The Indisch Tijdschrift van het Recht, 1915–1947: A Critical Reassessment of Dutch Colonial Legal Sources

Moritz Koenig*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This article discusses the structure and argumentative style of the Indisch Tijdschrift van het Recht (hereafter ITR or Tijdschrift) (1915–1947), one of the primary sources for scholarly investigations of late colonial law in the Dutch East Indies. I argue that a ‘reading along the grain’ and problematization of its peculiar types of knowledge-making can help give texture to academic analyses of colonial law. This article zooms in on the structure of the Tijdschrift’s case-reporting and legal commentaries to contextualize it within historical debates of law and investigate the role it played in reorganizing the colonial economy. I argue that the Tijdschrift allowed colonial scholars, judges, and administrators to portray law as an objective, neutral framework for the containment of everyday life and local adat. However, detailed analysis also highlights the epistemic anxieties of Dutch colonial legalists about the efficiency of legal methods. Both these issues should be considered when referencing the Tijdschrift as a scholarly source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-94
Number of pages33
JournalBijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde
Volume180
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © Moritz Koenig, 2024.

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