Roger Knight

Position / Job title: Associate Professor

Department: School of History and Politics

Institution: University of Adelaide

E-mail address:

Main research interests are the social, economic and cultural dimensions of the Javanese sugar industry



  • Narratives of Colonialism. Sugar, Java and the Dutch, New York: Nova, 2000.
  • Commodities and Colonialism. The Story of Big Sugar in Colonial Indonesia, 1880-1942, Leiden & Boston, Brill, 2013.

Journal Articles:

  • ‘John Palmer and Plantation Development in Western Java during the Early Nineteenth Century', Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde,131 (1975), pp. 309-33
  • From Plantation to Padi-Field: The Origins of the Nineteenth Century Transformation of Java's Sugar Industry, Modern Asian Studies, 14 (2),1980, pp. 177-204.
  • ‘The Sugar Industry of Colonial Java and its Global Trajectory', South East Asia Research 8 (3), 2000, pp. 249-274.
  • ‘The Java Sugar Industry as a Capitalist Plantation: A Re-appraisal', Journal of Peasant Studies, 19, 3&4 (1992) pp. 68-86 and in E. Valentine Daniel, Henry Bernstein & Tom Brass (eds), Plantations, Peasants and Proletarians in Colonial Asia, London: Frank Cass 1992, pp. 68-86.
  • ‘The Peasantry and the Cultivation of Cane in Nineteenth Century Java', in A. Booth, W.J. O'Malley & Anna Weidemann (eds), Indonesian economic History in the Dutch Colonial Era, New Haven, Yale University Southeast Asian Series, 1990, pp. 49-66.
  • Sugar, Peasants and Proletarians: Colonial Southeast Asia, 1830-1940', Critique of Anthropology 9 (2), 1989, pp. 39-63.
  • Peasant Labour and Capitalist Production in Late Colonial Indonesia: The Campaign at a North Java Sugar Factory 1840-1870', Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 19 (2) 1988, 245-265.
  • ‘The People's Own Cultivations: Rice and Second Crops in Pekalongan Residency, North Java, 1800-1870', Review of Malay and Indonesian Affairs 19 (2) 1985, pp.1-38.
  • (With Ulbe Bosma), ‘Global Factory and Local Field: Convergence and Divergence in the International Sugar Cane Industry', International Review of Social History, 49, 2004, pp. 1-25.
  • ‘A Precocious Appetite: Industrial Agriculture & the Fertiliser Revolution in Java's Colonial Cane Fields, c. 1880-1914', Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 37 (1), 2006, pp. 43-64.
  • (With Ulbe Bosma and Juan Giusti). ‘Sugarlandia Revisited: Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800 to 1940', pp. 5-30, ‘Technology, Technicians and Bourgeoisie: Thomas Jeoffries Edwards and the Industrial Project in Sugar in Mid-Nineteenth Century Java, pp. 31-52, and (with Arthur van Schaik) ‘An Anatomy of Sugarlandia: Local Dutch Communities and the Colonial Sugar Industry in Mid-Nineteenth Century Java,' pp. 53-72 in Ulbe Bosma, Juan Giusti & G. Roger Knight (eds), Sugarlandia Revisited: Sugar and Colonialism in Asia and the Americas, 1800 to 1940 (with a preface by Sydney W. Mintz), International Studies in Social History, Berghahn Publishers, London and New York, 2007.
  • ‘Paradoxical White: Imperial and Postcolonial Sugar', in Leigh Boucher, Jane Carey & Katherine Ellinghaus (eds), Historicising Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the Construction of Identity, Melbourne, RMIT Publishing in Association with the School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, 2007, pp. 346-354.
  • A House of Honey: White Sugar, Brown Sugar, and the Taste for Modernity in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia', Food & Foodways: History & Culture of Human Nourishment, 17, 4 (2009) pp. 197-214
  • ‘Exogenous Colonialism: Java Sugar between Nippon and Taikoo before and during the Inter-war Depression, c. 1920-1940,' Modern Asian Studies, 44, (2010), pp. 477-515.