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Frances Gouda

Pro­fes­sor of his­tory and gen­der studies

Sober think­ing in tur­bu­lent times

Frances Gouda is the expert on gen­der issues in post­colo­nial soci­eties. She has been appointed numer­ous awards for her out­stand­ing schol­ar­ship. And she is a woman with a clear view on cur­rent polit­i­cal dis­cus­sions. As sim­plis­tic think­ing seems to spread over Europe like an intel­lec­tual tsunami she doesn´t dis­so­ci­ate her­self like many other mem­bers of the intel­lec­tual elite. She col­lects facts and fig­ures, puts them in per­spec­tive and ana­lyzes them. Then she calmly sets to explain her find­ings. In the dis­cus­sion on whether woman should or should not be allowed to wear veils she sup­plies a much needed perspective.

Frances Gouda is a highly respected inter­na­tional expert on how the posi­tion f women is ren­dered by their vision of soci­ety and their sense of place in it. As she defines the place of women in post colo­nial his­tory she also gives per­spec­tive and place to us. She defines the way we per­ceive our own cul­ture, — right here and now. What is our posi­tion and what are our val­ues? What exactly do we mean when we want some­one to adapt to a cul­ture he or she isn’t born into?

Frances Gouda (1950) stud­ied his­tory at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton in Seat­tle WA. She returned to the Nether­lands in 1999 and is now a pro­fes­sor of his­tory and gen­der stud­ies at the Uni­ver­siteit van Ams­ter­dam. She served as post-doc at Har­vard University’s Cen­ter for Euro­pean Stud­ies in 1983–84 and as a fel­low of the Woodrow Wil­son Cen­ter for Inter­na­tional Schol­ars in 1990–1991; she has received numer­ous grants and fel­low­ships. Her schol­arly work has ana­lyzed the Dutch colo­nial his­tory of Indone­sia, yield­ing the book Dutch Cul­ture Over­seas: Colo­nial Prac­tice in the Netherlands-Indies, 1900–1942. In 2002, she pub­lished a mono­graph on the Amer­i­can role in Indone­sian decol­o­niza­tion. Gouda is also inter­ested in the issues of gen­der and eth­nic dif­fer­ence in the his­tory of Euro­pean colo­nial­ism in Asia and Africa, and she has co-edited a col­lec­tion of essays with Julia Clancy-Smith on Domes­ti­cat­ing the Empire: Race, Gen­der, and Fam­ily Life in French and Dutch Colo­nial­ism (1998).