Celluloid Colony: Locating History and Ethnography in Early Dutch Colonial Films of Indonesia (Paperback)

Celluloid Colony: Locating History and Ethnography in Early Dutch Colonial Films of Indonesia  By Sandeep Ray Cover Image
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How should colonial film archives be read? How can historians and ethnographers use colonial film as a complement to conventional written sources? Sandeep Ray uses the case of Dutch colonial film in Indonesia to show how a critically, historically, and cinematically informed reading of colonial film in the archive can be a powerful and unexpected source—one that  is more accessible than ever today because of digitization. The language of film and the conventions and forms of nonfiction film were still in formation in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Colonialism, Ray shows, was one of the drivers of this development, as the picturing of the native “other” in film was seen as an important tool to build support for missionary and colonial efforts. While social histories of photography in non-European contexts have been an area of great interest in recent years; Celluloid Colony for the first time brings moving images into the same scope of study.

About the Author

Sandeep Ray is a filmmaker and a historian of Southeast Asia and is senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Praise For…

“[The book] is very organized, well researched, and has a strong thesis…. It should have a strong audience for those interested in Asian studies, colonial studies, early cinema, and may serve also serve as an essential book for researchers and scholars on how to incorporate visual texts (films) into the larger body of historical work, as well as what to look for, and how to write about, regarding these important celluloid films.”
— Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television

“Well-written and extensively researched, Celluloid Colony offers a compelling case for non-fiction film as a bona fide historical source. . . A must-read for anyone with an interest in Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, visual ethnography, or propaganda film history.”
— The Review

“It is always rewarding when a book on a Southeast Asian topic offers material that can shake up established disciplines and knowledge. Sandeep Ray’s book Celluloid Colony does just that. . .  Raising new possibilities for scholarship and gaining new insights into colonial modernity, this is a pathbreaking book that will illuminate and refine prevalent views on the Dutch colonial project.”
— Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

“The book’s merit is that it gives meaning to the vast collection of early colonial films, which could easily be regarded as merely representing the colonial mentality of the day.”
— Sojourn

Product Details
ISBN: 9789813251380
ISBN-10: 9813251387
Publisher: National University of Singapore Press
Publication Date: May 20th, 2021
Pages: 288