2 Postdoc positions Colonial histories and provenance of the KITLV Special Collections - KNAW

2 Postdoc positions Colonial histories and provenance of the KITLV Special Collections - KNAW

Published Deadline Location
22 Sep 27 Oct Leiden

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Job description

The position

For this Research Project we will hire 2 postdocs, with experience in provenance research or research into the social history of manuscripts. The postdocs will be asked to make an elaborate selection of case studies (sub-collections, individual manuscripts), specifically for the Indonesian and Southeast Asian collection, on the base of which they conduct provenance research and/or do research into the socio-political biography of these cases. The aim is to get a general picture of the formation of the KITLV collection, and to provide insight into provenance and/or social biographies of manuscripts, and/or in the Society’s collecting practices. They will do so in the form of a written report. Next to that, they also have allocated time and space to use this research for a scholarly publication or a new research proposal.


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)


Job requirements
  • You have experience in research into provenance or collection histories of objects, manuscripts, books, albums and/or photographs originating from the region that is now Indonesia (as understood in wider Asian settings) kept in museums and/or Asian Libraries.
  • You have experience in working with collections from KITLV and Leiden university’s Asian Library, and/or ethnographic and art museums in the Netherlands.
  • You are fluent in Dutch and English, in combination with knowledge of one of the following languages: Indonesian, Arabic, or one of the ancient or modern regional Indonesian languages.
  • You have finished a PhD in the field of Indonesian history, Indonesian studies, or Philology, that shows acquaintance with debates about the politics of heritage, knowledge production, orientalism, and/or histories of science.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 18 months.

Terms of employment
Depending on education and experience the minimum salary is € 3.720 and the maximum salary is € 5.090 gross per month for a full-time appointment (scale [[ufoSchaal]] cao Nederlandse Universiteiten/KNAW). This is exclusive of 8% vacation allowance, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet allowance, home working allowance and pension accrual with ABP.

The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.



About the 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.


The Makings of KITLV Special Collections

The Project

The manuscript and book collection of KITLV (founded in 1851) is one of the largest covering the region that is today Indonesia, and has, next to that, an important Caribbean collection. It is well known that a large part of this collection has a colonial origin, as it was shaped by, and embedded, in the context of Dutch colonial history, mainly regarding the - then - so-called East- and West-Indies. Little do we know, however, about the ways manuscripts have been collected locally, or about the context, the power relations, the violence, and the mechanisms of selection that formed the base of collecting. In light of present societal and scholarly debates about collecting practices and knowledge production it is important to gain insight into the ways this collection came to be and has been used, and in the influence and agency of local actors in shaping these collections. To that aim, this Pilot Project will run at KITLV for a period of 1,5 year. The project explores, on the base of selected case studies, the provenance of the collection, the socio-political biography of sub-collections and individual manuscripts, to study practices of collecting and knowledge production, and to gauge the role and nature of violence therein (including epistemic violence). The question about the role of local actors in shaping this collection will be leading. The focus will be on the Indonesian/ Southeast Asian collection.


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 19 hours per week
  • €3720—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1813


Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)

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Reuvensplaats 2, 2311BE, Leiden

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