Postdoc in Anthropology - KITLV-KNAW - Leiden

Postdoc in Anthropology - KITLV-KNAW - Leiden

Published Deadline Location
23 Sep 4 Nov Leiden

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Job description

Project Description
Driven by the increasing public awareness of the impact of hurricanes and the devastation of coastal areas, Island(er)s at the Helm will contribute to equipping (Dutch) Caribbean societies with proficient tools for confronting these challenging climatic phenomena. Such adverse events have significant ecological, social, and cultural implications, affecting the basic living conditions (water, food, shelter-nexus/WFS-nexus) and heritage of the island inhabitants. This research builds on the principle that local-specific practices and ontologies of Caribbean societies are crucial for promoting sustainable WFS-nexus solutions. The project brings together researchers and societal partners to employ a mixture of technical, traditional, and contemporary knowledge practices for studying climate change adaptation through a long-term perspective. Five inter-related work packages studying the WFS-nexus of the island(er)s will adopt a transdisciplinary research design including: archaeology, paleoecology, (paleo)ethnobotany, social-cultural anthropology, visual arts, performance arts, political science, urban design, urban planning, governance and policy sciences, legal studies, architecture, and civil engineering. 

Island(er)s at the Helm is financed by the NWO Caribbean Research programme. The host institute for this project is the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV/KNAW), in collaboration with the University of St. Martin.

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Job Description
The Island(er)s at the Helm project is looking for a Postdoctoral candidate in Anthropology in the work package “Arts and culture in the transmission of knowledge-practices”. 

The researchers in this work package will depart from the tenet that in everyday life in the Creole cultures of the island(er)s older and newer knowledge-practices are artistically engaged in novel ways; a case of neo-tradition brought about by aesthetic motifs within the processes of creolization. 

The researchers assigned to this work package are expected to conduct in-depth ethnographic studies from a creolization and art-based perspective on how the island(er)s in the Dutch Caribbean are adapting their foodways, water resource management, and architectural practices to climate challenges.

Anthropologists skilled in visual and performing arts, as well as the interface of technology and craftsmanship will carry out a broad inventory of the island(er)s explicit and tacit knowledge-practices with regards to their water, food, shelter-nexus. These findings and their translations in artworks, academic writings, and public presentations, will enable governmental organizations and non-governmental organization to better appreciate and cater to the needs and wants of the island(er)s before and after natural hazards. 


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


  • PhD degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology, with experience in art based research;
  • Experience in conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the (Dutch) Caribbean and/or diaspora;
  • Skilled in qualitative research methods.
  • Track record in doing research with and on (Dutch) Caribbean art making practices; 
  • Experience with community dialogues and engagement with NGOs; 
  • Knowledgeable about the dynamics of popular culture and activism in complex postcolonial arenas; 
  • Knowledgeable of creolization practices within cultural heritage dynamics in the Caribbean; 
  • Knowledgeable about theoretical discussions on climate change in anthropology and art based research;
  • Ability to do public presentations, extramural education, and teaching and supervision experience at all levels of university
  • Command of the English language, both in speaking and writing, and structured writing skills in general;
  • Comprehension of Papiamento, Dutch, and Spanish, alongside Caribbean creole English; Haitian Kreyol is considered a plus.

Conditions of employment

KITLV is a KNAW institute. Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten).

We offer a part time (0,5 fte) position (19 hours per week)  for four years starting in January 2022.

Based on the university system of job classification [universitair systeem functieordenen, or UFO], the position is classified as job profile Post-doctoral Researcher [Onderzoeker 4].

The gross monthly salary will be based on experience and will be € 1,704 (in accordance with salary scale 10, of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 

KNAW offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %) and training and career development. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. In case the applicant is not currently a resident of The Netherlands, the applicant is expected to move.

The position is based at KITLV ( Leiden is a pleasant, historical city located between Amsterdam and The Hague. KITLV is committed to diversity, inclusiveness, and equal opportunities. 

To apply for this position, we require a CV, letter of motivation, Preliminary Research Proposal according to NWO format (obtainable via applications[at] and two letters of recommendation. Incomplete applications will not be (re)viewed by the selection committee.


Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV)

The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. The KITLV conducts interdisciplinary and comparative historical research. Its research focus is Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean. It is particularly interested in such issues as state formation, violence and citizenship, processes of mobility and the formation of ethnic and national identity. KITLV is active in the humanities, social sciences and comparative area studies and works closely with Leiden University.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society; Language and culture
  • max. 19 hours per week
  • Doctorate
  • AT2021-105


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Reuvensplaats 2, 2311 BE, Leiden

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