SSHRC Spotlight: Dr. Louise Grogan
SSHRC supports postsecondary-based research, research training and knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities. This SSHRC Spotlight series features U of G researchers in the College of Business and Economics who have received SSHRC funding this year.
What does your research focus on?
The project will explain why some indigenous cultures appear to have done better out of the Dutch colonialization of Indonesia than others.
What problem or challenge are you addressing with research?
One problem is to find detailed information about the nature of pre-colonial cultures. Luckily, Arabic script was in use on the Indonesian archipelago before colonization. This means that the written record of islands such as Sumatra is relatively complete. As well, the Dutch kept quite complete records of the commodities and forced labour economy they ran. These are now available to researchers, sometimes simply by downloading scanned pdf versions of hundred year old documents.
What is your research approach?
For this project, I have read widely in the historical and anthropological literature. I have also found old censuses and household surveys which will help me address the research question..
What impact do you hope this research will have?
I hope this research will contribute to the economics literature on the origins of domestic institutions and the legacy of colonialism in contemporary societies.
New work is exciting but I look forward to getting back to older, yet-unpublished work. With fresh eyes, and the help of some great Research Assistants and co-authors, we can elevate some of this existing research.