Nationalism and the civilizing mission in a colonial context

Kirsten Kamphuis (HEC Researcher)

Ela Kwiecińska (HEC Researcher)

 20 February 2017, 17:00-19:00, Seminar Room 3, Badia Fiesolana

Raising Indonesia’s Mothers. Nationalist Thinking about Indigenous Girlhoods in Late-Colonial Indonesia (c. 1900-1942)

In her paper, Kirsten Kamphuis will explore the intersections of thinking about indigenous girlhoods, education and nationalism within the nationalist movement Taman Siswa. This educational movement was very active in the late-colonial Netherlands Indies, ca. 1900-1942. Taman Siswa reacted to the civilizing mission of the colonial government, and the educational system connected with this. The paper will show that, even though historians have not paid much attention to this, the education of young girls was a topic that Indonesian nationalist activists considered to be of great importance to the future of the nation.

Nationalism as a mean of cultural transfer. The concept of the ‘civilizing mission’ and the German-Polish case (1840-1918)

The idea of the ‘civilizing mission’ has been most frequently considered within the framework of Western colonialism. For instance, it was an ideological tool of legitimizing British and French rule in India and Algeria, respectively. The aim of this presentation will be to show how the idea of the ‘civilizing mission’ was transferred from Western Europe to East-Central Europe through Romantic cultural nationalism. In her paper, Ela Kwiecinska will focus on the particularity of the ‘civilizing mission’ in East-Central Europe, that is, its connection with nation-building and proving nation’s belonging to the ‘West’.


Benoit Vaillot

Doctorant en histoire (EHESS, Paris) / PhD Researcher (European University Institute, Florence). Chercheur associé Arche EA 3400 (Université de Strasbourg). Coordinateur du séminaire doctoral "Nationalism Working Group" hébergé à l'Institut Universitaire Européen.

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