Memories of Interracial Contacts and Mixed Race in Dutch Cinema

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-04-04 00:57Z by Steven

Memories of Interracial Contacts and Mixed Race in Dutch Cinema

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 28, Issue 1 (2007)
Pages 69 – 82
DOI: 10.1080/07256860601082947

Pamela Pattynama, Professor of Media and Culture
University of Amsterdam

This essay explores the (post)colonial relationship between the present-day Netherlands and its former colony the Dutch East Indies—a continuing relationship that has generated a wide range of memories. Exploring two Dutch films on the colonial past and comparing them with two autobiographical writings of Dutch writers of mixed race, it argues that the recurrent theme of interracial contacts emerges as the privileged metaphor for the relation between Holland and its ex-colony. A recurring feature of Dutch representations of interracial contacts, it is specifically the figure of the Indonesian concubine, the so-called nyai, which continues to obsess the male gaze. The essay concludes that through their focus on loss, separation and failure in representing interraciality, the films speak primarily to the incapacity of the Dutch nation to engage effectively with its colonial past.

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: , , ,