Vacancy: PhD candidate on functioning of postcolonial memory and memory cultures in the Netherlands, Indonesia and/or the Caribbean and diaspora

KITLV is looking for a PhD candidate on functioning of postcolonial memory and memory cultures in the Netherlands, Indonesia and/or the Caribbean and diaspora.

In the past few years, interest in the colonial past has returned to contemporary Dutch society – as elsewhere in the world – with a fierceness that was unexpected for some. This phenomenon ranges from pleas to embrace the colonial past on the one hand, to calls to decolonize our ways of thinking, academic institutions and the production of knowledge on the other hand. Public debates seem increasingly polarized when it comes to topics such as the transformation of ‘Zwarte Piet’ (‘Black Pete’) as a Dutch tradition; white privilege or innocence; the aftermath of slavery and its impact on both descendants of formerly enslaved and descendants of abolitionists and former plantations owners; or the accountability of the Netherlands with regard to its role in Indonesia’s war of independence. What is this vivid historical engagement about? Who is involved (ranging from individuals to communities and institutions)? Why and how does polarization take place, and to what extent and how does it relate to historical cultures in formerly regions colonized by the Dutch, in particular in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, more precisely Indonesia, Suriname and the Antilles, and the diaspora?

For KITLV, as a formerly colonial institute reflecting on its own past, these questions are topical and a starting point for a fresh research agenda that aims to understand the nature and impact of colonial legacies, connections and disconnections, within and between the various regions that have been part of a Dutch colonial space. In that postcolonial framework KITLV has a vacancy for a PhD-research project that focuses on an exploration of the functioning of postcolonial memory, and the dynamics of memory cultures in Netherlands, Indonesia and/or the Caribbean, and the diaspora. Candidates with a research experience or interest in these issues are invited to apply.

Deadline: 24 November 2019.

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