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The Mestizos of Kisar: An insular racial laboratory in the Malay Archipelago

  • Hans Pols and Warwick Anderson


In the 1920s and 1930s, the Mestizos of Kisar, a dry, almost barren island in the Dutch East Indies off the coast of East Timor, were a model for the study of race mixing or human hybridity. Discovered in the late nineteenth century, these ‘anomalous blondes’ of Dutch and Kisarese ancestry became subjects of intense scrutiny by physical anthropologists. As a German specialist in tropical medicine in search of a convenient empire after 1918, Ernst Rodenwaldt favourably evaluated the physique and mentality of the isolated, fair Mestizos in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Back in Germany in the 1930s, as professor of hygiene at Heidelberg, his views on race hardened to accord with Nazi doctrine. Yet after the war, Rodenwaldt successfully cited his earlier appreciation of mixed-race peoples in the eastern Malay Archipelago as grounds for rehabilitation. Once a celebrated case study in human hybridity, the Mestizos of Kisar were erased from anthropological discussion in the 1950s, when race mixing ceased to be a biological issue and became instead a sociological interest. Still, Rodenwaldt's work continues to exert some limited influence in the eastern parts of the archipelago and among the Kisarese diaspora, indicating the penetrance and resilience of colonial racialisation projects.



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We are grateful for the discussion of this article at the 2014 EuroSEAS meeting in Lisbon, at a panel organised by Ricardo Roque and Warwick Anderson. Irfan Kortschak, Veronika Lipphardt, Dirk Moses, Ricardo Roque, and Christine Winter offered comments on an earlier version of this article. Antje Kühnast did most of the German translations; Hans Pols is responsible for the Dutch. We are grateful to Edwin Lerrick for hospitality in Kupang. This research was supported by Australian Research Council Grants FL110100243, DP0881067, and DP1096013.



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1 Brown, J. Macmillan, The Dutch East: Sketches and pictures (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1914), p. 209.

2 Brown, The Dutch East, pp. 212, 218.

3 Elkington, J.S.C., ‘The “Mestizos” of Kisar, Dutch East Indies’, Medical Journal of Australia (Jan. 1922): 32–3. On Elkington see Anderson, Warwick, The cultivation of whiteness: Science, health and racial destiny in Australia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

4 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, Ein Tropenarzt erzählt sein Leben [A tropical physician relates his life] (Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag, 1957), p. 241.

5 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, Die Mestizen auf Kisar [The Mestizos on Kisar], vol. 1 (Batavia: Kolff, 1927), p. 117. The book was also published in Dutch as De Mestiezen op Kisar, 2 vols. (Batavia: Kolff, 1927), but all references in this article are to the German original. Gustav Fischer Verlag published another German edition in 1928 in Jena.

6 van der Veur, Paul W., ‘Cultural aspects of the Eurasian community in Indonesian colonial society’, Indonesia 6 (1968): 3853. In the early years of Dutch colonisation, European men often married into prominent Indo-European and Indonesian families to enhance their social status: see Taylor, Jean Gelman, The social world of Batavia: European and Eurasian in Dutch Asia (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983); and Bosma, Ulbe and Raben, Remco, Being ‘Dutch’ in the Indies: A history of creolisation and empire, 1500–1920, trans. Shaffer, Wendie (Singapore: NUS Press, 2008).

7 Fasseur, Cees, ‘Corner stone or stumbling block: Racial classification and the late colonial state in Indonesia’, in The late colonial state in Indonesia: Political and economic foundations of the Netherlands East Indies, 1880–1942, ed. Cribb, Robert (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1994), pp. 3156. For an overview of the legal categories in the Dutch East Indies and their complexities and ambiguities see Luttikhuis, Bart, ‘Beyond race: Constructions of “Europeanness” in late-colonial legal practice in the Dutch East Indies’, European Review of History 20, 4 (2013): 539–58.

8 Van der Veur, ‘Cultural aspects of the Eurasian community in Indonesian colonial society’. For a history of krontjong music see Keppy, Peter, ‘Keroncong, concours and crooners: Home-grown entertainment in early twentieth-century Batavia’, in Linking destinies: Trade, towns and kin in Asian history, ed. Boomgaard, Peter, Kooiman, Dick and Nordholdt, Henk Schulte (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2008), pp. 141–57. For the theatre Stamboel see Cohen, Matthew Isaac, The Komedie Stamboel: Popular theater in colonial Indonesia, 1891–1903 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006).

9 Stoler, Ann Laura, Carnal knowledge and imperial power: Race and the intimate in colonial rule (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), and Along the archival grain: Epistemic anxieties and colonial common sense (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), especially ch. 3. See also Clancy-Smith, Julia and Gouda, Frances, Domesticating the empire: Race, gender, and family life in French and Dutch colonialism (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998); Locher-Scholten, Elsbeth, Women and the colonial state: Essays on gender and modernity in the Netherlands Indies, 1900–1942 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2000); and Protschky, Susie, ‘Race, class, and gender: Debates over the character of social hierarchies in the Netherlands Indies, circa 1600–1942’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 167, 4 (2011): 543–56. For contemporary sociological analysis, see Kielstra, J.C., ‘The “Indo-European” problem in the Dutch East Indies’, Asiatic Review 25 (1929): 588–95.

10 Stoler, Ann L., ‘Making empire respectable: The politics of race and sexual morality in 20th-century colonial cultures’, American Ethnologist 16, 4 (1989): 635.

11 In 1919, the Indo-European Association (Indo-Europeesch Verbond, IEV) was founded to represent their interests in the recently established colonial parliament or Volksraad: generally this association sided with the most reactionary political forces in the Indies. See Ulbe Bosma, Karel Zaalberg: Journalist en strijder voor de Indo [Karel Zaalberg: Journalist and advocate for Indo-Europeans] (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1997). Even Macmillan Brown noticed that ‘there is appearing amongst the European ranks much hostile criticism of the recognition of the half-castes’ (The Dutch East, p. 203).

12 In contrast, most Dutch anthropologists in the Indies, including J.P. Kleiweg de Zwaan, were concentrating on the most ‘primitive’ groups: see Sysling, Fenneke, ‘Geographies of difference: Dutch physical anthropology in the colonies and the Netherlands, c. 1900–1940’, BMGN: Low Countries Historical Review 128, 1 (2013): 105–26; Sysling, Fenneke, Racial science and human diversity in colonial Indonesia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2016).

13 Rodenwaldt, Tropenarzt erzählt sein Leben. See also Eckhardt, Wolfgang, ‘Generalarzt Ernst Rodenwaldt’, in Hitlers militärische Elite, ed. Ueberschär, Gerd R. (Darmstadt: Primus Verlag, 1998), pp. 210–22; and Manuela Kiminus, ‘Ernst Rodenwaldt: Leben und Werk’ (diss. med., Ruprecht-Karls Universität, Heidelberg, 2001).

14 Snowden, Frank M. accuses him of a ‘combination of wartime devastation and bioterrorism’, in The conquest of malaria: Italy, 1900–1962 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), p. 196.

15 Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, ‘Can the subaltern speak?’, in Marxism and the interpretation of cultures, ed. Nelson, Cary and Grossberg, Lawrence (London: Macmillan, 1988), pp. 271313.

16 Meyer was following in the wake of Alfred Russel Wallace, whose Malay Archipelago (1869) he had translated into German. Meyer later became director of the Natural History and Anthropology Museum at Dresden. See Howes, Hilary, ‘“Shrieking savages” and “men of milder customs”’, Journal of Pacific History 47, 1 (2012): 2144, and Anglo-German anthropology in the Malay Archipelago, 1869–1910: Adolf Bernhard Meyer, Alfred Russel Wallace and Alfred Cort Haddon’, in Anglo-German scholarly networks in the long nineteenth century, ed. Ellis, Heather and Kirchberger, Ulrike (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 126–46. See also Vetter, Jeremy, ‘Wallace's other line: Human biogeography and field practice in the eastern colonial tropics’, Journal of the History of Biology 39, 1 (2006): 85123. It is likely that, as a pioneering German physical anthropologist in the region, Meyer represented a model for Rodenwaldt: see Die deutsche Südsee, 1884–1914: Ein Handbuch, ed. Hiery, Hermann Joseph (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, 2001).

17 Meyer, A.B., ‘Die Mestizen-Colonie auf der Insel Kisser bei Timor im Ostindischen Archipel’, Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen 28 (1882): 467.

18 Meyer, ‘Mestizen-Colonie’, p. 467.

19 Brown, The Dutch East, p. 204.

20 Brown, The Dutch East, pp. 219, 220.

21 Elkington, ‘The “Mestizos” of Kisar’, p. 32.

22 Ibid., p. 33.

23 Rodenwaldt, Tropenarzt erzählt sein Leben. He was briefly stationed at Gallipoli.

24 Eugen Fischer, Die Rehobother Bastards und das Bastardierungsproblem beim Menschen: Anthropologische und ethnographiesche Studien am Rehobother Bastardvolk in Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika [The Rehoboth bastards and the problem of bastardisation in human beings: Anthropological and ethnographic studies of the Rehoboth bastard tribe in German Southwest Africa] (Jena: G. Fischer, 1913). Fischer was director of the Anatomical Institute in Freiburg (1918–27), then director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, Berlin (1927–42). He was elected rector of the Friedrich Wilhelm Universität, Berlin (now Humboldt University) in 1933. After the Second World War, Fischer continued as emeritus professor at Freiburg University.

25 Rodenwaldt, Tropenarzt erzählt sein Leben, p. 251.

26 Ibid., p. 251.

27 Ibid., p. 303.

28 This section is based on Rodenwaldt, Die Mestizen auf Kisar. See also Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘De mestiezen van Kisar [The Mestizos of Kisar]’, in Handelingen van het Vijfde Nederlandsch-Indisch Natuurwetenschappelijk Congres Soerabaja (Batavia: Kolff, 1927).

29 van Hoëvell, G.W.W.C., ‘Leti eilanden [Leti Islands]’, Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land en Volkenkunde 33 (1890): 216.

30 Rodenwaldt, Die Mestizen auf Kisar.

31 Bloys van Treslong Prins wrote extensively about early Indo-European families and focused on genealogical information. See, for example, P.C. Bloys van Treslong Prins, Grafschriften op diverse plaatsen op Java en de naburige eilanden [Inscriptions on tombstones in several places on Java and neighbouring islands] (Den Haag: Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie en Heraldiek, 1916), 3 vols. There were many German family names among Indo-Europeans; they were descendants of German soldiers or other German sojourners to the Indies. In a research project that must have fascinated Rodenwaldt, Bloys van Treslong Prins studied the genealogy of these families. See P.C. Bloys van Treslong Prins, Die Deutschen in Niederländisch-Indien: Vortrag, gehalten in der Ortsgruppe Batavia am 30. Sept. 1935 [The Germans in the Dutch Indies: Address to the German Association of Batavia] (Tokyo: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens, 1937).

32 Rodenwaldt, Die Mestizen auf Kisar, vol. 1, pp. 108–10.

33 Ibid., p. 117.

34 On the first names of the Mestizos, see Rodenwaldt, Die Mestizen auf Kisar, vol. 1, pp. 91–97.

35 Ibid., pp. 438–9.

36 Ibid., p. 427. A translation of these tribal legends is given on pp. 450–64.

37 Ibid., p. 415.

38 Ibid., p. 426.

39 Ibid., p. 422.

40 Ibid., p. 415.

41 Ibid., p. viii.

42 Ibid., p. 415.

43 Van Schouwenburg announced the founding of the Eugenics Association of the Dutch Indies in an article in a widely read magazine of public opinion: van Schouwenburg, J.C., ‘Hollands taak in Indië: Beschouwd van een eugenetisch standpunt’ [Holland's task in the Indies: Viewed from a eugenic perspective], Koloniale Studiën 11 (1927): 4556. See Pols, Hans, ‘Eugenics in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies’, in The Oxford handbook of the history of eugenics, ed. Bashford, Alison and Levine, Philippa (London: Routledge, 2010), 347–62.

44 In the first issue, the work of Rodenwaldt was highlighted extensively. See [van Schouwenburg, J.C.], ‘Ter inleiding van Ons Nageslacht bij zijn lezers [Introducing Our Progeny to its readers]’, Ons Nageslacht 1 (1928): 16; and van Schouwenburg, J.C., ‘Eugenetische beschouwingen van Prof. Dr. Rodenwaldt [Eugenic considerations of Prof. Dr. Rodenwaldt]’, Ons Nageslacht, 1 (1928): 611. See also Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Eugenetische problemen in Nederlandsch Indië [Eugenic problems in the Dutch Indies]’, Ons Nageslacht, 2 (1929): 18. For another review of Rodenwaldt's inquiries see Bijlmer, H.J.T., ‘Natuurlijk kruisingsexperiment op Kisar? Beschouwingen naar aanleiding van Prof. Dr. E. Rodenwaldt's werk Die Mestizen auf Kisar [A natural experiment in race mixing? Reflections on the book by Prof. Dr. E. Rodenwaldt Die Mestizen auf Kisar]’, Tijdschrift van het Aardrijkskundig Genootschap 45 (1928): 888–91.

45 Van Schouwenburg, ‘Eugenetische beschouwingen Rodenwaldt’, p. 10. The Indo-European novelist and journalist Hans van de Wall also later commended Rodenwaldt for ‘a complete appreciation, almost without reservations’ of Indo-Europeans (‘Over het ras der Indos [About the race of Indo-Europeans]’, Onze Stem 12, 16 Jan. 1931, p. 59). Van de Wall's best-known novel was published under the pseudonym Victor Ido, De paupers: Roman uit de Indo-Europeesche samenleving [The paupers: A novel of Indo-European society] (Amersfoort: Valkhof, 1912).

46 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Eugenetische problemen in Ned. Indië [Eugenic problems in the Dutch Indies]’, in Handelingen van het Vijfde Nederlandsch-Indisch Natuurwetenschappelijk Congress, Soerabaja (Batavia: Kolff, 1928), pp. 316–26.

47 Rodenwaldt, Ernst R.K., ‘Voorloopige mededeelingen omtrent de resultaten der enquête Boerma-Rodenwaldt [Preliminary report of the results of the Boerma-Rodenwaldt Questionaire Study]’, in Handelingen van het zesde Nederlandsch-Indisch Natuurwetenschappelijk congress, Bandoeng (Bandoeng: Nix, 1931), pp. 231–6; Invloed van de tropen op het geslachtsleven van de vrouw: Voorloopige mededeelingen omtrent de resultaten der enquête Boerma-Rodenwaldt [The influence of the tropics on the sexual life of women: Preliminary comments on the results of the Boerma-Rodenwaldt Questionaire Study]’, Ons Nageslacht 4 (1931): 146–64; and Das Geslechtsleben der Europäischen Frau in der Tropen [The sex life of European women in the tropics]’, Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 26 (1932): 173–94.

48 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Die Indoeuropäer Niederländisch Ostindiens [The Indo-Europeans in the Dutch East Indies]’, Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie; einschliesslich Rassen- und Gesellschafts-Hygiene 24 (1930): 117. Reprinted as Die Indoeuropäer Niederländisch Ostindiens’, Ons Nageslacht 3 (1930): 144–60; and De Indo-Europeaan in Ned. Oost-Indië [The Indo-Europeans in the Dutch East Indies]’, Onze Stem: Orgaan van het Indo-Europeesch Verbond 12 (10 Apr. 1931): 388–91, 411–12, 437–8, 477–9, 494–6.

49 Rodenwaldt, ‘Die Indoeuropäer in Niederländisch Ostindiens’, p. 113.

50 Ibid., p. 117.

51 Ibid., p. 118.

52 Ibid., p. 120.

53 Eckhardt, ‘Generalarzt Ernst Rodenwaldt’, p. 212. Rodenwaldt later implied he was worried about causing dissension in the small German community in Batavia.

54 Remy, Steven P., The Heidelberg myth: The nazification and denazification of a German university (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). See also Eckart, Wolfgang U., Medizin und Kolonialimperialismus: Deutschland 1884–1945 [Medicine and colonial imperialism: Germany, 18841945] (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1997).

55 Zeiss, Heinz and Rodenwaldt, Ernst, Einführung in die Hygiene und Seuchenlehre [Introduction to the study of hygiene and epidemics] (Stuttgart: Enke, 1936). The fifth edition, published in 1943, contained a chapter on National Socialist racial hygiene. Rodenwaldt became a mentor for Zeiss, a proponent of geomedicine and another leading Nazi race theorist, when they both served as medical advisors to the Ottoman Empire during the First World War: see Solomon, Susan Gross, ed., Doing medicine together: Germany and Russia between the wars (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006); and Yanikdag, Yücel, Healing the nation: Prisoners of war, medicine and nationalism in Turkey, 1914–1939 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), ch. 6. Both Zeiss and Rodenwaldt followed a similar intellectual trajectory and career path, with their racial views hardening after they returned to Germany in the 1930s. Rodenwaldt also published his views in his manual on tropical hygiene: Tropenhygiene (Stuttgart: Enke, 1937). See also Rodenwaldt, , ‘Allgemeine Rassenbiologie des Menschen’ [General racial biology of human beings], in Handbuch der Erbbiologie des Menschen, ed. Just, Guenther (Berlin: Springer, 1940), pp. 645–78.

56 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Vom Seelenkonflikt des Mischlings [The mental conflicts of  mixed-race individuals]’, Zeitschrift für Morphologie und Anthropologie 34 (1934): 367 (original emphasis). This was part of a Festschrift for Eugen Fischer.

57 Rodenwaldt, ‘Seelenkonflikt des Mischlings’, p. 371.

58 Ibid., p. 371.

59 Ibid., p. 372.

60 Ibid., p. 367.

61 Ibid., p. 372.

62 Ibid., p. 374.

63 Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Die Rückwirkung der Rassenmischung in den Kolonialländern auf Europa [The effect of race mixing in the colonies on Europe]’, Archiv für Rassen- und Gesellschaftsbiologie 32 (1938): 385–96. In 1939, Rodenwaldt made sure to thank ‘the genial man who leads us’ for making racial hygiene the basis for ‘the entire structure of the Volk, the state, and the culture’; see Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Rassenhygiene und Kolonialpolitik: Nationalsozialistische Rassenerkenntnis als Grundlage für die Kolonialbetätigung des neuen Europas [Racial hygiene and colonial politics: National Socialist racial science as the foundation for colonial activity in the new Europe]’, Deutscher Kolonialdienst 4 (1939): 182. See also Rodenwaldt, Ernst, ‘Die Anpassung des Menschen an seiner Rassen fremdes Klima [The adjustment of human beings to a climate that is alien to their race]’, Klinische Wochenschrift 17 (1935): 1569–73; Wie bewahrt der Deutsche die Reinheit seines Blutes in Ländern mit farbiger Bevölkerung [How Germans maintain the purity of their blood in countries with a coloured population]’, Der Auslanderdeutsche 19 (1936): 623–38; and Rassenbiologische Probleme in Kolonialländern [Problems in racial biology in the colonies]’, Verhandlungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Rassenforschung 10 (1940): 117.

64 Snowden, Conquest of malaria, p. 191. Snowden claims this is the only example of biological warfare in Europe in the twentieth century. Martini, also trained in tropical medicine at Hamburg, was an entomologist and member of the NSDAP from 1933. From 1936 he directed the research department at the German Hygiene Museum, Dresden, and during the war he led the Colonial Medical Institute in Berlin. Afterwards he received numerous honours for his entomological research.

65 According to Remy (The Heidelberg myth, p. 73): ‘The argument employed after the war by scientists and historians alike that men like Rodenwaldt advocated sterilisation or sprinkled their writings with facile references to “race” in order to save their careers or “camouflage” their true anti-Nazi sentiments distorts the historical record.’

66 Ernst Rodenwaldt, Field information agency technical (FIAT) review of German science, hygiene (Office of the Military Government for Germany, 1948). Racial hygiene was not mentioned.

67 Rodenwaldt, Tropenarzt erzählt sein Leben. See also Eckhardt, ‘Generalarzt Ernst Rodenwaldt’, and Kiminus, ‘Ernst Rodenwaldt: Leben und Werk’. Rodenwaldt's restitution contrasts with the death in Soviet custody in 1948 of his friend and geomedicine collaborator Heinz Zeiss. See Weindling, Paul, ‘Heinrich Zeiss, hygiene and Holocaust’, in Doctors, politics and society: Historical essays, ed. Porter, Dorothy and Porter, Roy (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1993), pp. 174–87.

68 Weindling, Paul, Health, race and German politics between national unification and Nazism, 1870–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); Proctor, Robert, ‘From Anthropologie to Rassenkunde in the German anthropological tradition’, in Bones, bodies, behavior: Essays on biological anthropology, ed. Stocking, George W. Jr. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), pp. 138–79; Zimmerman, Andrew, Anthropology and antihumanism in imperial Germany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Penny, H. Glenn and Bunzl, Matti, ed., Worldly provincialism: German anthropology in an age of empire (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003); Evans, Andrew D., Anthropology at war: World War I and the science of race in Germany (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); and Lipphardt, Veronika, ‘Isolates and crosses in human population genetics: Or, a contextualization of German race science’, Current Anthropology 53, S5 (2012): S69S82.

69 Remy, The Heidelberg myth.

70 Weindling, Paul, ‘Weimar eugenics: The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in social context’, Annals of Science 42, 3 (1983): 303–18.

71 See also Ehmann, Annegret, ‘From colonial racism to Nazi population policy: The role of the so-called Mischlinge’, in The Holocaust and history: The known, the unknown, the disputed, and the reexamined, ed. Berenbaum, Michael and Peck, Abraham (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), pp. 115–33. Ehmann focuses on the formal German empire between 1884 and 1914, and on Fischer's later career.

72 Anderson, Warwick, ‘Racial conceptions in the Global South’, Isis 105 (2014): 782–92. Additionally, the career of Heinz Zeiss repeats this trajectory: see Solomon, Doing medicine together.

73 Historians of human biology, however, are unaware of the study: see Provine, William B., ‘Geneticists and the biology of race crossing’, Science 182 (1973): 790–96; and Farber, Paul, Mixing races: From scientific racism to modern evolutionary ideas (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011).

74 Davenport, Charles B. and Steggerda, Morris, Race crossing in Jamaica (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1929). They address Rodenwaldt's study as ‘perhaps the most extensive [work] on a hybrid population yet published’ (p. 458). The leading American eugenicist, Davenport was director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. See Rosenberg, Charles E., ‘Charles Benedict Davenport and the irony of American eugenics’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 15 (1983): 1823.

75 Dover, Cedric, Half-caste (London: Martin, Secker & Warburg, 1937), p. 184.

76 Gates, R. Ruggles, Heredity in man (London: Constable & Co., 1929), p. 353. Professor of botany at King's College, London, Gates later became an admirer of Nazi race doctrines.

77 Perversely and obsessively, Australian experts in tropical hygiene continued to see Kisar as an experiment in the acclimatisation of the white race in the tropics: see Cilento, R.W., The white man in the tropics, with special reference to Australia and its dependencies (Melbourne: Government Printer, 1925); and Price, A. Grenfell, White settlers in the tropics (New York: American Geographical Society, 1939). Geographer R.W. Gregory noted that Kisar ‘unquestionably affords a remarkable instance of the long survival of Europeans in the tropics, on a small island only 500 miles from the equator, in spite of specially unfavourable conditions’. Gregory, R.W., The menace of colour (London: Seeley Service & Co., 1925), p. 213.

78 From the late-1930s, race mixing was redefined as a sociological issue, a problem of race relations and prejudice. See Anderson, Warwick, ‘Racial anthropology and human biology in the island laboratories of the United States’, Current Anthropology 53, S5 (2012): S95S107.

79 Edwin Lerrick in conversation with Warwick Anderson, 23 Jan. 2016, Kupang, Indonesia.

81 (last accessed 7 Dec. 2006).

82 Peters, Nonja and Snoeller, Geert, Vêrlander: Forgotten children of the VOC/Dutch East India Company (Amsterdam: Vêrlander, 2016), p. 64.

83 Thomas Belder, quoted in Peters and Snoeller, Vêrlander, p. 62.

84 Rano Lerrick to Hans Pols, Facebook messenger, 11 Aug. 2017.

We are grateful for the discussion of this article at the 2014 EuroSEAS meeting in Lisbon, at a panel organised by Ricardo Roque and Warwick Anderson. Irfan Kortschak, Veronika Lipphardt, Dirk Moses, Ricardo Roque, and Christine Winter offered comments on an earlier version of this article. Antje Kühnast did most of the German translations; Hans Pols is responsible for the Dutch. We are grateful to Edwin Lerrick for hospitality in Kupang. This research was supported by Australian Research Council Grants FL110100243, DP0881067, and DP1096013.

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