Title: Census, Map, Museum
Author: Benedict Anderson
Excerpt from: Imagined Communities. Verso: London, 1991

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Census, Map, Museum

Benedict Anderson



1. Charles Hirschman, "The Meaning and Measurement of Ethnicity in Malaysia: An Analysis of Census Classifications,"J. of Asian Studies, 46:3 (August 1987), pp. 552-82; and "The Making of Race in Colonial Malaya: Political Economy and Racial ideology" Sociological Forum, 1:2 (Spring 1986), pp. 330-62.

2 . An astonishing variety of "Europeans" were enumerated right through the colonial era. But whereas in 1881 they were still grouped primarily under the headings "resident," "floating," and "prisoners," by 1911 they were fraternizing as members of a (white) race'. It is agreeable that up to the end, the census-makers were visibly uneasy about where to place those they marked as "Jews."

3. William Henry Scott, Cracks in the Parchment Curtain, chapter 7, "Filipino Class Structure in the Sixteenth Century."

4 . in first half of the seventeenth century, Spanish settlements in the archipelago came under repeated attack from the forces of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the greatest "transnational" corporation of the era. For their survival, the pious Catholic settlers owed a great debt to the arch-heretical Protector, who kept Amsterdam's back to the wall for much of his rule. Had the VOC been successful, Manila, rather than Batavia (Jakarta), might have become the centre of the "Dutch" imperium in Southeast Asia. In 1762, London seized Manila from Spain, and held it for almost two years. It is entertaining to note that Madrid only got it back in exchange for, of all places, Florida, and the other "Spanish" possessions east of the Mississippi. Had the negotiations proceeded differently, the archipelago could have been politically linked with Malaya and Singapore during the nineteenth century.

5 . Mason C. Hoadley, "State vs. Ki Aria Marta Ningrat (1696) and Tian Siangko (1720-21)" (unpublished ms., 1982).

6. See, e.g., Edgar Wickberg, The Chinese in Philippine Life, 1850-1898, chapters I and 2.

7. The galleon trade – for which Manila was, for over two centuries, the entrepot – exchanged Chinese silks and porcelain for Mexican silver.

8 . See chapter 7, above (p. 125) for mention of French colonialism's struggle to sever Buddhism in Cambodia from its old links with Siam.

9. See William Roff, The Origins of Malay Nationalism, pp. 72-4.

10. See Harry J. Benda, The Crescent and the Rising Sun, chapters 1-2.

11. Thongchai Winichakul, "Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of Siam" (Ph,D. Thesis, University of Sydney, 1988).

12. Richard Muir, Modern Political Geography, p. 119.

13. Thongchai, "Siam Mapped," pp. 105-10, 286.

14. For a full discussion of old conceptions of power in Java (which, with minor differences, corresponded to that existing in Old Siam), see my Language and Power, chapter 1.

15. Thongchai, "Siam Mapped," p. 110.

16. David S. Landes, Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World, chapter 9.

17. "Siam Mapped," p. 310.

18. I do not mean merely the inheritance and sale of private property in land in the usual sense. More important was the European practice of political transfers of lands, with their populations, via dynastic marriages. Princesses, on marriage, brought their husbands duchies and petty principalities, and these transfers were formally negotiated and "signed." The tag Bella gerant alii, tu, felix Austria, nube! would have been inconceivable for any state in precolonial Asia.

19. See Thongchai, "Siam Mapped,"p. 387, on Thai ruling class absorption of this style of imagining. "According to these historical maps, moreover, the geobody is not a modern particularity but is pushed back more than a thousand years. Historical maps thus help reject any suggestion that nationhood emerged only in the recent past, and the perspective that the present Siam was a result of ruptures is precluded. So is any idea that intercourse between Siam and the European powers was the parent of Siam."

20. This adoption was by no means a Machiavellian ruse. The early nationalists in all the Southeast Asian colonies had their consciousnesses profoundly shaped by the "format" of the colonial state and its institutions.

21. in the writings of Nick Joaquin, the contemporary Philippines, preeminent man of letters – and an indubitable patriot – one can see how powerfully the emblem works on the most sophisticated intelligence. Of General Antonio Luna, tragic hero of the anti-American struggle of 1898-99, Joaquin writes that he hurried to "perform the role that had been instinctive in the Creole for three centuries: the defense of the form of the Philippines from a foreign disrupter." A Question of Heroes, p. 164 (italics added). Elsewhere he observes, astonishingly, that Spain's "Filipino allies, converts, mercenaries sent against the Filipino rebel may have kept the archipelago Spanish and Christian, but they also kept it from falling apart;" and that they "were fighting (whatever the Spaniards may have intended) to keep the Filipino one." Ibid., p. 58.

22. See Robin Osborne, Indonesia's Secret War, The Guerrilla Struggle in Irian Jaya, pp.

23. Since 1963 there have been many bloody episodes in West New Guinea (now called Irian Jaya – Great Irian), partly as a result of the militarization of the Indonesian state since 1965, partly because of the intermittently effective guerrilla activities of the so-called OPM (Organization for a Free Papua). But these brutalities pale by comparison with Jakarta's savagery in ex-Portuguese East Timor, where in the first three years after the 1976 invasion an estimated one-third of the population of 600,000 died from war, famine, disease and "resettlement". I do not think it a mistake to suggest that the difference derives in part from East Timor's absence from the logos of the Netherlands East Indies and, until 1976, of Indonesia's.

24. Osborne, Indonesia's Secret War, p. 2.

25. See above, p. 110.

26. The best sign for this is that the anti-Indonesian nationalist guerrilla organization's name, Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM), is composed of Indonesian words.

27. In 1811, the East India Company's forces seized all the Dutch possessions in the Indies (Napol"on had absorbed the Netherlands into France the previous year). Raffles ruled in Java till 1815. His monumental History of Java appeared in 1817, two years prior
to his founding of Singapore.

28. The museumizing of the Borobudur, the largest Buddhist stupa in the world, exemplifies this process. In 1814, the Raffles regime "discovered" it, and had it unjungled. In 1845, the self-promoting German artist-adventurer Schaefer persuaded the Dutch authorities in Batavia to pay him to make the first daguerrotypes. In 1851, Batavia sent a team of state employees, led by civil engineer F.C. Wilsen, to make a systematic survey of the bas-reliefs and to produce a complete, "scientific" set of lithographs. In 1874, Dr. C. Leemans, Director of the museum of Antiquities in Leiden, published, at the behest of the Minister of Colonies, the first major scholarly monograph; he relied heavily on Wilsen's lithographs, never having visited the site himself. In the 1880s, the professional photographer Cephas produced a thorough modern-style photographic survey. In 1901, the colonial regime established an Oudheidkundige Commissie (Commission on Antiquities). Between 1907 and 1911, the Commission oversaw the complete restoration of the stupa, carried out at state expense by a team under the civil engineer Van Erp. Doubtless in recognition of this success, the Commission was promoted, in 1913, to an Oudheidkundigen Dienst (Antiquities Service), which kept,the monument spick and span until the end of the colonial period. See C. Leemans, Boro-Boudour, pp. ii-lv; and NJ. Krom, Inleiding tot de Hindoe-Javaansche Kunst, I, chapter 1.

29. ViceroyCurzon (1899-1905), an antiquities buff who, writes Groslier, "energized" the Archaeological Survey of India, put things very nicely: "It is ... equally our duty to dig and discover, to classify, reproduce and describe, to copy and decipher, and to cherish and conserve." (Foucault could not have said it better). In 1899, the Archaeological Department of Burma – then part of British India – was founded, and soon began the restoration of Pagan. The previous year, the École Francaise d'Extreme-Orient was established in Saigon, followed almost at once by a Directorate of Museums and Historical Monuments of Indochina. Immediately after the French seizure of Siemreap and Battambang from Siam in 1907, an Angkor Conservancy was established to Curzonize Southeast Asia's most awe-inspiring ancient monuments. See Bernard Philippe Groslier, Indochina, pp. 155-7, 174-7. As noted above, the Dutch colonial Antiquities Commission was founded in 1901. The coincidence in dates – 1899, 1898, 1901 – shows not only the keenness with which the rival colonial powers observed one another, but sea-changes in imperialism under way by the turn of the century. As was to be expected, independent Siam ambled along more slowly. its Archaeological Service was only set up in 1924, its National Museum in 1926. See Charles Higham, The Archaeology of Mainland Southeast Asia, p. 25.

30. The VOC was liquidated, in bankruptcy, in 1799. The colony of the Netherlands Indies, however, dates from 1815, when the independence of The Netherlands was restored by the Holy Alliance, and Willem I of Orange put on a Dutch throne first invented in 1806 by Napol"on and his kindly brother Louis. The British East India Company survived till the great Indian Mutiny of 1857.

31. The Oudheidkundige Commissie was established by the same government that (in 1901) inaugurated the new "Ethical Policy" for the Indies, a policy that for the first time aimed to establish a Western-style system of education for substantial numbers of the colonized. Governor-General Paul Doumer (1897-1902) created both the Directorate of Museums and Historical Monuments of Indochina and the colony's modern educational apparatus. in Burma, the huge expansion of higher education – which between 1900 and 1940 increased the number of secondary-school students eightfold, from 27,401 to 233,543, and of college students twentyfold, from 115 to 2,365 – began just as the Archaeological Department of Burma swung into action. See Robert H. Taylor, The State in Burma, p. 114.

32. Influenced in part by this kind of thinking, conservative Thai intellectuals, archaeologists, and officials persist to this day in attributing Angkor to the mysterious Khom, who vanished without a trace, and certainly have no connection with today's despised Cambodians.

33. A fine late-blooming example is Ancient Indonesian Art, by the Dutch scholar, AJ. Bernet Kempers, self-described as "former Director of Archaeology in Indonesia (sic)." On pages 24-5 one finds maps showing the location of the ancient sites. The first is especially instructive, since its rectangular shape (framed on the east by the 141st Meridian) willy-nilly includes Philippine Mindanao as well as BritishMalaysian north Borneo, peninsular Malaya, and Singapore. All are blank of sites, indeed of any naming whatsoever, except for a single, inexplicable "Kedah." The switch from Hindu-Buddhism to Islam occurs after Plate 340.

34. See Kambuja, 45 (15 December 1968), for some curious photographs.

35. The discussion here draws on material analysed more fully in Language and Power, chapter 5.

36. An exemplary policy-outcome of Glass House imaginings – an outcome of which ex-political prisoner Pramoedya is painfully aware – is the classificatory ID card that all adult Indonesians must now carry at all times. This ID is isomorphic with the census – it represents a sort of political census, with special punchings for those in the sub-series "subversives" and "traitors." It is notable that this style of census was only perfected after the achievement of national independence.