The Imagining the Nation research team is co-hosting a lecture by renowned Caribbean scholar Linden Lewis on the 23rd of January. We hope to see you there!
On the morning of the 6th of September, one year after hurricane Irma caused havoc across the Caribbean and destroyed large parts of Sint Maarten, Francio Guadeloupe was interviewed in the radio program Spraakmakers. In the interview Guadeloupe looks back at what has happened since September 2017, and then he looks forward: How are the friends and family who are still on the island struggling to build back a better life for themselves and their offspring?
You can listen to the interview (in Dutch) here.
Who are we? And who will we become? Those were the question Dr. Francio Guadeloupe posed to the visiting 5th grade pupils from the Tamboerijn primary school who visited the University of Amsterdam as part of a whole day excursion, organized by the Move foundation. By engaging in conversations with pupils in Amsterdam, Guadeloupe and PhD researcher Halfman who was also present, are becoming increasingly able to compare the imaginations of nationness in different classrooms across our Kingdom.
By telling the story about his meeting with an alien Guadeloupe explained what anthropology is for him. The alien that had abducted him had asked who all these different people were. And how was it possible that all these people were so different from one another? Guadeloupe had answered the alien with a story, a story he also shared with the pupils.
He explained human evolution and migration, starting with our great, great, great, grandmothers and fathers living in trees, moving upright, growing apposable thumbs, and ending with technological inventions that bring us together even more easily today. The teachers and pupils then listened to Dyna, Frenna and Ronnie Flex performing their song ‘Pull Up’, that expresses human diversity in the Dutch Kingdom today.
The engaged youngsters moved in their chairs and sang along before bombarding Dr. Guadeloupe with questions. Did he really believe in Aliens? Did he really meet one? What languages could he speak? And how could he speak with the alien? This last important question allowed Guadeloupe to elaborate on his insight that musical expression is a high form of intelligence which allows communication between people who do not speak each other’s languages. So even a human and an alien could share meaning by making music together. The pupils agreed.
Engagements such as this provide the (PhD) researchers within the imagining the nation research group with insights into the lived realities and imagined futures of those who will inherit our world. At the same time, the University of Amsterdam, and in particular the Globalizing Cultures program group to which we belong, strongly believes that inspiring and sharing knowledge with the youth of the Kingdom, is an important part of our work.
On the 14th of November 2016, the Daily Herald published Francio Guadeloupe's reflection on the dominance of the cult of transparency. It was timely then, and equally relevant today.
As is the case in the wider world, here on St. Martin (Sint Maarten & Saint-Martin) too, transparency has become a hip hip hurray word; a feel good word; a word without spot or blemish. Few question how they came to love this word and idea so much. A word that is unsoiled and uncontested – and never connected to inhuman trends is a dangerous thing!
If you want to be taken seriously as being anti-establishment – regardless of the fact that you are a millionaire or you are politically well-connected – then make sure you use the word transparency in your criticism of the powers that be (or accuse your adversaries of being non-transparent towards “the people”). Politicians and wannabe politicians, policy makers, social activists and those who refer to themselves as concerned citizens, trip over themselves using that word.
Teachers in Doetichem and the rest of the Achterhoek will be breaking new ground: they will be teaching a lesson plan that connects the histories of slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean isles to the instituting of the same regime in Indonesia.
Yet in the 4 week lesson plan for pupils between 8 and 12 years old, they learn to recognize that the struggle against that evil in the Dutch Kingdom - influenced by developments in Angola, Brazil, Haiti, India, Portugal, and the USA - produced the ultimate global good: Human Rights.
In interactive workshops the future teachers at Iselinge Hogeschool got acquainted with the extensive material. All showed keen interest in learning about the subject and teaching the material to their pupils in various schools. The same lesson plan has been taught on St. Maarten and St. Eustatius allowing a growing set of children and teachers to relate to their common past differently.
Op 5 mei verscheen er in het Antilliaans Dagblad een verslag van het symposium over de dekolonisatie van het hoger onderwijs getiteld Routes veranderen in 'roots'.
On the 19th of April, Amsterdam United, the super diverse student platform of the University of Amsterdam organized an event titled 'Inclusive Education: How can we decolonize education at universities?' The event brought together lecturers, students and activists who discussed the possibilities of decolonizing higher education. The keynote lecture given by Dr. Francio Guadeloupe highlighted two related but also differing ways of approaching this project. Click below to watch the video of the lecture by Guadeloupe.
Een kritische noot van Peter Geschiere en Francio Guadeloupe in deze ingezonden brief die verscheen in het NRC op 16 april.
Blijkens zijn boekbespreking van Achille Mbembe’s Een politiek van vijandschap (NRC, 6/4) heeft recensent Arnold Heumakers zich hevig geërgerd aan de „Afrikaanse oogkleppen” van deze „Afrikaanse filosoof.” Kennelijk ontgaat het Heumakers – zou hij zichzelf ook aanduiden als Europees filosoof? – dat Mbembe intervenieert in discussies die in toenemende mate een mondiale impact hebben. Als Heumakers de Caribische psychiater Frantz Fanon afdoet als een „door Sartre beïnvloede geweldsapostel” zou hij zich kunnen bezinnen op zijn eigen oogkleppen. Wie beïnvloedde wie? Kan Heumakers zich voorstellen dat Sartre meer van Fanon leerde dan omgekeerd? Het zijn juist zulke omkeringen van gangbare perspectieven die Mbembe aankaart als hij pleit dat we af moeten van een perspectief dat Europa als zwaartepunt neemt. Fanon is ook nu relevant, vooral dankzij zijn boek Zwarte Huid, Blanke Maskers; hij is een inspirerende leidsman voor bewegingen die luid en duidelijk doorklinken in de Verenigde Staten, Zuid-Afrika, en het Verenigd Koninkrijk, en zich ook aankondigen in Nederland (denk aan Gloria Wekker’s recente boek Witte Onschuld). Ook witte filosofen als Judith Butler grijpen terug op Fanon in een zoektocht naar een nieuw humanisme. Dat Mbembe „zelfs” een heel hoofdstuk wijdt aan Fanon is dan ook niet een bijkomstigheid, maar cruciaal aan dit boek.
emeritus hoogleraar antropologie van Afrika
Universitair medewerker Universiteit van Amsterdam
Hoogleraar Universiteit van St. Maarten
On Monday the 26th of February, Francio Guadeloupe, principal investigator in this research project, was invited to the Dutch radio program 'Spraakmakers'. In the interview he shared his thoughts about the snap elections, the economic situation after hurricane Irma and the state of education on Sint Maarten.
The interview, held in Dutch, can be listened to here.
Op 8 februari verscheen er in de Volkskrant een bijdrage van onze onderzoeksgroep aan het publieke debat rondom de politieke en ecologische situatie op zowel Sint Eustatius als Sint Maarten. In het stuk doen Francio Guadeloupe, Jordi Halfman en Nicole Sanches een oproep tot samenwerking en gelijkwaardigheid bij het blussen van de felle branden die momenteel woeden in het Koninkrijk.
Als je huis in brand staat, ga je niet discussiëren over wie blaam treft of hoe dit kon gebeuren. Dat zijn zorgen voor later. Je houdt je allereerst bezig met het beperken van de schade en daarna blus je zo snel mogelijk de brand.
Lees hier het volledige artikel.
Work together and develop an equal Kingdom
When your house is on fire you do not fight about who is to blame or how the fire may have started. Before you do anything else, you try to minimize the damage and then you try to extinguish the fire.
Burning houses. That seems the best way to describe the current situation on Sint Eustatius (Statia) and Sint Maarten: Caribbean parts of our Kingdom. The Statian government has been sent home by Secretary of State Knops. According to the Dutch government, this is due to an administrative culture best characterized as lawless and severe financial mismanagement. Politicians on sister island Sint Maarten are similarly accused of corruption and bribery by the Mafia, not only by other politicians, but also by their own electorate. A well-known example is that of the Italian chief of gambling Francesco Corallo who is accused of maintaining close ties with Theo Heyliger, one of Sint Maarten’s political leaders. At their turn, these and other local politicians accuse The Hague of neo-colonial intentions. The house is on fire. Poverty and unemployment on Statia and Sint Maarten are increasing while those in charge on both sides of the ocean are fighting about who is to blame. They conveniently forget what their task is: making sure that all Dutch citizens can lead a decent and dignified existence. For good order: citizens of these islands are also citizens of the Dutch Kingdom.
What makes the situation even more horrifying is the literal fire that is burning on the dump at the center of Sint Maarten. Schools and corporations have had to shut down while local residents have to keep their doors and windows closed. A dark cloud is covering the sunny island. And again people are discussing who is responsible: who or what caused the fire? Was it done intentionally? But as we already indicated, the fire needs to be extinguished before this discussion can take place.
This fire can only be doused when representatives from different departments (the departments of Environment, Public Health, Infrastructure, and Finances) from Curacao, Sint Maarten, Aruba and the Netherlands, work together. Such a Kingdom wide, management group, based on equity and solidarity, should also include experts from the corporate and the academic worlds. The management group is tasked with wisely spending the money that has been made available for the reconstruction of Sint Maarten in public-private partnerships. This sustainable development will transform Sint Maarten into an environmental friendly and financially profitable, tourist island.
But this plan does not only concern Sint Maarten. This cooperation should lay the foundation for a Dutch Caribbean that takes the lead in social, ecological and economic development, both regionally and internationally. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Netherlands has become renowned for its abilities to adjust landscapes to the force of water and to protect her people. Their knowledge and expertise should now be made available to also make the Caribbean infrastructure resistant to the destructive forces of hurricanes and earthquakes.
A similar approach shall extinguish the figural fire that is burning on Statia. Professionals and politicians of the BES-islands, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands should be selected to collectively fight poverty and develop a well-functioning daily administration. Experts from the island itself should play a prominent role in this. Selection and strategy development lay with the Kingdom Government: The Dutch Cabinet complemented with the plenipotentiaries from Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. This Kingdom Government is accountable to a Kingdom Parliament that is in dire need of being established. It will emanate from the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO), through which Caribbean and Dutch parliamentarians now meet each other twice a year. This is not nearly often enough. Moreover, the Kingdom Government is currently not accountable to the IPKO which leaves this institution rather powerless. By collectively extinguishing the fires on both Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten, we can finally give shape to an equal and democratic Kingdom.
Dr. Francio Guadeloupe (University of Amsterdam).
Jordi Halfman (University of Amsterdam)
Nicole Sanches (University of Utrecht )
Prof. Dr. Monique Volman (University of Amsterdam)
Dr. Yvon van der Pijl (University of Utrecht)
Dr. Guiselle Starink-Martha (University of Amsterdam)
Sanne Rotmeijer (KITLV, Leiden)
Lisenne Delgado LLM (University of Curacao)
Oldine Bryson (former head of the SER, Sint Maarten)
Benjamin Ortega (head of the St. Maarten Development Movement)