Of the mid-twentieth-century European imperial powers, only the Netherlands experienced foreign occupation during World War II, followed soon after by the declaration of independence of the East Indies, its prized possession. I argue that the first series of events constituted a “cultural trauma,” and that, after May 1945, Dutch politicians and pundits viewed developments in Indonesia through this lens of wartime trauma. By the year's end, political actors had begun to interpret the recent metropolitan past and the developing Indonesian conflict according to the same rhetorical framework, emphasizing binaries such as “resistance versus collaboration.” While those on the political Left analogized the two conflicts in order to promote a negotiated settlement, their opponents hoped that, by refusing to recognize Sukarno's Republic of Indonesia, the Netherlands could avoid a second and perhaps even more damaging cultural trauma.
Dutch Political Culture and the Indonesian Question in 1945
Jennifer L. Foray
Political Communications and the Morality of Disclosure in Rural Rajasthan
The public sphere has been centre stage in celebrations of India's political triumphs. Leading commentators tell us that the astonishing post-independence surge of democracy has been contingent on the rise of a new kind of sociopolitical formation: the public sphere. This article takes a closer look at the popular deliberative terrain in North India to question this claim. Drawing on research conducted in a provincial town in the North Indian state of Rajasthan, we see that where metropolitan political theorists see 'transparency' as promoting discursive and political possibilities, Rajasthani villagers see an exposure which prevents expression, communication and the making of political choices. In their view, it is secrecy and social seclusion that enable political interactions and elicit political judgments. 'The public sphere' is an unfit heuristic for locating popular politics within (and beyond) Rajasthan, where it obscures much more than it reveals.
An Interview with Aimé Césaire
William F.S. Miles
Nineteen eighty-two marked a milestone in the history of Martinique and the career of Aimé Césaire. One year had passed since François Mitterrand's election as president and Césaire's declaration of a "moratorium" on challenging the island's status as a French département (state). Pro-independence violence still rocked the French West Indies. In this interview Césaire discusses the burdens of material dependency, dangers of in- and out-migration, centralizing legacies of France, opportunities afforded by Socialist governance, the need for decentralization, and the future of Martinican identity. The interview reveals Césaire's strategic flexibility within inviolate principles, his unique capacity to channel his people's psyche, his keen recognition of the relationship between nationalism and economics, and his sensitivity to micropolitics and intra-island differences.
When considering Sartre’s and Camus’ positions on the Algerian War of Independence, it is useful to begin by briefly locating both men in relation to colonialism in general and Algeria in particular. The first point, an obvious one, but one which needs to be made, is that while Camus, the child of Belcourt, had first-hand knowledge of life in working-class Algiers, and as a journalist of the misery of Kabylia in the late 1930s, Sartre, the Parisian intellectual par excellence, had almost no direct knowledge of the country. I say almost no direct knowledge because he and de Beauvoir did pass through southern Algeria en route to French West Africa in 1950 but apparently paid scant attention to the political situation in that country.
The Invention of Postcolonial Society
Twenty-five years ago, Roy Wagner in his book, The Invention of Culture asked his reader to comprehend the invention of society as an ongoing effort, especially an effort made by members aware of the changes that can be wrought by their actions. In doing so, he posed the problem of what kind of society people thought they were making, contrasting the social contract of the Euro-American political thought with the processual sociality imagined by Melanesians (1975, 1974). The theoretical insights of Wagner can be brought to bear on the period of independence in Papua New Guinea when Melanesians were making a new sociality. I will discuss the dialectics of Wagner’s approach, as they are played out at the time of the publication of his book; that is, in the early years of the creation of the new nation of Papua New Guinea.
Martinique and the French Presidential Election of 2007
In May 2007, Martinique did not follow the rest of France in endorsing Nicolas Sarkozy in his bid to become president. Along with the other overseas French states Guadeloupe and Réunion (but not Guyane), Martinique supported rather the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal. Martinique thereby distanced itself from the rest of the République—as it had done in 1995—by backing a left-wing presidential candidate rather than the ultimately victorious right-wing one. 2007 represents the converse of 1981, when Martinique voted for the rightist candidate but France as a whole elected a leftist (François Mitterrand). Over time, being at electoral odds with the nation as a whole has become less troubling for Martinicans: independence, which most islanders oppose, is no longer seen at stake in presidential outcomes. On the other hand, Martinicans have become progressively resigned to their peripheral status within French presidential politics.
The ability to control where and how any given space will be occupied is a coveted but elusive privilege for the heroines of Jane Austen's novels. Though blessed with an admirable blend of independence of mind, spirit and moral fortitude, they are women for whom the privilege of space is often either an intangible desire or an oppressive reality. In Persuasion, Austen deliberately creates a problem with space. She purposefully contradicts what is expected in public and private behaviour by presenting a heroine who is at first constricted by her place; who begins to expand the number of spaces she is able to occupy; and then, finally, begins to defy her place. This article explores how this use of physical and psychological space in Persuasion evolves and how Austen involves her heroine in the discourse of social change through both narrative description and a new accessibility of psychological landscape.
The Social Evolution of Alterman's “Don't You Give Them Guns”
Nathan Alterman's poem “Don't You Give Them Guns” echoed European post–World War I anti-war literature. Curiously, the poem turned into a key text in a ritual instituted by members of the elite Jewish underground fighting force, the Palmach, which was established during World War II. This article is an attempt to understand how a pacifist poem came to be used by Jewish-Israeli soldiers at the heart of the 1948 War of Independence. In terms of theory, the analysis dwells on the relations between text and social context, arguing that alternative social ideas conceal themselves in poetry and other literary forms. These texts can be likened to undercurrents that preserve hidden social concerns. To follow the changing role of such texts, the article considers the fate of “Don't You Give Them Guns” from its birth in 1934 to its later manifestations in the early twenty-first century.
Moroccan Muslims and Jews through Western Lenses, 1860–1912
Michael M. Laskier
This study is a portrayal of Moroccan Muslims and Jews by European travellers, journalists, experts and diplomats from the latter half of the nineteenth century until the transformation of Morocco in 1912 into a colonial entity under French and Spanish protectorates. In this pre-colonial setting, we catch a glimpse of a traditional society and its gradual, albeit partial, evolution towards modernity among the Jews as well as an understanding of Europe’s economic, political and cultural penetration into the Sharifian Empire, which for hundreds of years preserved its independence when many Islamic societies capitulated to foreign domination. What were the major challenges confronted by Morocco in the pre-colonial era? Did Muslims and Jews conform to or reject modernisation brought by European culture? What were the socioeconomic conditions and the juridical status of the Jews vis-à-vis the Muslim majority? These are some of the main concerns of our investigation.
Since 1966 and even before, the policies pursued by France toward NATO have been both the object of a certain amount of Gallic pride and the source of considerable confusion, not to say irritation, among France’s partners. Why have these policies been pursued? The aim of this article is to address this question by means of an examination of the domestic pressures and constraints that have helped to shape France’s policies toward NATO. It reveals a striking paradox: the decision-making arrangements that developed around and emerged out of de Gaulle’s single-minded quest to achieve international independence for France were specifically designed to provide him with the freedom to pursue policies of his own choosing.