Date/Time: Fri 08 Sep / 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Philosophical, Historical and International Studies (SoPHIS)
History Program Research Seminars
Researching the Indonesian so called ‘comfort women’ during the Japanese Occupation of the Netherlands East Indies: Between the Archives and Testimonial Accounts
To date analyses of experiences of Indonesian so called ‘comfort women’, who were abused during Japanese Occupation of the Netherlands East Indies have focused largely on either piecing together fragmentary documentary evidence from Dutch or Japanese archives or on more extensive use of the testimonies of surviving women often provided many years after the occupation. Rarely have these sources been combined together. Scholars working on this history face multiple challenges including not only linguistic restrictions, but how to combine these sources which have often been produced for discrete purposes. In Japanese case this included reports prepared for the invasion; in Dutch case it included documenting crimes against the Dutch or treasonous behavior; and in case of human rights activists it included documenting women’s stories in their own right and the details of crimes against women. In this paper I will survey documentary and te stimonial evidence available and provide examples of some of nuances of Dutch and Indonesian women’s experiences of sexual violence during the occupation. I argue both forms of evidence are very important, but following feminist methodologies is it also necessary to try to contextualize women’s actions, experiences and constraints they faced as women living through a military occupation.
Katharine McGregor is an Associate Professor in Southeast Asian History at the University of Melbourne. Her research to date has focused on modern Indonesian history and memory, the Indonesian military, Islam and identity in Indonesia and historical international links between Indonesia and the world. She is currently undertaking an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship on the project: Confronting Historical Injustice in Indonesia: Memory and Transnational Human Rights Activism. Her books include History in Uniform Military Ideology and the Construction of the Indonesian Past (2007), The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965-68 (2012), co-edited with Douglas Kammen and The Indonesian Genocide of 1965: Causes, Dynamics and Legacies, edited with Jess Melvin and Annie Pohlman (forthcoming 2018 Palgrave McMillan). She is also writing a new book focusing on Indonesian activism for the so called ‘comfort women’.
Friday 8th September 2017
12:00pm – 1:00pm
Level 5, East Wing, Menzies Building
20 Chancellors Walk