PhD Position: Colonial Environmental History (19th Century Dutch East Indies)

PhD Position: Colonial Environmental History (19th Century Dutch East Indies)

Published Deadline Location
18 Apr 17 May Utrecht

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 17 May 2024).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Join our team as a PhD in a project on the role of the environment in Dutch colonial projects in 19th century Indonesia.

Job description

Join our team historians as a PhD researcher with a project on the role of the environment in Dutch colonial projects in 19th century Indonesia.

Your job
As a PhD candidate, you will be working on a project titled “Conservation before conservationism: Resilient environments in Dutch East Indies in the 19th century” funded by the PhD Programme Faculty of Humanities. This project explores the introduction and development of the system of plantation and enforced labour – known as the Cultivation System – on the island of Java under Dutch rule between 1830 and 1870. You are expected to compare environments that were transformed by such system and environments that resisted to it, and identify key factors able to explain the differentiated output. The overarching goal of the project is to look at local-imperial dynamics and find out strategies that determined the non-transformation of Indonesian nature.

You will:
  • conduct research within the period of appointment in the Netherlands as well as at archives and libraries in Indonesia;
  • complete the dissertation within the period of appointment;
  • be encouraged to publish at least one peer-reviewed journal article and/or book chapter;
  • publish peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters;
  • help with the organisation of workshops;
  • participate in project meetings and closely collaborate with the other members of the research team;
  • collaborate with environmental and colonial history within and outside UU;
  • present research findings at national and international workshops and conferences;
  • collaborate with societal partners.

The project will be supervised by Assistant Professors Roberta Biasillo and Roel Frakking with co-supervision by Professors Ido de Haan and Liesbeth van de Grift. You will be associated with the UU Strategic Theme Pathways to Sustainability and you will contribute to the Cultural Heritage and Identity of the Sector Plan. There will be an assessment at the end of the first year, on the basis of which it is decided to give an extension for another three years.


Utrecht University


General qualifications:
  • You hold a Master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. nineteenth-century Dutch history, environmental history, environmental studies, imperial history, the history of Southeast Asia, etc.) at the time of appointment.
  • You have a good command of spoken and written English.
  • You have a good command of written Dutch.
  • You are flexible to travel for this position.
  • You are able to work independently and in a team, be innovative and creative.
  • It is considered an asset if you have an interest in developing language skills in Bahasa Indonesia or if you already have a basic/good command of written Bahasa Indonesia.

Conditions of employment

We offer:
  • a position for four years;
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.


Universiteit Utrecht

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city centre of Utrecht, where the faculty is located, contribute to an inspiring working environment.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3829



Drift 6, 3512BS, Utrecht

View on Google Maps

Interessant voor jou