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Promotie Martina Amoksi: De stad kwam naar het binnenland

Historische analyse van de invloed van de multinational SBM/Suralco op Marrongemeenschappen in Suriname

Op dinsdag 12 september 2023 is Martina Amoksi gepromoveerd aan de Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam. De titel van haar proefschrift luidde: De stad kwam naar het binnenland: Historische analyse van de invloed van de multinational SBM/Suralco op Marrongemeenschappen in Suriname.

De promovenda tijdens de verdediging, geflankeerd door paranimfen en links de pedel. Foto E. Pinas.



Summary The research described in this thesis can be seen in the light of the presence of multinational companies in developing countries and the influence this can have on tribal groups. This dissertation focuses on the social, economic and cultural processes that influenced the daily life of the Maroon community, the Ndyuka in the Cottica area between 1922 and 1992 after the establishment of the Surinaamsche Bauxiet Maatschappij in Moengo in 1916, which was renamed Suralco in 1958, a subsidiary of the multinational Alcoa. I use the designation SBM/Suralco in my research because of the renaming of the company. The key question was to find out what changes bauxite mining has brought in that area and how this group of women in particular responded to the changes. The dissertation is structured as follows. Chapter 1 examines the establishment of the Surinamese Bauxite Company (later changed to SBM/Suralco), a subsidiary of the American Alcoa in Moengo, and explains the research question, the hypothesis, relevance, and demarcation of the research. Central to this research is the question: what changes has the establishment of the multinational SBM/Suralco in the Cottica area brought in the life of the Ndyuka in general and Ndyuka women in particular? Chapter 1 discussed the methodology used in this study, in particular the use of oral history, different types of written sources, media and visual sources. The maroon perspective is also examined. It then explains the main theoretical concepts relevant to this research, namely marronage, ethnicity, nation building and gender and intersectionality. Chapter 2 discusses the state of literature. The development of Surinamese historiography on the Maroons is outlined with special attention to the place that the Maroon women were given in it. As this study is at the intersection of history, anthropology, and development studies, it has explored theories that have been used to analyze socio-economic processes in Suriname and, more broadly in the Caribbean. The third chapter examines the life of the Ndyuka in the Cottica area before the arrival of the SBM/Suralco. The fourth chapter describes the political and economic development of Suriname and the role that the Maroons played in it from 1760 to 1992. For the purpose of this research, this period is subdivided into a long nineteenth century (1760-1916) followed by a more detailed division of the period 1916-1992, related to the political development of Suriname, and followed by a short discussion of the events after 1992. This is followed by a brief history of the rise and fall of the SBM/Suralco subsidiary of the multinational Alcoa. The fifth chapter examines the company city phenomenon that multinationals such as SBM/Suralco are founding. This chapter shows that with the foundation of the town of Moengo in the area inhabited by Ndyuka, ‘the town came inland’. Moengo developed into a thriving town with a high standard of living. After this focus on the compony town of Moengo, chapter six examines in a broader sense the encounter between the Ndyuka and the SBM/Suralco, based on the central concept of ‘contact zone’. In the meeting between the Americans (and broader, Europeans including the Dutch) and the Maroons on the Cottica, we distinguish two contact zones: the boats of the SBM/Suralco and the company town of Moengo. Chapter seven examines the changes in the Ndyuka community after the encounter with the SBM/Suralco. This is based on a gender approach. The establishment of the SBM/Suralco in the Cottica area resulted in major changes. These had an impact on the entire Ndyuka society in the area. The Ndyuka left their relative isolation and eventually integrated more broadly into Surinamese society.

De promotores prof. S Legêne en prof. R. Hoefte, en de promotiecommissie, tweede van rechts Thomas Polimé. Foto E. Pinas.

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