I am a historian of European colonialism, specializing in the legal history of the Dutch empire. After obtaining a MA in Colonial and Global History (cum laude), I pursued a PhD project on criminal law and mixed law courts in colonial Indonesia at Leiden University. For my postdoctoral research, I turned my attention to the long-term development and implications of Dutch colonialism, in particular by unraveling the practices, erasures, and anxieties within encounters of law making by colonial commissions of inquiry in South- and Southeast Asia. As a cultural historian of law, I am interested in the workings of law in colonial-local contexts with various normative orders. My first book project ‘Institutionalizing Uncertainty: Criminal Law and Strategies of Rule in Colonial Indonesia’ studies the materiality of law and strategies of legal pluralities inside—or kept outside of—mixed courtrooms (landraden) in colonial Indonesia. This research project is an exploration of the actors, spaces, and materials of law in the colonial courtroom and foregrounds the uncertainty of colonial law as utilized and strategized through legal pluralities. In addition to a wide array of written sources, I explore the space of the colonial courtroom by studying its materiality from photos and costumes, to seating arrangements and table clothes. In my research, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate students, I engage actively with the broader (legal) historiography on European empires, and the wider literature on law in the Indian Ocean world. I also research and teach on how present-day Europe, and especially the Netherlands, constructs, faces and contests its colonial legacies.
Image: Landraad session in Batavia (staged in photo studio), oath taking by the penghulu, ca. 1890. (Leiden University Libraries, KITLV 90757)