Encompass: Encountering a common past in Asia
Between 2012 and 2017, the Institute for History offers the successful Foundation Year that prepares MA and PhD students from all over the world to work with Dutch-language research materials. The program builds on the Encompass I program that was hosted by the Institute for History between 2006 and 2012, in which over 55 students participated.
The quality of historical research depends for an important part on the sources available to the researcher. It almost goes without saying that any student seriously interested in the early modern history of South Africa and South- and Southeast Asia, for example, would profit from the priceless sources left by the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie; Dutch East India Company), while the source material left by the Dutch colonial authorities in the East Indies is of crucial importance to research on the 19th- and 20th-century history of Indonesia. Access to the above-mentioned sources, however, has long been problematic for Asian students for the simple reason that they are unacquainted with the Dutch language.
By making new source materials accessible to students, we hope to open the doors for a new wave of historical research. Various archival institutions, both in the Netherlands and in Asia, hold an enormous amount of relevant Dutch sources: the National Archives in the Hague, the Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia, and the Sri Lankan National Archives, to name a few. Sources range from the 17th-century accounts of VOC explorers (which describe early encounters — from the inhabitants of Mocca in Arabia to the Japanese in the Far East), to the detailed 19th- and 20th-century administrative materials of the colonial government in Indonesia.
For examples of research conducted by Encompass I students and other research activities see:Encompass researchandalumni.