Monarchy and visual culture in colonial Indonesia

Photographic subjects examines photography at royal celebrations during the reigns of Wilhelmina (1898–1948) and Juliana (1948–80), a period spanning the zenith and fall of Dutch rule in Indonesia. It is the first monograph in English on the Dutch monarchy and the Netherlands’ modern empire in the age of mass and amateur photography.

This book reveals how Europeans and Indigenous people used photographs taken at Queen’s Day celebrations to indicate the ritual uses of portraits of Wilhelmina and Juliana in the colonies. Such photographs were also objects of exchange across imperial networks. Photograph albums were sent as gifts by Indigenous royals in ‘snapshot diplomacy’ with the Dutch monarchy. Ordinary Indonesians sent photographs to Dutch royals in a bid for recognition and subjecthood. Professional and amateur photographers associated the Dutch queens with colonial modernity and with modes of governing difference across an empire of discontiguous territory and ethnically diverse people. The gendered and racial dimensions of Wilhelmina’s and Juliana’s engagement with their subjects emerge uniquely in photographs, which show these two women as female kings who related to their Dutch and Indigenous subjects in different visual registers.

Photographic subjects advances methods in the use of photographs for social and cultural history, reveals the entanglement of Dutch and Indonesian histories in the twentieth century, and provides a new interpretation of Wilhelmina and Juliana as imperial monarchs. The book is essential for scholars and students of colonial history, South-east Asian and Indonesian studies, and photography and visual studies.

.2 Joop van Bilsen (from left): Sultan Hamid, Indonesian Prime Minister Mohammed Hatta, Queen Juliana and Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees during the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia, Royal Palace on the Dam, Amsterdam, 27 December 1949 In this book, an examination of the rise of mass photography during Wilhelmina's reign and in the last half-century of Dutch rule in Indonesia has revealed how different modes of photography interacted to produce a participatory visual culture

in Photographic subjects
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Portraits of the monarch in colonial ritual

This chapter charts the growing, diversifying circulation of the Dutch monarch’s image for different audiences and purposes across the early twentieth century. It discusses Queen Wilhelmina (r. 1898–1948) and Queen Juliana (r. 1948–80), portraits of whom played an important ceremonial role at government and viceregal occasions in the East Indies, and were also adapted in creative ways by different ethnic groups as effigies at pageants. In demonstrating how the queens’ portraits were used in imperial rituals, rather than simply attending to representation, this chapter addresses scholarship on royal tours, mass spectacle and empire that has to date overlooked the role of photography in forging connections between monarchs and their colonial subjects. The chapter assesses colonial audiences’ engagement with European monarchies beyond the parameters of the ‘royal tour’, which was actually uncommon in most empires other than British overseas possessions.

in Photographic subjects
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Aznar appointed Prime Minister. 12 March 2000 General election. Popular Party wins largest share of the vote (44.6 per cent). 27 April 2000 Aznar re-appointed Prime Minister. Smaller Democracies 4 November 1948 Queen Juliana becomes Queen of the Netherlands, following the abdication of her mother, Queen Wilhelmina. 16 July 1951 Leopold

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