‘GADIS-GADIS KITA’: Taman Siswa as an example of gendered education in the Netherlands Indies, 1922-194217 Juli 2017
In my PhD project, I analyse education for Indonesian girls’ education in four regions of the Netherlands Indies between 1880 and 1940. So far, historians have mainly interpreted colonial education in terms of the ‘ethical policy’. This has resulted in a government-focused historiography, which leaves little space for children’s experiences. My research, on the other hand, focuses on educational practices. Inspired by the recent ‘turn to childhood’ in colonial studies, my main methodological tools are the categories of gender and age.
My focus is mainly on non-governmental initiatives, such as Islamic and Christian schools. This helps me to argue against the idea of education as purely a matter of governance. By comparing schools of varying signatures, I investigate how developments in girls’ education reflected broader developments in colonial society, such as the changing position of Indonesian women on the labour market and the birth of an anticolonial movement.
In this presentation I will use the example of Taman Siswa schools to illustrate my research project. I will go into different aspects of Taman Siswa education surrounding the position of girls within its schools. This will make clear what historians of education and colonialism can gain from a method based on gender and age.