Research themes

KITLV aims to be a world-class research institute for the study of Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with a focus on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean, in an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. Benefitting from the unrivalled collections offered on campus by Leiden University, KITLV researchers explore (dis)continuities between the (pre)colonial and postcolonial period, and articulate their research agendas empirically and theoretically in order to advance wider debates on the meandering paths of globalization. KITLV is an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

As our mission statement indicates, KITLV invests in three long-term research themes: State, Violence and Citizenship, Mobility and Belonging and Governance of Climate Change Adaptation. While most research projects fit into either of these themes, a few address both.  Below, the research projects within the three themes are presented, with a differentiation between larger, mainly externally funded programs and individual, either internally or externally funded 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.