Seductive Landscapes: Gender, Race and European Representations of Nature in the Dutch East Indies during the Late Colonial Period

Susanne Protschky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A common assumption in current scholarship on imperialism is that representations of colonised landscapes were gendered female and that European expansion was a male-gendered enterprise. In the Dutch East Indies (colonial Indonesia), a Dutch possession in south-east Asia, this association was by no means consistent in artistic and literary representations of nature and landscape. The gendering of Indies landscapes as feminine and their association with erotic conquest in colonial representations was most strongly evident in paintings. However, in photographs and literature, race figured more prominently in the designation of colonised landscapes as tropical and other. This was particularly true from the late nineteenth century onwards, when an ideological shift towards increased racial segregation occurred among colonial intellectuals and officials. In literature particularly, Indies landscapes and nature appeared as gender-neutral, but were clearly raced native. In such instances, colonial representations were more likely to convey a fear of seduction and engulfment by Indies nature than titillation at the prospect of erotic opportunity or colonial conquest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-398
JournalGender and History
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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