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Giving for Girls: Reconsidering Colonial Civilizing Missions in the Dutch East Indies through Charitable Girls’ Education


  • Kamphuis Kirsten

    () (European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy)


This article compares two Protestant schools for elite indigenous girls in the Dutch East Indies. While both schools were financially supported by the colonial government, they emerged from Christian organizations and were partly dependent on voluntary gifts from the Netherlands and the colony. The article proposes to look at such philanthropic initiatives as integral parts of a larger colonial civilizing mission which was not limited to the colonial state. On the contrary, discourses about the implementation of “civilized” gender roles within indigenous families through girls’ education first emerged among philanthropists, and eventually influenced state-driven educational policies for girls. It is argued that philanthropical initiatives for girls’ education such as the two schools presented here are best understood as attempts to gain control over, and ultimately reform, the domestic lives of the indigenous population in the Dutch East Indies

Suggested Citation

  • Kamphuis Kirsten, 2018. "Giving for Girls: Reconsidering Colonial Civilizing Missions in the Dutch East Indies through Charitable Girls’ Education," New Global Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 217-234, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:nglost:v:12:y:2018:i:2:p:217-234:n:9

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    Dutch Indonesia; colonialism; education;


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