The postdoc will become part of the ERC-funded project “Human Subject Research and Medical Ethics in Colonial Southeast Asia”, led by dr. Fenneke Sysling. The expected starting date is 1 March 2024 and this is a postdoc position for 3 years. Project description:
This project looks at ethical practices in the history of medicine in colonial Southeast Asia, with the Dutch East Indies, British Malaya and the American Philippines as comparatives cases. Physicians in this period (1890-1962) pursued research on all sorts of diseases, from leprosy to beriberi. Local people took part in this research as research subjects. This meant that they provided blood or urine, were examined, and received drugs of which the effects and side-effects were not yet fully known. This project analyses these practices to understand the moral world of doctors at the time, including the complicated relationship between dangerous experimentation and best treatment for the patient.
We are looking for a candidate to focus on the afterlife of colonial medical research. The candidate will study medical data, concepts, material and/or photographs and how they moved from the colonial period into the postcolonial period. Possible case studies include the use of concepts or data (such as peoples’ height) in current medical or human biology studies, the presence of human remains from the colonial era in museums in and outside Southeast Asia and colonial medical photography collections. One possible focus is the way in which colonial data were laundered – decontextualized from their original (unethical) provenance – for re-use in the postcolonial era. Alongside historical research, the postdoc will reflect on the question of how to deal responsibly with the legacy of colonial medical research today. Key responsibilities:
- Conducting research on the afterlife of colonial medical research
- Writing three articles to publish in peer-reviewed journals;
- Participation in meetings of the project team;
- Presentations of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
- Co-organizing workshops and conferences;
- Co-organizing the publication of an edited volume.