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PhD Candidate on the history of Dutch colonial culture in Asia

Leiden University, the Faculty of Humanities, Institute for History is looking for a PhD Candidate on the history of Dutch colonial culture in Asia (2 positions, 1.0 FTE).

9 maanden geleden


Begijnhof, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


The PhD candidates will carry out research within the framework of the research project “Institutional memory in the making of colonial culture: history experience and idea in Dutch colonialism in Asia, 1700 – 1870.” This project investigates how colonial officials and missionaries legitimized their work in Asia. This long-term cricital analysis includes both the VOC period and the early colonial state. It is centred around daily work routines and reporting among ‘residenten’, ministers and missionaries and the Governor General. The hypothesis is that this interplay between local practice and intellectual justification was crucial to the development of enduring and persistent Dutch visions about the legitimacy of colonial rule.
The two PhD projects each focus on a specific sector within the colonial workspace and both have a strong emphasis on archival research:

PhD Project 1: “Reproducing past, present and future: colonial visions and experience in Asia.” This projects investigates the long term development of colonial mentality at the level of the colonial bureaucrats in Asia.

Phd project 2: “Spirited narratives of purpose and progress: church-society engagement alongside the (Company-) state.” This project focuses on work and worldview of Church ministers and missionaries in Asia, who functioned within and alongside the colonial enterprise.

The project is financed by NWO within the framework of the Vernieuwingsimpuls (VIDI) and the PhD students will be working in a team together with the project leader (Alicia Schrikker) and a postdoc.

Key responsibilities

  • Writing a dissertation in English within four years;
  • Submitting research results for publication to international peer-reviewed academic journals;
  • Presenting papers at conferences and workshops;
  • Co-organizing conferences and workshops;
  • Contributing to valorization activities;
  • Teaching some undergraduate courses in the second and third year of appointment;
  • Participating in PhD training courses (Posthumus Institute).


  • (Research) MA degree in History. Very good grades are expected, as well an 8 mark or higher for the (Res) MA thesis;
  • Written and oral fluency in English;
  • Fluency in reading Dutch and preferably proven experience in reading 18th/19th century Dutch archival sources;
  • Interest in colonial and global history;
  • Willingness to work in an international academic team that aspires to the highest levels of scholarly excellence and societal engagement;
  • A problem-focused approach to historical research and demonstrable ability to apply theoretical and comparative frameworks;
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member.


The PhD position is for a period of four years. Initially the employee will receive a one year contract. An extension of three years is possible having received positive evaluations of capabilities and achievements. Remuneration for a full-time working week will be € 2,222 gross per month in the first year, increasing to € 2,840 gross per month in the fourth year.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at www.workingat.leiden.edu/.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Additional information

Interested in applying for one of these positions? Please contact Dr. Alicia Schrikker for more information about the project and a more extensive project description via email A.F.Schrikker@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Letters of application can be submitted in either Dutch or English and include:

  • Cover letter;
  • Motivation that reflects on the project as a whole and on the two PhD projects. If you have a preference for one of the two projects, explain which one and why;
  • CV and a list of publications (if applicable);
  • Copy of (Res) MA thesis;
  • Proof of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers or those without an undergraduate degree obtained in The Netherlands or an English-speaking country (IELTS 7.0 or lower will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, e.g. in the case of other compensatory factors such as unique experience and expertise);
  • List of (maximum) two referees to your application (with full postal addresses, telephone numbers and emails). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.

Please quote the vacancy number in your application and send it by email to vacaturesgeschiedenis@hum.leidenuniv.nl no later than 20 November 2017.
All requested documents should be sent in PDF format, one PDF with all the documents listed above excluding the MA thesis, and a separate PDF with the thesis. The PDF’s should be titled ‘IMCC + family name applicant’ and ‘IMCC PHD thesis + family name applicant’.
Interviews are scheduled for the week of 4 December.


Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

Faculty of Humanities

The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden’s historic city centre and in modern buildings in The Hague.

The Institute for History is the home of a vibrant community of researchers and lecturers with outstanding track records and successful in attracting national and international research grants. Under the label ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’ scholars affiliated to the Institute combine a deep knowledge of global interactions and of specific localities, regions and states in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. They use comparative, connective and entangled approaches and resort to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. This project is part of the research specialization Colonial and Global History, for more information see: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/research/research-projects/humanities/colonial-and-global-history.