Home at the front: violence against Indonesian women and children in Dutch military barracks during the Indonesian national revolution

Susie Protschky

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Dutch soldiers’ amateur photographs from the military operations of 1945–50 constitute a partial yet significant archive for understanding how gendered and racialised structures of colonial violence manifested during the Indonesian National Revolution. The archival abundance of these photographs reveals the strategic significance of the ‘home’ front (the barracks) for upholding Dutch soldiers’ notions of masculinity and colonial discourses of humanitarian rule. Soldiers’ photographs and other sources also provide evidence that: first, Dutch barracks relied on child labour, and young Indonesian boys were sometimes recruited into soldiering for Dutch forces; second, the Dutch Royal Army effectively implemented barracks concubinage for the first time in its history during its largest overseas conflict to date; and third, economic duress and sexual coercion underpinned the evolution of the ‘babu’ into barracks concubine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Violence and Power in Indonesia
Subtitle of host publicationAcross Time and Space
EditorsKatherine McGregor, Ana Dragojlovic, Hannah Loney
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781003022992
ISBN (Print)9780367901974
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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