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Adieyatna Fajri MA

PhD candidate


Cohort/Start PhD: 2021-2022

From Violence to Resilience: The Sites, Objects and Memories of Daendels’ Demolition of the Surosowan Royal Palace of Banten

University of Groningen/NIOD
Supervisor(s): Prof.dr Martijn Eickhoff, Prof. Daan Raemaekers

On November 16th 1808, the execution report of the commander De Puy had reached Batavia. Sent by governor general Daendels to take ultimatum to the Sultan of Banten regarding the failure of the establishment of Merak bay as military base, Commander William De Puy has only found himself to be murdered in the kraton. The murder of De Puy had extremely despised the governor general and led to the Dutch’s government aggressive reaction: total demolition of the royal palace of Banten. The demolition of the royal palace followed by the removal of the centre of the administration further south to Serang was a crucial act aimed at making the capital of the once flourishing and politically powerful Islamic kingdom in Java meaningless.
The starting point of this research is the realization that the destruction of fundamental cultural properties, such as the Surosowan Royal Palace of Banten, can be analysed and understood as an act of cultural genocide. The present research attempts to discuss the following questions: In what way can we connect the narratives of the demolition of a royal palace to acts of cultural genocide? How is the destruction of culture linked to the destruction of indigenous political authority? In other words, why would the use of analytical lens of genocide be valuable? To answer such questions, the research invokes three fundamental problems: 1. the conceptual problem of cultural genocide; 2. the historiography of the Dutch colonial violence; and 3. the legacy of the Dutch colonial violence.