'On their Javanese Sprout we Need to Graft the European Civilization'. Fashioning Local Intermediaries in the Dutch Catholic mission, 1900-1942
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AbstractDrawing on records held in missionary and colonial archives in both Indonesia and the Netherlands, this article discusses the education of Javanese boys and girls by Dutch Catholic missionaries in the educational institutes in Muntilan and Mendut. The missionaries intended a vital role for their pupils in spreading the Catholic faith and bringing “civilisation” to the local people in Java. As such, these students were trained to become local intermediaries in the colonial project of the Catholic mission. This article focuses on the fashioning of these students in particular, which would enable them to play this agential role. Instilling proper gender roles was an important aspect of this fashioning, as these were central markers of “civilised” Catholicism for the mission. In this way, Dutch Catholic missionaries contributed to the export of the European ideal of Christian gender roles and norms to the colonies. With this, the article introduces new players and the factor of religion into existing Dutch debates and scholarship on the civilisation mission and domestication of empire in the Dutch East Indies.
TypeArticle / Letter to editor