The children of Vincentius

The children of Vincentius
The Children of Vincentius (Kramat- Batavia, 1930 ); PVJ Jakarta

Child separation has been thoroughly investigated in countries such as Canada and Australia, however, hardly anything concrete is known about the scope, policies and practices of child separation in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. Notwithstanding, the separation of children were at the heart of (post)colonial rule. Central to child separation practices were those institutions that were characterized by the imposing of a temporary physical distance between children and their kin, society and traditional life. It has been faith-based organizations that have played a pivotal role in child separation practices and they, like their institutes, survived war and regime changes, and came to buttress new, national visions of Indonesia. Child separation practices in (post)colonial Indonesia, whether they targeted Marind, West Papua or mixed-descent (Eurasian) children in Java, were violent in nature but legitimised as benevolent civilising projects. Based on the analysis of primarily historical sources, gathered in widely dispersed private, local and state archives in Indonesia and the Netherlands, Derksen will present her preliminary findings of her ongoing research on child separation and Catholic faith-based organisations in Java and South Dutch New Guinea (West Papua).

Dr Maaike Derksen is a researcher at the Radboud University of Nijmegen and project leader at the Catholic Documentation Centre for the project ‘Sharing shared Heritage’. This heritage project focusses on the accessibility and digital conservation of Catholic historical documents in Indonesia and the Netherlands. Her research interests focus on (post)colonial history, Christian missions and colonial anthropology. She currently is a research fellow College of Asia and Pacific (ANU) where she conducts research on child separation and the role of Catholic faith based organisations in (post) colonial Indonesia. Starting from September 2024 she will continue this research in the Netherlands with the NWO research- grant under the title: Child separation: Islamic, Protestant and Catholic interferences with children in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia (1808-1984). In this project she aims to bring historical sources in public and institutional (private) archives in conversation with knowledge, memories and sources in the (personal) archives of former pupils of faith-based run child separation projects and their families.

Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 812 1179 0732
Password: 968025

Date & time

Mon 22 May 2023, 3–4pm


Rm 3.369 HC Coombs Building ANU


Dr Maaike Derksen, ANU


Natasha Fijn


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