Java and Modern Europe
By Ann Kumar
Routledge – 1997 – 420 pages
This book presents a case study of Europe's impact on an old and distinctive non-European civilisation. Part One deals with the elements in Europe's strength, technological, political and intellectual. It also uses Wallerstein's world-systems perspective to give an economic dimension to this picture of the new world of Europe, and then looks at the important question of the changing place of the Dutch in the new economic order from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century. This is followed by a brief account of the history of the Dutch East-India Company in Java, and its political effects.
Part Two deals with the nature of the Javanese ancien regime, both in court and in provincial circles, with a focus on society and civilisation, rather than those staples of Javanese historiography to date, political events and economic statistics.
Part Three deals with the overall pattern set by the VOC's changing economic imperatives and with the impact of the successive tides of capitalism on three regional societies of Java.
Part Four deals with intellectual shifts that took place in this period, and argues that these shifts were less conservative than the socio-economic ones described in Part Three and, though more fragile and vulnerable, were crucial for the future.
The conclusion attempts to show the significance of these developments for modern Indonesia and the way in which some of the dynamics begun in this period are being played out in the contemporary world.
'A nuanced exploration of the intricacies of European Javanese interaction, and an insightful and thought-provoking analysis of the ambiguous implications and legacy of that interaction for Java and, more broadly, for Indonesia. This is an important book which raises big and significant issues of great relevance to Java and Indonesia today.' - Robert Elson, Asian Studies Review