This essay explores the renewed attention for Anton de Kom and the ways this engagement revisits older questions about his life and work and opens new avenues for inquiry. This renewed interest has led to new forms of appropriation: the use of his likeness and his name by institutions to communicate a connection between the meanings attached to De Kom and the institution. These societal uses of De Kom in turn shape the meanings ascribed to him, resulting in an increasingly stylized and abstract understandings of his life and work. This piece hopes to serve as a corrective and an aid to further reflection.
Appropriating Anton de Kom Today: Canonization, Translation, Celebration
Karwan Fatah-Black is a lecturer at Leiden University. His field is Dutch colonial history, and he has been engaged in public debates on the contemporary legacies of Dutch colonialism. He is a member of the young academy of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Science and sits on the board of trustees of the Rijksmuseum.
Karwan Fatah-Black; Appropriating Anton de Kom Today: Canonization, Translation, Celebration. Small Axe 1 March 2023; 27 (1 (70)): 78–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-10461857
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