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Sexual politics in colonial Curaçao

  • Atria Kennisinstituut Vijzelstraat 20 Amsterdam, 1017 HK Netherlands (map)

Contesting respectability: sexual politics in post-emancipation colonial Curaçao

The lecture examines the ways in which colonial politics of respectability, aimed at shaping ideal Curaçaoan male and female behavior, formed a response to racist representations ofblack sexuality and character in Curaçaoan society. By reflecting on the discourses of respectability in Curaçaoan society, the lecture offers an analysis of gender differences in the region from a Dutch-Caribbean perspective and analyzes experiences of inclusion and exclusion within the wider Caribbean context. Data to sustain this presentation are principally drawn from documents as well as oral history interviews with elderly Curaçaoans.

Q&A: Esther Captain

Dr. Rose Mary Allen is a cultural anthropologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of Curaçao dr. Moises da Costa Gomez. She is a recipient of a knighthood in the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Netherlands, the Cola Debrot award as well as the Boeli van Leeuwenprijs for her contribution to and achievement in the sciences. Publications include ‘Di Ki Manera’: A Social History of Afro-Curaçaoans, 1863–1917 (2007); and “The Oral History of Slavery, Afro-Curaçaoan Memory, and Self-Definition: A Caribbean Perspective on the 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht,” In: Sargasso: Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language, & Culture I & II (2014): 135-152.

Dr. Esther Captain is Head of the Centre for Applied Research in Education at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She has published extensively on memory and heritage studies, postcolonial history, identity and generation. Her PhD dissertation focused on internment diaries and memoirs written during and after the Japanese occupation of Indonesia.

Time: 17.00-19.00 hrs.

Venue: Atria – Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History, Vijzelstraat 20, 1017 HK Amsterdam.

Credits: RMA Students can acquire 2 EC if they attend all events (lecture and 2 subsequent workshops), complete the readings and write an assignment related to the topic of the workshop.

Registrations for RMA students: Please email Eloe Kingma at sends e-mail). Be sure to specify your home institution and programme.
If you are not an RMA student and you would like to attend this event, please send an e-mail to Please note that places are limited.

This lecture will be followed by a two-day workshop by dr. Rose Mary Allen at Atria on the 28th and 29th of March (14.00-17.00 hrs). In the workshops, participants will look at oral history research findings, issues around reliability, transcription, interpretation and analysis.

Lecture and subsequent workshops are organised by the UvA (ACGS, ASCA, NICA and ARC-GS).