Asian Heritages

Beyond Bali. Subaltern Citizens and Post-Colonial Intimacy

Ana Dragojlovic

Beyond Bali: Subaltern Citizens and Post-Colonial Intimacy explores Balinese subaltern citizens’ production of post-colonial intimacy both during colonialism and as they continue to have effects in the present. Through a complex reification of claims to proximity and mutuality between themselves and the Dutch, diasporic subjects reconfigure kebalian (Balinese-ness), to encompass the personal, social and cultural complexities involved in being persons and collectives of Balinese ethnicity in Dutch post-colonial society. Balinese subaltern citizens, whether former leftist political exiles, artists or everyday citizens, rather than criticizing, evoke colonial hierarchies of themselves as carriers of unique cultural traditions firstly promoted by the Dutch colonial policy (named ‘Balinization’), to position themselves higher than the other foreigners in the Dutch post-colonial matrix of difference. From everyday encounters at work, schools, social gatherings, Indische cultural festivals and post-colonial commemorations – Balinese subaltern citizens engage in performances aiming to authenticate them as long-distance cultural specialists. Beyond Bali explores ways that people move in and inhabit the world as situated in historical contingencies, the circulation of materiality through diverse social worlds, and processes of moving and inhabiting the world in which national histories, objects, visual and performing arts are employed in processes of home-making.

Ana Dragojlovic is an anthropologist working at the intersections of mobility, post-colonial and critical race studies, feminist and queer theory, and masculinity studies. She is currently working on a project that focuses on therapy cultures, particularly as they  relate to historical violence with interests in effect, embodiment, and subjectivity. Her regional specialisation reflects her interest in diasporas and empires and includes Indonesia, the Netherlands, Dutch-East-Indies and Afro-Asian connections (particularly in relation to the Afro-Caribbean).