The University of Wisconsin Press

Asian Studies / History


The Social World of Batavia
Europeans and Eurasians in Colonial Indonesia
Second Edition
Jean Gelman Taylor

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies

“The best analysis in English or Dutch of the colonizers’ interaction with Asian and Eurasian women and the distinctive Indo-Dutch, Mestizo culture that resulted.” —Michael Adas, Journal of Asian and African Studies

In the seventeenth century, the Dutch established a trading base at the Indonesian site of Jacarta. What began as a minor colonial outpost under the name Batavia would become, over the next three centuries, the flourishing economic and political nucleus of the Dutch Asian Empire. In this pioneering study, Jean Gelman Taylor offers a comprehensive analysis of Batavia’s extraordinary social world—its marriage patterns, religious and social organizations, economic interests, and sexual roles. With an emphasis on the urban ruling elite, she argues that Europeans and Asians alike were profoundly altered by their merging, resulting in a distinctive hybrid, Indo-Dutch culture.

Original in its focus on gender and use of varied sources—travelers’ accounts, newspapers, legal codes, genealogical data, photograph albums, paintings, and ceramics—The Social World of Batavia, first published in 1983, forged new paths in the study of colonial society. In this second edition, Gelman offers a new preface as well as an additional chapter tracing the development of these themes by a new generation
of scholars.


“Shows how this society, far from being static, underwent an evolution; how it opened or closed itself to external influences, transformed immigrants or was changed by them, and loosened or tightened its links with the European homeland through time.”—Michèle Boin in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde


Jean Gelman Taylor is professor of history at the University of New South Wales and author of Indonesia: Peoples and Histories.

New Perspectives in Southeast Asian Studies
Alfred W. McCoy, R. Anderson Sutton, Thongchai Winichakul, and Kenneth M. George, Series Editors


• 1988 Dutch translation, Wolters-Noordhoff

• 1983 hardcover, UW Press


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Back in print, Related interest

Hmong in America
Journey from a Secret War

Tim Pfaff


Hmong in America tells the dramatic story of one of America’s newest groups of immigrants through the voices of the people who lived this contemporary history. Distributed for the Chippewa Valley Museum


Published January 2005

LC: 95-067766   100 pp.   10 x 8   31 color, 67 b/w photos, 6 illus.

ISBN 978-0-9636191-3-6   Paper

The cover of the second editon of Taylor's The Social World of Batavia is a brown and orange tapesty with an inset painting of a Dutch-Asian woman with a fan.

April 2009

LC : 2008043756 HN
312 pp.   6 x 9  
14 b/w illus.


Paper $29.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-23214-6 
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“Once again Jean Taylor demonstrates her originality and insight in a revision which will ensure that Social World of Batavia remains a seminal scholarly work.”

—Nigel Worden, University of Cape Town, author of Slavery in Dutch South Africa


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Updated March 8, 2010

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