IIAS Newsletter 48 Summer 2008

'No False Echoes': polyphony in colonial and post-colonial times

Edwin Jurriëns

Is it only in totalitarian regimes that art often functions as the last resort for expressing one’s opinion in public, or could art play the same role in socalled democracies where public debate is, at times, dominated and stifled by voices taking and being granted the seemingly exclusive right to speak? In this respect, could there be ground for comparison between, say, Dutch colonial rule over the Netherlands East Indies and Suharto’s authoritarian New Order regime on the one hand and contemporary, democratic Dutch and Indonesian societies on the other? A recent event at Holland’s historic Radio Kootwijk examined the possibilities.

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