1 While I use the terms “postcolonial” and “decolonial,” I find that “postcolo-
nial” is increasingly used in a manner that is subject to inflation and is uncrit-
ical; that is, one can do postcolonial studies very well without ever critically
addressing race. In that sense, it has come to resemble an old-fashioned type
of anthropology, in that the other is unblushingly studied without questioning
one’s own position, while anthropologists have, since the late 1960s, sternly
interrogated their own discipline for its racializing power moves. Decolo-
niality, decolonial studies, or the decolonial option is the more cutting-edge
approach, which starts from the realization of the nexus of modernity and
2 But also see Flax (2010).
3 Some exceptions have manifested. For example, in southeast Amsterdam,
where I live and where the majority of the population is black, the working
group Committee 4–5 May organizes an inclusive memorial and the yearly
George Maduro lecture, which I had the honor to deliver in 2013. George
Maduro was an Antillean student, active in the Dutch resistance, who was
killed during the war. Madurodam, the miniature city in The Hague, is named
after him and was originally financed by his family. Things may be less pro-
gressive outside of the four big cities, however. In the early 2000s, my father,
active in a Tilburg committee that wanted to organize an exhibition on World
War II in the West, met with outright hostility from parts of the Tilburg pop-
ulation who maintained that they had no interest whatsoever in whatever
happened in Suriname and the Antilles during the war.
4 This part is based on an earlier publication (Wekker 2001).
5 Ons Indië, “Our Indies,” is the old, nostalgic way of referring to the colony,
which freed itself from the Dutch in 1945, although most Dutch believe Indo-
nesian independence only happened in 1949.
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