , 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Aru Islands are situated at the eastern end of the Indian Ocean world, in the southern Moluccas. It is also one of the easternmost places in the world where Islam and Christianity gained a (limited) foothold in the early-modern period, and housed the easternmost fortress of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The present paper discusses Western-Arunese relations up to the early 19th century in terms of economic exchange and political networks. Aru society was stateless and relatively egalitarian but eluded strong colonial control up to c. 1900. Still the perceived marginality of the islands was paired with its status as a source of natural products destined for luxury consumption in Asia and Europe: pearls, tripang, birds-of-paradise, edible birds' nests. All this positioned Aru in a global economic network while leaving it largely ungoverned. The extant textual material consists of Dutch reports; however, critically read and compared with oral and archaeological data, these may yield important information about indigenous responses to European attempts to control the flow of goods. It is possible to develop the argument made by Roy Ellen about economic flows in eastern Indonesia beyond the VOC system, and also to draw parallels with James Scott's thesis about state-avoidance among ethnic minorities in mainland Southeast Asia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Australia: Charles Darwin University , 2018.
Keywords [en]
Aru Islands, Indonesia, colonialism, contact zones, trade
National Category
History
Research subject
Humanities, History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77427OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-77427DiVA, id: diva2:1242572
Conference
Symposium – European Colonialism in Southeast Asia : Charles Darwin University, 30 November 2017
Projects
ConcurrencesAvailable from: 2018-08-28 Created: 2018-08-28 Last updated: 2019-06-25Bibliographically approved

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Hägerdal, Hans

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf