Entangled Histories: Unraveling the Impact of Colonial Connections on both Javanese and Dutch Women’s Work and Household Labour Relations, ca. 1830-1940


In this article I investigate changing household labour relations and women’s work in the Dutch empire. I question how colonial connections affected the division of work between men, women, and children, not only in the colony ‐ the Dutch East Indies (i.c. Java), but also in the metropolis ‐ the Netherlands. Entanglements can be found in the influences of colonial economic policies on both colony and metropolis, as well as in the more indirect effects of colonial exploitation and taxation, and, finally in the sphere of sociopolitics and ideologies. I will analyse the entanglements between the Netherlands and Java in these domains, comparing similarities and differences, but also paying attention to the connections and transfers between both parts of the Dutch empire. Although some of the conditions and developments were highly specific to the Dutch empire, I aim to show that the method of comparing and establishing direct and indirect connections between different parts of an empire can lead to new insights that can also be applied to other parts of the world and different time periods.


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