The Banten Rebellion of 1750 has been described in two recent standard accounts in totally different ways. M. C. Ricklefs emphasizes the political conflicts between the ruler and the elite in court circles as a principal cause of the uprising, 1 while J. Kathirithamby-Wells views this event as a consequence of the economic exploitation of an oppressed people. 2 Why has this same event been depicted so differently? I believe that their viewpoints represent two different historiographical traditions of studying rebellions in Southeast Asia. In general, rebellions in Southeast Asia in pre-colonial times are interpreted as uprisings by political elites who attempt to snatch the throne. I would like to call this the 'traditional approach.' Rebellions occuring in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are commonly seen as resistance movements by an oppressed peasantry opposing the absolute power of colonial governments. I would call this the 'national-history approach.' Ricklefs' standpoint is close to 'traditional approach,' while Kathirithamby-Wells uses the 'national-history approach'.
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