Research

Visiting Fellows

The KITLV hosts several international postdoctoral researchers (fellows). KITLV fellows are invited to present lectures, participate in seminars and cooperate in the institute’s research projects.

Christina Firpo
Christina Firpo is an Associate Professor of Southeast Asian History at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo, California, USA. Her first book, The Uprooted: Race, Childhood, and Colonialism in Vietnam, 1890-1980 is currently under contract with University of Hawai'i Press. At the KITLV, she will work on her second book project,  Sex on the Sly: Clandestine Prostitution in Colonial Vietnam. 

Isabelle Cote
Isabelle Côté received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2014. Based on over nine-months of fieldwork, her dissertation examines the impact of internal migration on Sons of the Soil conflicts in China and Indonesia. At KITLV, she is part of the research cluster 'From clients to citizens', where she investigates the effect of internal migration on the concept of citizenship in Indonesia. She has published in the Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies; Education, Citizenship and Social Justice; PS: Political Science and Politics and Asian Ethnicity.

Susie Protschky
Susie Protschky (PhD 2007, University of New South Wales) is a Lecturer in Modern History at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia). She specialises in cultural histories of the Netherlands Indies, with a focus on visual culture and photography. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (ARC APD) (2010–15).
Susie is the author of the monograph, Images of the Tropics: Environment and Visual Culture in Colonial Indonesia (KITLV Press/Brill, 2011) and editor of the essay collection Photography, Modernity and the Governed in Late-Colonial Indonesia (Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming October 2014). She is currently writing a book titled Photographic Subjects: Monarchs, Commoners and the Camera, an historical investigation of popular photographic cultures surrounding the Dutch monarchy in the East Indies during the reign of Wilhelmina (1898–1948). This queen, who never visited the Indies in person, presided over a politically turbulent era of Dutch colonial expansion and decolonisation, and the global emergence of a mass photographic culture. Extant studies of monarchy and empire, particularly those of the British colonial world, focus on the officially orchestrated spectacles at royal celebrations in the colonies. This book addresses the neglected question of how colonial subjects – including indigenous peoples, not just Europeans – responded to and participated in such rituals through various genres of photography: ‘family’ snaps, photographic gifts to the queen, and personal collections of published photographs. Understanding how Wilhelmina was appealed to by her subjects through photography, and how she was mobilised in vernacular photographic practices to express colonial ethnic and class identities, sheds new light not only on the late colonial era in Indonesian history, but also on histories of colonialism and photography.

Aviva Ben-Ur
Aviva Ben-Ur is Associate Professor in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. A Jewish historian by training, she received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University (1998) and two Masters degrees from Columbia University (1994; 1992). She is the author of Sephardic Jews in America: A Diasporic History (2009) and, with Rachel Frankel, Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries of Suriname: Epitaphs (2009) and Remnant Stones: The Jewish Cemeteries and Synagogues of Suriname: Essays (2012). Her current book project, "Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society: Suriname, 1651-1863," deals with the permeation of slavery into every aspect of colonial life. An offshoot of that project is the article she is researching and writing at the KITLV. Tentatively entitled "My Father, My Slave: Close-kin Ownership in Colonial Suriname," this article explores the phenomenon whereby manumitted people owned their own family members, who often lived and labored under conditions no different than other slaves.

Mirjam Kuenkler
Mirjam Künkler (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a Senior Research Fellow at KITLV this year. She is Assistant Professor in the Department for Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, USA, and has published on religion-state relations and Islamic thought in 20th century Iran and Indonesia. She has edited with Alfred Stepan, Indonesia, Islam and Democracy, Columbia University Press (2013), and with John Madeley and Shylashri Shankar, A Secular Age: Beyond the West, (2014). Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in the journals Comparative Studies of Society and History, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Journal of Law and Religion, Democratization, Modern Asian Studies, Journal of International Affairs, and Party Politics, as well as edited volumes. In her next project, she turns to questions about female religious authority in Islam. Künkler is co-PI of the two-year project “Religion and Constitutionalism” at the Institute of Advanced Study in Bielefeld, and of the “Iran Social Science Data Portal” funded by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). Links to her work can be found here ...>>.

Farabi Fakih
Farabi Fakih is a lecturer at the History Department, Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta. He has also been working on his PhD dissertation at the History Department of Leiden University since 2009 and will defend his thesis on 14 May 2014. His PhD research focuses on the production of Indonesia’s managerial class during the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s. He analyses the rise of this new elite and its relationship to the rise of the New Order managerial state. Farabi obtained  his MPhil degree at the History Department of Leiden University writing about Javanese Nationalism. He obtained a cum laude for his MPhil, which was subsequently nominated a prize for best Master’s thesis on Asian Studies written in the Netherlands by the IIAS in 2009. Currently, Farabi is developing his ideas concerning liberalism and the ideas and forms of citizenship in Indonesia. This is partly a continuation of the ideas developed in his PhD dissertation. His research interest also include urban history, decentralization and the practices and ideas of development and developmentalism in Indonesian history.

Vaudine England
Vaudine England has been a journalist across South East Asia for years, working for Hong Kong, British and American newspapers, for the BBC World Service, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Reuters and others. The jump from journalism to history-writing has not been a big one. In 1998, the Hong Kong University Press published her biography of a poor white man in the colony who made good, The Quest of Noel Croucher, Hong Kong's Quiet Philanthropist. After the fall of Suharto and before a second time with the BBC - covering red and yellow shirted revolts in Thailand and an emerging Burma - she wrote a history of the bilingual Chinese International School. She then researched the history of one of Hong Kong's older companies, Hongkong Land, a subsidiary of the former opium-traders Jardines. Now she is writing the history of The Hong Kong Club, an archetypal institution of British empire, examining the creation of class and cliques on the China coast. A second, larger project is an authoritative study of Eurasians and other mixed-race communities including Armenians, Jews and Parsees. This aims to discover how and with what impact this crossing of race and class taboos worked in colonial Hong Kong and how it helped build a more cosmopolitan past than currently imagined

Astrid Norén-Nilsson
Astrid Norén-Nilsson obtained a PhD as a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge in May 2013 with a thesis on the role of nationalist imaginings, discourses and narratives in Cambodia since the 1993 introduction of a multi-party democratic system. She argued that the promotion of competing nationalistic imaginings is a much more prominent part of party political contestation in the Kingdom of Cambodia (KOC) than typically believed. This research  uncovered a domestic discursive field on democracy that has emerged with the new multi-party democratic system. It traced out a tension between domestic elite imaginings and the formally liberal democratic framework in which they operate and assessed the implications for democratic practice. Astrid commenced a 12-month fellowship at the KITLV in October 2013 joining the Clients to Citizens project, in which she will reverse the perspective to look at Cambodia’s democratization from the point of view of emerging grassroots perceptions and practices of citizenship.  Alongside her research, she engages in various consultancy work, and she has worked as a political risk consultant for various agencies since 2006. 

Vilan van de Loo
Vilan van de Loo has a deep and ongoing passion for ladies novels from the Netherlands- Indies and their female writers. She studied Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Leiden (cum laude, 1993) and lives and works as an independent writer and researcher. She wrote a few biographies and defended in January 2014 her dissertation called Dochter van Indië. Melati van Java (1853-1927). This is the biography of (most likely) the first Eurasian female writer of the  Netherlands. More on Melati and these writers on: http://www.damescompartiment.nl/. "My dream, hope and desire is to write a handbook about these writers. We need more herstory in the history”. Do you know a name of an almost forgotten female writer about the Indies? Mail is most welcome: info@vilanvandeloo.nl.

Patricia Tjiook-Liem
Patricia Tjiook-Liem obtained her Master of Laws at the University of Amsterdam. In 2009 she defended her Ph.D. dissertation on ‘The legal position of the Chinese in the Dutch East-Indies 1848-1942’ at Leiden University-Van Vollenhoven Institute. Previously her article ‘Fact and fiction on the Japanese Law’ was published in the legal magazine Rechtsgeleerd Magazijn Themis. This article dealt with the amendment of one of the most important articles of Dutch East-Indies’ constitutional law, an article directly related to the complex legal position of the Chinese in the colonial period. At present one of her main interests is the Chinese Indonesian Heritage Center (CIHC) of KITLV. The CIHC aims to collect and preserve the heritage of the Chinese in the Netherlands.