HoW: History on Wednesday | Decolonisation Interrupted: the West Papuan campaign for independence at the United Nations, 1961-69
Decolonisation Interrupted: the West Papuan campaign for independence at the United Nations, 1961-69
In this seminar I reflect on my PhD research examining the fraught nature of decolonisation in West Papua. From 1961 to 1969, West Papuan activists established nationalism within the territory of West Papua and launched an international campaign for independence at the United Nations. I focus on how the West Papuan activists attempted to utilize growing discourse on race and rights as a strategy to advocate for independence while navigating the rise of Afro-Asian politics and the changing nature of anti-colonialism during the Cold War. By drawing on West Papuan petitions and oral history interviews, I position this history in relation to diverse Papuan perspectives (perspectives that are often lacking in extant histories of the 1960s). More broadly, I argue for Pacific islands to be included in international histories of decolonization, as they challenge our understandings of colonialism and conventional chronologies of decolonisation.
Emma Kluge is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Sydney. She is currently working as a Senior Research Fellow with Anglican Deaconess Ministries and in September will be starting a postdoc as a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Emma is a historian of decolonisation, international organisations, and the Pacific. She recently completed her PhD thesis ‘Decolonisation Interrupted: the West Papuan campaign for independence and the United Nations, 1961-69’, and last year published an article with the International History Review ‘West Papua and the International History of Decolonisation, 1961-69’.
The Department of History hosts a lively departmental research seminar series. Everyone is welcome to attend.
12:10-1:30pm Wednesday 24 March 2021
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The Department of History is part of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
Image: ‘West Papuan demonstration in the Hague’, 8 November 1969, Anefo collection, National Archives of the Netherlands (Nationaal Archief)