Historically and through to modern day, museums and exhibitions can be seen as ‘contact zones’; cultural arenas where meanings are produced and exchanged, and identities are formed. In these kinds of contact zones, collective representations of the past (and thus memories) are not only reflected, but also influenced and created. Contrary to popular belief that the war in the colonial Indonesia has been met with only silent remembrance in the Netherlands, in 1947 an exclusive group of people, responding to contemporary Dutch politics, society and national conceptions of the Second World War, created a heavily politicised exhibition based on their specific wartime experiences and memories of the Japanese occupation: ‘The Indies under Japanese occupation’. By focusing on Wulf Kansteiner’s ‘memory makers’ and ‘memory consumers’ involved in this and other exhibitions, we discern how a collective memory of the Second World War in Indonesia, drawing on intellectual and cultural traditions framing the representations of the past, came into being and influenced people’s memory of this period. Unravelling these memory politics and focusing on specific victimised groups while still having empathy for all affected requires a historian who holds a social, an emotional and a temporal distance to the period—a challenging balancing act.
|Title of host publication||War Memory and East Asian Conflicts, 1930–1945|
|Editors||Eveline Buchheim, Jennifer Coates|
|Number of pages||25|
|ISBN (Print)||978-3-031-23917-5, 978-3-031-23920-5|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|
|Series||Entangled Memories in the Global South|