Jaap Kunst (1891-1960) is regarded as one of the founders of ethnomusicology. Between 1919 and 1934 Kunst made in-depth study of a wide range of music practices in the then Dutch East Indies. His legacy – sound and visual recordings, photographs, fieldwork notes, manuscripts for publications, teaching material – is currently being kept at the University of Amsterdam, where he worked as a lecturer (privaatdocent) between 1942 and 1960.

By disclosing and critically investigating this material – in close collaboration with colleagues from Indonesia (Universitas Gadjah Mada and Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta) – I intend to contribute to debates about the Dutch colonial past and the role of (music) scholarship in the sustenance and legitimation of colonial rule.