The 2024 research agenda aims to provide direction for future research into the slavery past and its afterlives. It spans a large range of topics and aims to provide input for a ten year period. The agenda is an extension of and builds on the 2023 publication Staat en slavernij: het Nederlandse koloniale slavernijverleden en zijn doorwerkingen.
The agenda provides direction for the development of knowledge about the history of slavery and its afterlives. Its conclusions are important for the Dutch government, the scientific field and the heritage and educational sector. The agenda is inspired by the broad inventory of insights and questions raised in State and Slavery and a further exploration of relevant (inter)national scientific literature, inventories of the societal and scientific field, interviews with key persons of younger generations and several symposia, specifically organised for this purpose.
Urwin Vyent, Esther Captain, Rose Mary Allen and Matthias van Rossum. Foto by Tessa Posthuma de Boer.
The agenda explores understudied themes which, based on debates in science and Dutch society, demand more attention in the near future. The knowledge agenda offers research avenues for the period 2024-2034. Nevertheless, it is a time-bound document that is a reflection of the state of affairs in contemporary academic and social circles, both in the Netherlands, the Caribbean-Dutch islands and internationally. Such topics are bound to debate and change. The agenda is therefore not intended as a static document.
The agenda is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on possible research into the history of slavery. In accordance with State and Slavery the connections, differences and similarities between different parts of the empire and different time periods form the core of the text. Important recurring themes are the perspectives of the enslaved people, the emphasis on the systems of colonial slavery and the role of various actors, such as the VOC, state organizations and the church within these systems. In the second part of the publication the focus shifts to reflections of the slavery past in the present. The agenda calls for more research into the afterlives of slavery in the wider Kingdom of the Netherlands and the effects that this past has had on the descendants of both enslaved people and enslavers.