Rosemarijn Hoefte (History, Amsterdam/Leiden)

Between Controversy and Convention: The Challenges of Writing a Biography of the First Female Politician in the Dutch Colony of Suriname

Ort: Bibliothek des Internationalen Kollegs Morphomata, Weyertal 59 (Rückgebäude, 3. Etage), 50937 Köln

Zeit: 18.00 Uhr

Kontakt: Karena Weduwen

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Grace Schneiders-Howard (1869-1968) was the first female politician in Suriname. But what more do we know about Schneiders-Howard? While doing research on indentured labor in Suriname, I came across Schneiders-Howard when in the early 20thcentury she had started a trade union for British Indian immigrant laborers. In the Dutch colonial archives she was depicted as deranged. Later when doing research in the archives of the Rockefeller Foundation on their hookworm campaign in Suriname, I found that their ‘angel’ in Suriname was the same Grace Schneiders-Howard. This piqued my interest: devil and angel.         

When doing more research in Suriname, the Netherlands and the USA I found more and more contradictions in the life and actions of Grace Schneiders-Howard. So who was she? In this lecture I will discuss the challenges of writing a biography of this elusive woman.

Respondent: Robert Folger (Heidelberg)