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Reading: Imagining the Nation in the Classroom: Belonging and Nationness in the Dutch Caribbean


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Imagining the Nation in the Classroom: Belonging and Nationness in the Dutch Caribbean


Yvon van der Pijl ,

Utrecht University, NL
About Yvon
Yvon van der Pijl <> is assistant professor at the department of Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University. Her research projects and publications reflect among others her interests in African-Caribbean culture and religion, Suriname, the anthropology of death and dying, biopolitics, ageing and care over distance, mobility and human trafficking. Currently she started the research project ‘Imagining the Nation in the Classroom’ that focuses on the Dutch Caribbean. She is member of the editorial board of Oso: Tijdschrift voor Surinamistiek en het Caraïbisch gebied and member of the board of Stichting Instituut ter Bevordering van de Surinamistiek (IBS).
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Francio Guadeloupe

University of St. Martin and University of Amsterdam, NL
About Francio
Francio Guadeloupe <> is assistant professor at the Department of Cultural Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, and Dean of Academics/Interim President of the University of St. Martin. His main research interests concern the manner in which hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses on national identity, multicultural recognition, migration, popular culture and religion in post-imperial polities (un)wittingly bear traces of our long colonial moment. He published his ethnography Chanting Down the New Jerusalem: Calypso, Christianity, and Capitalism in the Caribbean (2009) in the Anthropology of Christianity series of the University of California Press. He is currently working on a book of essays entitled ‘Race, Racism, and Confusion: essays on the Netherlands.’
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This Exploration focuses on ideologies of belonging and feelings of nationness on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Sint Maarten and Sint Eustatius. The new constitutional framework that came into effect within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 10 October 2010 conferred a new political status to these islands, thereby affecting the complexity of political subjectivity, nationness and belonging within the context of Caribbean nonsovereignty. The article presents primary schools as important ethnographic sites to study the (re)construction of ideologies of belonging and senses of nationness. Here susceptible minds can be moulded into internalizing ideologies, through which children might be socialized into dividing their fellow citizens or citizens-to-be into those who belong and those who do not. Preliminary to extensive ethnographic field research, the authors assume transmigrancy and diasporic religion respectively as central features that might challenge current fictions of modern secular sovereignty.

Resumen: Imaginando la nación en la clase: Pertenencia y nacionidad en el Caribe Neerlandés

Esta Exploración se enfoca en las ideologías de pertenencia y en los sentimientos de nacionidad (nationness) en las islas caribeñas holandesas de Sint Maarten y Sint Eustatius. El nuevo marco constitucional que entró en vigor en el Reino de los Países Bajos el 10 de octubre de 2010 confirió un nuevo estatus político a estas islas, con lo cual afectó a la complejidad de la subjetividad política, de la nacionidad y de la pertenencia en el contexto de la no soberanía caribeña. Este artículo presenta las escuelas de primaria como lugares etnográficos relevantes para estudiar la (re)construcción de las ideologías de pertenencia y los sentimientos de nacionidad. En las aulas se pueden moldear las mentes susceptibles para que interioricen ideologías, a través de las cuales se podría socializar a los niños para que dividan a sus conciudadanos o a los ciudadanos en ciernes en los que pertenecen y los que no pertenecen. Previamente a la investigación de campo etnográfica extensiva, los autores asumen que la transmigración y la religión diaspórica son aspectos fundamentales que podrían desafiar las ficciones actuales de la soberanía secular moderna.
How to Cite: van der Pijl, Y., & Guadeloupe, F. (2015). Imagining the Nation in the Classroom: Belonging and Nationness in the Dutch Caribbean. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (98), 87–98. DOI:
Published on 07 Apr 2015.
Peer Reviewed


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