State, Violence and Citizenship

How did political reforms and intensive migrations affect historically grounded identities and political practices on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, and Saba? This project seeks to answer this question by integrating multiple disciplines to analyze governance and identity in small-scale polities, with a particular focus on non-sovereignty, migration, and (sustainable) development.

Decolonization and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950

Decolonisation, violence and war in Indonesia, 1945-1950 is a large-scale, joint inquiry carried out by KITLV, the Netherlands Institute for Military History (NIMH) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The project has been made financially possible by the Dutch government, due to its decision on 2 December 2016 to lend its support to a broad inquiry into the events of this period.

‘From clients to citizens?‘ aims to understand the impact of Indonesia’s democratization process on everyday state-citizen interaction. To what extent is Indonesia’s democratic transition changing the way ordinary Indonesians relate to the state in terms of citizenship? How can we explain both the changes and the continuities?

Led by Henk Schulte Nordholt and (from August 2014 onwards) Dr Jacqueline Vel, this projects aims to coordinate three separate projects funded by the Dutch Indonesian SPIN Program: (1) Social and economic effects of partnering for sustainable change in agricultural commodity chains, coordinated by Prof. Pieter Glasbergen, Maastricht University and Prof. Bustanul Arifin, Agribusiness University of Lampung; (2) Local and regional dimensions in Indonesia’s social and economic development: a governance approach, coordinated by Prof. Henri de Groot, VU University Amsterdam and Prof. Ari Kuncoro, University of Indonesia; (3) From clients to citizens? Emerging citizenship in democratizing Indonesia, coordinated by Prof Gerry van Klinken and Prof Henk Schulte Nordholt (KITLV Leiden) and Prof Bambang Purwanto, UGM Yogyakarta.

Individual projects

Henk Schulte Nordholt is writing a history of Southeast Asia for the new World History Series published by Fischer Verlag (Neue Fischer Weltgeschichte). The book offers an overview of the main developments in the field of politics, economy, religion and culture. It will be published in German and is expected to appear in 2017.

Hoko Horii has been a PhD candidate at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) and the Van Vollenhoven Institute since March 2016. Hoko’s research tries to understand the reasons behind the persisting gap between international human rights standards and social practice regarding child marriage in Indonesia, focusing on the co-existence of conflicting norms within the Indonesian legal system. This research project is partly funded by the Toyota Foundation (2016-2018).

In the 2012 documentary La Javanaise by Wendelien van Oldenborgh the Surinamese-Dutch artist Charl Landvreugd, depicted in this photograph, visits the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Throughout the film, he feels alienated by the colonial perspective offered by the museum to the point that he says: “I don’t know if I would come here with my child.”  This feeling of exclusion is more widely shared in the Netherlands, for instance by a group called “Decolonize the Museum”, which confronts precisely the colonial ideas and practices present in many museums. In the humanities, we have a lot of sophisticated theories on processes of in- and exclusion, but we still know very little about the actual ways in which museums in the Netherlands include certain groups and perspectives and exclude others.

Through a combination of ethnographic fieldwork with an expert survey, this project studies and compares clientelistic politics across Indonesia.
Political clientelism refers to the practice of exchanging electoral support for personal benefits. Since this exchange relationship between voter and politician is blamed for various societal ills – ranging from inefficient governance and economic stagnation to ethnic violence – we need to know why and how a democracy becomes more (or less) clientelistic. Yet we lack analytical tools to establish the extent to which a political system is clientelistic and we lack reliable quantitative data that would allow for systematic comparisons.

Why are small states significantly more stable than large ones, despite the weakness of political institutions and the prevalence of personalistic politics? Which factors contribute to the absence of major political crises and violence in small states? And who are the key actors involved in these processes?

Scholarly work on legal history in colonial Indonesia (1816–1942) has focused on the various legal projects – European, indigenous, and Islamic – in this Dutch colony and on individual rights struggles by Europeans. Through an analysis of novels, letters, pamphlets and other texts written by Indonesians in the period 1900-1945, this project starts to answer a different question, namely, how Indonesians living with the Dutch colonial project have themselves written about their legal positioning, and specifically about individual rights.

OUR PROJECTS

KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies initiates and coordinates innovative research projects on Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. It engages in research that is theoretically informed, compara- tive, and empirically strong. Research on both regions focuses on contemporary developments as well as on historical themes. This page lists the research projects ongoing at KITLV and in collaboration with other departments and institutions.

Completed Projects

Click here to review the research projects that have been completed since 2014, the year KITLV was established as a new research institute.