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Subversive Seas
Anticolonial Networks across the Twentieth-Century Dutch Empire

$105.00 (F)

  • Date Published: June 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108472029

$ 105.00 (F)

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About the Authors
  • This revealing portrait of the Dutch Empire repositions our understanding of modern empires from the terrestrial to the oceanic. It highlights the importance of shipping, port cities, and maritime culture to the political struggles of the 1920s and 30s. Port cities such as Jeddah, Shanghai, and Batavia were hotbeds for the spread of nationalism, communism, pan-Islamism, and pan-Asianism, and became important centers of opposition to Dutch imperialism through the circulation of passengers, laborers, and religious pilgrims. In response to growing maritime threats, the Dutch government and shipping companies attempted to secure oceanic spaces and maintain hegemony abroad through a web of control. Techniques included maritime policing networks, close collaboration with British and French surveillance entities ashore, and maintaining segregation on ships, which was meant to 'teach' those on board their position within imperial hierarchies. This innovative study exposes how anti-colonialism was shaped not only within the terrestrial confines of metropole and colony, but across the transoceanic spaces in between.

    • Provides a more complex understanding of European imperialism from an oceanic viewpoint
    • Shows how oceans were an interface between colonial empires and businesses, governments, and people worldwide
    • The richly interdisciplinary subject matter ranges from global, regional, diplomatic, and social history to Southeast Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Alexanderson demonstrates that we cannot understand imperialism by simply focusing on the terrestrial claims of colonial powers. Rather, she reveals the myriad ways maritime networks, including actual ships themselves, helped define colonial structures and also provided unique, cosmopolitan spaces of connection for colonial subjects. Subversive Seas makes crucial contributions to Southeast Asian history, maritime history, and transnational/world history.' Heather Streets-Salter, Northeastern University, Massachusetts

    ‘Extensively researched and gracefully written, Subversive Seas demonstrates that Dutch shipping companies and maritime priorities both informed and reflected colonial policies during the period that would prove to be the twilight of Dutch imperial rule in Asia. Scholars working in numerous subfields - science and technology studies, maritime history, imperial history, decolonization studies, East Asian history, and modern Dutch history, among others - will value the insights Alexanderson offers in this important book.' Jennifer L. Foray, Purdue University, Indiana

    ‘Elegantly written, a joy to read, and aided by plentiful footnotes, Alexanderson’s study is all the stronger for its concluding discussion of the decolonization of Indonesia in the post-1945 era and the subsequent historiographical ‘decolonization of the Dutch colonial past’, to which her book ably contributes.’ Nicholas J. White, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108472029
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 1 map
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: transoceanic mobility and modern imperialism
    Part I. At Sea:
    1. Kongsi Tiga: security and insecurity on Hajj ships
    2. Java-China-Japan Lijn: Asian shipping and imperial representation
    3. The Dutch mails: passenger liners as colonial classrooms
    Part II. In Port:
    4. Pan-Islamism abroad: regulation and resistance in the Middle East
    5. Policing communism: ships, seamen, and political networks in Asia
    6. Japanese penetration: imperial upheavals in the 1930s
    Conclusion: oceanic decolonization and cultural amnesia in the twenty-first century.

  • Author

    Kris Alexanderson, University of the Pacific, California
    Kris Alexanderson is Assistant Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, California.

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