Anton de Kom, historiographe. La construction d’un passé national pour les esclaves du Surinam

Amnis. 2014;13 DOI 10.4000/amnis.2198


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Amnis

ISSN: 1764-7193 (Online)

Publisher: TELEMME - UMR 6570

Society/Institution: Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Sociales Victor Segalen

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Anthropology | Auxiliary sciences of history: History of Civilization

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: English, French

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Kim Andringa


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 8 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Anton de Kom (1898-1945) was a slave descendant and the author of a History of Surinam, through which he intended to trigger the decolonization of minds, thus giving to the creole population of Surinam what B. Ashcroft has called “a sense of self”. Following on from J. Derrida’s Archive Fever, this article considers the archive as a whole of “utterances belonging to the same sociohistorical positioning” (D. Mainguereau), “inseparable from a memory and from institutions that confer to them their authority, and at the same time gain their legitimacy through them”. It looks into the methods used by Anton de Kom to reclaim the colonial archive, how he distorts its discourse through a subversive use of citations, and brings about what Geert Oostindie has called an “ideological overthrow” of colonial literature. Two historical sources in particular serve this aim: Geschiedenis van Suriname (1861) by Julien Wolbers, an abolitionist minister, and the famous Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796) by John Gabriel Stedman, Scottish adventurer. Our analysis of the main rewriting approaches (identicalness, omission, addition, paraphrase) brings out how De Kom discredits the colonial authorities and rehabilitates the coloured populations, by willingly creating a postcolonial archive and identity.