Christoph Antons (Newcastle, Australien): Peranakan Chinese in Indonesia: The Construction of a Community in Colonial Law and its Legacy


When it comes to representations of communities in post-colonial societies, it is very important to distinguish between self-defined notions of ethnic identity and ethnic categorisations imposed by others. Colonial administrators in particular tended to classify populations in accordance with the economic and political goals of the colonising power. Different communities were split or lumped together under legal and administrative categories, which would define their access to law, economic opportunities and political office. The presentation will show these processes using the example of the highly acculturated minority population of the Peranakan Chinese in Indonesia, a population which traces its arrival in Southeast Asia back to the period of the Tang dynasty in China. Classified as “foreign Orientals” by the Dutch colonial government for the administration of law, the Peranakan Chinese were made permanently foreign. Because their legal status was defined in numerous laws, which survived the declaration of independence in 1945, the new nation state of Indonesia for a long time has shown an ambivalent attitude towards their inclusion in an emerging Indonesian national identity. Recent reform processes have abolished many discriminating laws, while at the same time anti-discrimination legislation has been put in place to eradicate discriminating attitudes towards Indonesian citizens of Chinese descent more broadly. The paper will show how competing visions of ethnic versus civic nationalism in Indonesia are visible in discussions about the integration of ethnic Chinese and their equality before the law. It will further show the ethnic Chinese as a very diverse community and discuss their reactions towards policies and classifications imposed upon them as well as their own understandings of their identity and position in Indonesian society.

(Prof. Dr. Christoph Antons)

Zoom Link:
Meeting-ID: 915 8644 1281
Password: 325745

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Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Christoph Antons studierte Jura, Südostasienwissenschaft, Kunstgeschichte und Anthropologie an den Universitäten München, Bonn, Mainz und Passau. 1995 erlangte er seinen Doktorgrad an der Universität Amsterdam mit einer Arbeit zum Thema “Intellectual Property Law in Indonesia”. Seit 2016 ist er Professor an der Law School der University of Newcastle, Australien. Zuvor war er Professor an der Deakin University in Melbourne und an der University of Wollongong, Associate Professor an der Charles Darwin University in Darwin und Senior Lecturer/Lecturer an der La Trobe University in Melbourne und an der Griffith University in Brisbane. Darüber hinaus war Prof. Antons Visiting Professor, Visiting Research Fellow und Senior Fellow unter anderem an der Stanford Law School, dem International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden, Niederlande, der Graduate School of International Development in Nagoya, Japan, dem Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Private Law in Hamburg, der Singapore Management University sowie der University of Melbourne.

Gegenwärtig ist Prof. Dr. Christoph Antons Visiting Professor an der University of Technology MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia, Affiliated Research Fellow am Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in München, Senior Fellow am Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (ZEF) der Universität Bonn und Senior Associate am Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society (CILIS) der University of Melbourne. 

Prof. Antons ist Autor und Herausgeber zahlreicher Veröffentlichungen zum geistigen Eigentum und zu Law and Society in Asien. Er veröffentlicht außerdem zu Themen der Rechtsvergleichung, der Menschenrechte und dem Umweltrecht, sowie zur Rechtsgeschichte im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum. Prof. Antons war Berater des EC-ASEAN Intellectual Property Cooperation Programme (ECAP) in Indonesien, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand und Laos, QEII Fellow des Australian Research Council (ARC), Direktor des ARC Key Centre for Asia-Pacific Social Transformation Studies und des Centre for Comparative Law and Development Studies in Asia and the Pacific an der University of Wollongong sowie Leiter des „IP in Asia“-Projekts am ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Australien.

Seit Oktober 2020 ist Prof. Dr. Christoph Antons Fellow am Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“ in Bonn.