Seminars and Conferences

Information on seminars and other events (co)organized by Cosmopolis in the academic year of 2015-2016.  

7 December 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Wednesday 7 December from 15:15-17:00 the next Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Lipsius 148. Yulianti, PhD student at Leiden University and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, will present her research project. Her presentation is entitled The Making of Buddhism in Modern Indonesia - South and Southeast Asian Networks and Agencies”.  

About the talk: This research explores the re-emergence of Buddhism in late colonial Indonesia. The historiography of Buddhism in nineteenth and early twentieth century South and Southeast Asia is predominantly about  Buddhist  revival, as experienced contemporaneously in places such as Sri Lanka, Burma, Singapore, and Malaysia. Remarkably, Buddhism in Indonesia is often overlooked in this context. Studies of the history of Buddhism in modern Indonesia mostly ignore the profound connections that existed between the people in Indonesia and elsewhere in the region. Evidence shows that in colonial Indonesia, Chinese society —particularly the peranakan community – was deeply interested  in Buddhism. In conjunction with the rise of Chinese culture and identity politics, Buddhism gradually secured a place in the heart of the peranakan Chinese society. The presence of different Buddhist networks and agencies from different regions of South and Southeast Asia accelerate the process of the making of Buddhism. This talk will cover the following main issues: (1) to what extent does the Global/popular Buddhism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century contribute to the making of Buddhism in late colonial Indonesia? And (2) to what extend do the peranakan Chinese incorporate Buddhism into their religious systems and institutions?

About the speaker: Yulianti is a PhD candidate in the project "The Making of Religious Traditions in Indonesia: History and Heritage in Global Perspective (1600-1940)", jointly organized by Universiteit Leiden and Universitas Gadjah Mada. She started her PhD project in September 2013. Her research interests comprise Buddhism in Southeast Asia during colonial and post-colonial times, women in the historiography of Buddhism, and transnational Buddhism.

17 November 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 17 November from 15.30-17.00 the next Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Van Wijkplaats 2/002. Dr. Andreas Weber of University of Twente will give a lecture entitled ‘Studying Empire’s Nature: Natural Historical Archives as Digital Challenge and Opportunity’. 

About the talk: In the first half of the nineteenth century, the Indonesian Archipelago witnessed various attempts to describe, classify and manage local natural resources. Next to large number of detailed reports on the cultivation of cash crops and the improvement of industries, this resulted in unique natural historical collections documenting the area’s rich and variegated flora and fauna. Over the last decade, many of these handwritten manuscripts, drawings and specimens have been digitized and are now stored on servers of natural historical museums in the Netherlands, England and France. However, owing to their heterogeneous character and complex structure, the material has never been fully studied and contextualized. In order to address this challenge, the collaborative project Making Sense of Illustrated Handwritten Archives develops a user-friendly and technologically advanced digital environment which is meant to facilitate the work of historians, biologists and curators interested in digitized natural historical and other illustrated handwritten heritage. Core use case of the Making Sense project is the archive of the Committee for Natural History of the Netherlands Indies, a large scale collecting endeavour financed by the Dutch king Willem I in the early nineteenth century. From 1820 to 1850, members of the Committee made extensive tours through the Indonesian Archipelago and brought together a unique set of handwritten documents, specimens and visuals. Next to a more general project overview, this presentation raises two interrelated issues: first, it examines the pitfalls and opportunities which the application of digital tools in the context of illustrated handwritten collections entails. Second, it reflects upon how the digital environment developed within the Making Sense project can give a new boost to historical scholarship which re-evaluates the role of natural history in a broader processes of (Dutch) empire formation in the first half of the nineteenth century. 
About the speaker:
Andreas is a historian interested in the historical relationship between natural history, chemistry and colonial governance. Next to his work within the Making Sense of Illustrated Handwritten Archives project, which is financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the publishing house Brill, he is working on a monograph tentatively titled: Materials at Work: Governing nature and society in the early nineteenth century Dutch empire. Before he returned to the department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies (STePS) at the University of Twente in summer 2016, he has been affiliated with the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia as John C. Haas long-term fellow. His publications include: “Renegotiating Debt: Chemical governance and money in the early nineteenth century Dutch Empire,” in Astonishing Transformations: How chemistry made and managed the world, 1760-1840, ed. Lissa Roberts and Simon Werrett (forthcoming 2016/2017 with Brill); “Bitter Fruits of Accumulation: the case of Caspar G.C. Reinwardt (1773-1854)” in History of Science 3 (2014): 297-318 and Hybrid Ambitions: Science, governance, and empire in the career of C.G.C. Reinwardt (1773-1854) (Amsterdam: Leiden University Press, 2012).  

21-23 June 2016 - Cosmopolis Conference Manila

From 21-23 June the Third Cosmopolis Conference “Philippine Crossings: Entangled Voices between Oceans, c. 1500-1800” will take place at the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) in Manila. This international conference is organized by the Cosmopolis Programme of Leiden University in cooperation with the NHCP. Several MA and PhD students, and staff members from Leiden  will present their work among a group of international scholars.

The conference focuses on the theme of cultural interaction and commensurability in the context of the early modern Spanish Philippines. Situated at the crossroads of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Philippines provide a fascinating middle ground of connected histories that question conventional ethnic, regional and religious identities. As in the case of the previous Cosmopolis conferences (in Yogyakarta in 2014 and Bloemfontein in 2015), in Manila we would like to explore the various ways in which cross-cultural connections have impacted the making of these identities at the regional and local levels. In other words, we aim to understand the movements of peoples, ideas and commodities in relation with the making of early modern cultural formations as expressed e.g. in language, literature, mission, music and architecture. As such, we intend to uncover the dissonant, entangled or silenced voices that challenge the conventional (national, religious and civilizational) narratives of these formations.

Please find the final programme here.

1 June 2016: Cosmopolis BA Thesis symposium

This event will be held in Van Eyckhof 1-3C. Please sign up if you would like to attend!

09:00 Coffee and Tea

09:15 Welcome

Presentations (10 mins presentation; 15 mins discussion)

09:15  “The Shifting Functions of the Topografische Dienst During 1864-1907”

Octavia Syafarwati  

09:40   “Archiving Madurese Islam: Sarekat Islam in Madura as an Archival Event”

Raistiwar Pratama

10:05   "On the Edge of Two Worlds: A Historiography of Departement voor Inlandsche Zaken period 1820-1847"

Rini Rusyeni

10:30   “Resistance Along The Railway: Anti-colonial Movement in Eastern Coast of Aceh, 1926-1932”

Raisa Kamila

10:55   Coffee/Tea break

11:25   “Strange Monopoly, Elusive Arbitrage: The Making of Dutch-Chinese Collaboration in the Spice Islands, 1614-1622”

Victor XU

11:40  “Challenges offered by an alternate space: Calicut and the VOC Pepper Trade from c.1604-1750"

Archa Neelankandan

12:05  “Not so 'Other Orientalisms': Ethnography in the Nineteenth Century Dutch and

Portuguese Empires”

Dale Menezes

12.30   “Representation of Timur in the Seventeenth Century Dutch Sources"

Reza Said Huseini

12:55 Lunch in the Huizinga Garden

24 May 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Tuesday 24 May 2016, from 14:00-15:30 an extra Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Huizinga 004. Dr. Nurfadzilah Yahaya will give a lecture entitled ‘How the Arabs became Foreign in the Indies’’.

About the talk: This paper explores how Arab subjects came to be classified as Foreign Orientals in the Netherlands Indies during the nineteenth century despite having settled in the region for centuries. Being neither Natives nor Europeans, Arabs were  simultaneously alien and local according to this new designation. Protectionist measures established by Dutch colonial government with regards to commerce and production influenced popular perceptions of the Arabs as colonial rivals.

About the speaker: Nurfadzilah Yahaya is a legal historian. She is currently a Research Fellow at Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, and will join the History Department on July 1st as an Assistant Professor . She is the Editor of the World Legal History Blog on Humanities and Social Sciences Online  (H-net). She received her PhD in History from Princeton University in 2012, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow In Islamic Studies in Washington University in St. Louis for three years.  Her  book , currently under preparation and  tentatively titled Fluid Jurisdictions, explores how members of the Arab diaspora utilized Islamic law in British and Dutch colonial courts of Southeast Asia.  She has published journal articles in Law and History Review, Indonesia and The Malay World, and The Muslim World.

21 April 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 21 April 2016, from 15:30-17:00 a Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Van Eyckhof 1 - 3C. We have the pleasure to welcome Dr. Francis A. Gealogo from Ateneo de Manila University, the Philippines. Dr Gealogo  will give a lecture on scientific research on prisoners the during the American occupation of the Philippines.

Title: ‘The Health of the Nation’s Prisoners: Anthropometry, Laboratory Experiments and the Prison Social Reform Project in the early American colonial Philippines, 1898-1935’

About the talk: The American occupation of the Philippines ushered in a new period of development for the advancement and application of colonial academic/scientific studies of the colonized colored peoples thru the use of contemporaneous inquiries that were reflective of the racial science pervading in a number of fields. 
The reorientation and  reorganization of reform institutions such as the Bilibid Prisons (the National Insular Penitentiary) were presented as part of the general colonial scheme of spreading American civilization meant to put order and system in its new insular possessions. Part of this colonial project of reorienting the native was thru the reorganization of the colonial penal system, with the Bilibid Prison as the exemplar institutions of correction and reform. 
  The establishment of hospitals within the prison compounds would therefore come as a logical part of this corrective scheme. Utilizing biomedical studies, researches in criminology and penology, laboratory experimentations, and anthropometric assessments of the Filipinos, colonial studies on the new insular possessions and their peoples took an extremely racialized perspective.  The paper will focus on the academic, medical statistical and criminological studies about the Filipinos published in the early years of American occupation to interrogate, critique and analyze the prevailing modes of representing the natives and their reduction to a state of ‘otherness’.   By focusing on these studies, the body size, brain weight, skin color and facial features of the Filipinos became classic cases for the exhibition of the racial profile of the newly colonized native, that has often been interrelated with studies on their cultural achievements, civilizational state, and political maturity as a people.

About the speaker:  Francis Alvarez Gealogo obtained his Bachelor of Arts (History), Master of Arts (History) and PhD in Philippine Studies degrees from the University of the Philippines where he taught for more than thirteen years where he served as College Secretary of its College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Editor of the journal  Diliman Review.  He transferred to the Ateneo de Manila University in 2000 where he is currently Associate Professor of History.   At the Ateneo, he served as Chair of the Department of History, Associate Director for Research at the Institute of Philippine Culture and Managing Editor of the journal Philippine Studies:  Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints.  He is Commissioner of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. He was Fulbright Visiting Senior Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2007-8 and presently Rene Descartes Senior Visiting Fellow at the Utrecht University Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science and the Humanities.

7 April 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 7 April 2016, from 15:30-17:00 a Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Van Wijkplaats 2/002. We have the pleasure to welcome Dr. Anna Busquets Alemany from Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona. Dr Busquets will give a lecture on the Chinese community in 17th century Manila.

Title: ‘The 17th century Chinese uprisings in Manila: causes and consequences’

About the talk: During the XVI and XVIIth centuries two different groups established themselves in the Philippines: the Castilians and the Chinese. Even if the Spanish absolutely needed the work of the sangleys, the tensions of the two communities were soon to arise, ending in four great Chinese uprisings in 1603, 1639, 1662 and 1686. Working with the Spanish manuscripts that are currently in the Indias Archive of Seville, this session will analyze the different causes that brought those uprisings about as well as the general evolution of the Chinese community in the Philippines along the 17th century. The different consequences of those uprisings will also be taken into account with special attention to the 1662 uprising, linked to the Koxinga’s ambition over the Philippines and the documentation that the uprising generated.

About the speaker: Anna Busquets obtained a PhD in History from the Pompeu Fabra University (2008), Master’s Degree in History (1998), Postgraduate Certificate in Chinese Language and Civilization (1999) and Degree in Humanities (1996). She is associate professor in the Arts and Humanities Department at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. In 2003 she designed and introduced the UOC’s East Asian Studies program, which she directed between 2003 and February 2009. She was then appointed Assistant Director of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Organization and Faculty until September 2013. She has also been a lecturer at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and a lecturer in Chinese Culture and History at the Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional (School of International Trade).
She has been member of the UPF School of East Asian Studies research group, created by Dra. Dolors Folch, and has taken part in the following research projects, “China in Spain. The creation of a digitalized Corpus of Spanish documents about China from 1555 to 1900” (BHA 2003-078554) and “China in Spain II: The creation of a digitalized corpus of Spanish documents about China from 1555 to 1900” (BHA 2000-0939). He research has been focused on the relations between Spain and China in the 17th century, the construction of the image of China in the Modern era, the Ming-Qing dynastic transition and the relations between China, Philippines, Spain and Mexico. During the last years, she has focused on the figure of Victorio Riccio and his relations with Zheng Chenggong and the Spaniards in Manila. Her work also concerns aspects related to the role and image of Chinese women throughout history.
She has been a member of the European Association of Chinese Studies since 1998 and a member of the Board Committee of this European organization since 2006 until 2012.


17 March 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 17 March 2016, from 15:30-17:00 the next Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Lipsius 227. We have the pleasure to welcome Professor Matthew Cook from North Carolina Central University. Professor Cook will give a lecture on the interaction between local population groups and British colonials around the annexation of Sindh.

Title: “Beyond the Great Game: Colonialism and Merchant Culture in Sindh”

About the talk: The 1843 British annexation of Sindh—called the “unhappy valley” by Sir Richard Burton—is an important and often missed chapter in one of the most successful global campaigns of domination: the British Empire.  Against the backdrop of the “Imperial Great Game” and Britain’s global anti-Russian policy, historians often explain Sindh’s annexation by emphasizing political-economic factors.  They highlight links between a British military presence and South Asian merchants.  They focus on the role of local moneyed groups to argue that the British Empire—both in Sindh and on a global scale—provided property security and types of institutional stability that indigenous states were incapable of guaranteeing.  As a result, merchants abandoned indigenous states and shifted their support in favor of British sovereignty.

This paper looks beyond the Imperial Great Game and economic rationalism in the global expansion of the British Empire.  From the perspective of shared local bodies of dispositions and their socio-cultural distinctions, I focus on the annexation of Sindh to illustrate how Hindu merchants supported the British Empire.  I maintain that local support for the British hinged on internal social relations among Sindh’s Hindus and attempts to challenge distinctions of status within this community.  I argue that such local distinctions give important insights into larger processes (e.g., the establishment of global empires).  By emphasizing local dimensions, this paper rethreads indigenous voices into the contexture of the history of British colonialism in Sindh.

About the speaker:  Matthew A. Cook, Ph.D (2007) in Sociocultural Anthropology, Columbia University, is Professor of South Asian and Postcolonial Studies at North Carolina Central University.  His research focuses on the history and anthropology of South Asia, Sindh and colonialism.  His previous publications include:  Annexation and the Unhappy Valley: The Historical Anthropology of Sindh’s Colonization (Brill, 2016), Willoughby’s Minute: Treaty of Nownahar, Fraud and British Sindh (Oxford University Press, 2013), Observing Sindh: Selected Reports of Edward Patterson Del Host (Oxford University Press, 2008), and, with Michel Boivin, Interpreting the Sindhi World: Essays on Society and History (Oxford University Press, 2010).

10 March 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 10 March 2016, from 15:30-17:00 the next Cosmopolis seminar will take place in Lipsius 228. Dr. Thijs Weststeijn will present his NWO-VIDI project.

Title: ‘The Chinese Impact: Images and Ideas of China in the Dutch Golden Age’,

NWO-VIDI (2014-2019)  

About the talk: China holds a special place in the European imagination. The Chinese economy, politics, and culture are increasingly attracting foreigners, but preconceptions and stereotypes often distort the European perspective. This is not a new dynamic. It is rooted in the first period of intensive contacts, the 17th century, when the Low Countries were the European hub for products from and images of China, shaping Western conceptions that persist to the present day.

This research project aims at a comparative study of China’s impact on low and high culture in the Netherlands, from the Chinese ceramics in Rembrandt’s studio to the popular comparison of Spinoza to Confucius. It explores how the self-image of the fledgling Dutch Republic was honed in the Chinese mirror, from Delftware imitations of porcelain to ideals of religious toleration. Only interdisciplinary study does justice to the mutually dependent images by craftsmen and scholars from the Netherlands which were widely influential. Four sub-projects examine, respectively: the impact of Chinese ceramics and antiquities; Dutch printed publications featuring China; Chinese sources about the Dutch; and the interplay between material and intellectual culture. 

About the speaker: Thijs Weststeijn is associate professor or Art History at the University of Amsterdam, where he chairs the collaborative project The Chinese Impact: Images and Ideas of China in the Dutch Golden Age. He has studied the material and intellectual dimensions of early modern Dutch-Chinese interactions and is currently preparing an exhibition on this topic in the Frans Hals Museum.

18 February 2016 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 18 February 2016, from 15:30-17:00 ,our first seminar of 2016 will take place in Van Wijkplaats 2/002. We have the pleasure to welcome Professor Elizabeth Buettner from University of Amsterdam. Professor Buettner will give a lecture on imperial memories in post-colonial Europe.

Title: “Resurfacings: Comparing Memories of Empire in Postcolonial Europe”

About the talk: Just as memories of the past are never static but continually evolve in the aftermath of the events and issues being remembered, so too are they apt to wax and wane in terms of their presence in public culture.  Taking a comparative approach, this talk will consider some of the ways in which, and moments when, memories of overseas empires which came to an end after the Second World War resurfaced with particular intensity in Western European nations in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  Once located at the heart of far-flung empires, Western European ex-metropoles have since become as postcolonial as the nations over which they formerly ruled, with imperial histories becoming by turns the subjects of recollection, nostalgia, critique, and amnesia.

About the speaker: Elizabeth Buettner has been Professor of Modern History at the Universiteit van Amsterdam since 2014.  Her research centres on British imperial, social and cultural history since the late nineteenth century along with other European nations’ histories of late colonialism, decolonization, and their domestic ramifications. Her forthcoming book entitled Europe After Empire: Decolonization, Society and Culture (Cambridge University Press, April 2016) examines British, French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese histories of coming to terms with the end of empires after the Second World War, focusing on the domestic impact of decolonization, postcolonial migration, the emergence of contemporary multicultural societies, and selective memories of empire. In the coming years she looks forward to expanding upon previous research on postcolonial South Asian migration and cultures in diaspora, placing South Asians in Britain within wider transnational contexts. She received her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University and her MA and PhD from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. She taught in England at the University of York between 2000 and 2013, and in 2012-2013 held a senior research fellowship at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany in conjunction with a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. Her publications include Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford University Press, 2004); articles in the Journal of Modern History, History & Memory, Scottish Historical Review, Annales de Démographie Historique, Ab Imperio, Food and History, and the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History; and contributions to a number of edited collections.

21 January 2016 - seminar

On Thursday 21 January 2016, from 15:30-16:30,an informal seminar will take place in Lipsius 002. We have the pleasure to welcome Dr Sujit Sivasundaram from University of Cambridge. Dr Sivasundaram will give a presentation about the connections between nature, science and empire in the Bay of Bengal.


Title: ‘From the Winds of the Bay of Bengal: Science, Empire and Self’

About the talk: The East India Company’s Straits Settlements – Singapore, Malacca and Penang – expanded as strategic bases of trade on the sea route between India and China. This paper charts the consolidation of the Straits Settlements as a history of knowledge about the sea which went inland, and scientific understandings of the monsoon. In particular it interrogates the relative status of Malay and British agents and argues that there was a history of entanglement across this divide in the early nineteenth century. The material context of the Bay of Bengal – including the monsoon system, and its patterns of trade and migration – set the terms for Britain’s so-called imperial meridian. Yet the arrival of new machines and regimes of free trade governance – steam-ships, surveying instruments and the mobilisation of labour – reforged the relation between the body, knowledge and terrain, allowing the British to rule supreme, instrumentalising humans and nature. While charting this story of interconnections and disjunctures in social relations, the paper integrates some revealing Malay sources alongside British ones, showing how historians of science and empire may in turn diversify their vantage points.

About the speaker: Sujit Sivasundaram is Reader in World History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow in History at Gonville and Caius College.  His two monographs are: Nature and the Godly Empire: Science and Evangelical Mission in the Pacific, 1795-1850 (Cambridge UP: 2005) and Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka and the Bounds of an Indian Ocean Colony (Chicago UP: 2013). He is currently working on a book on the rise of the British Empire and the age of revolutions in the Indian and Pacific oceans. His published work has informed a debate about how to globalise the history of science. He is co-editor of The Historical Journal and a Council member of the Royal Historical Society.


9 December 2015 - Cosmopolis seminar

On Wednesday 9 December 2015, from 15.30-17.00 the next Cosmopolis Seminar will take place in Lipsius/002 and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to welcome Dr. Renisa Mawani as speaker. She will give a lecture entitled ‘Between Personhood and Property: The Legal Lives of the Ship’.

Title: ‘Between Personhood and Property: The Legal Lives of the Ship’

About the talk:
This talk draws from my current book, Across Oceans of Law, which follows the 1914 journey of the Komagata Maru, a British-built and Japanese-owned steamship that carried 376 Punjabi migrants from Hong Kong to Vancouver and Vancouver to Calcutta, with numerous stops in between. Rather than focus on questions of law and immigration, as many scholars have done, and done well, I consider the legal lives of the ship, the jurisdictional struggles in which it was embedded, and the histories of racial and colonial violence its journey concatenated. The talk is organized in two parts. The first steps away from the Komagata Maru’s voyage and enters the conflictual and unlikely worlds of the common law, admiralty law, and transatlantic slavery. Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the legal status of ships became a subject of debate among British and especially American jurists. The legal personhood of vessels, I contend, emerged out of maritime custom and admiralty law, had precedents in the common law, and became increasingly animated through the transatlantic slave trade. The positive personhood ascribed to the ship was inextricably linked to the negative personhood imposed on the slave. Part two turns to several key moments in the Komagata Maru’s journey as it crossed the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In disputes over jurisdiction, in passenger accounts of the middle passage, and in critiques of the inhumanity of British colonial rule, the ship’s voyage recalled transatlantic slavery, not as the past but as a recurring presence, one that called into question the presumed “freedom” of Indian mobility across the seas.

About the speaker:
Renisa Mawani (PhD, University of Toronto) is an Associate Professor of Sociology and inaugural Chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Mawani works in the fields of critical theory and colonial legal history and has published widely on law, colonialism, and legal geography. Her first book, Colonial Proximities (2009) details the legal encounters between indigenous peoples, Chinese migrants, “mixed-race” populations, and Europeans in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century British Columbia. Her second book, Across Oceans of Law (under contract with Duke University Press), is a global and maritime legal history of the Japanese ship, Komagata Maru. The book draws on oceans as method to trace the ship’s 1914 route across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, to advance the argument that legal forms of colonial and racial violence are deeply entangled, and to consider time as a critical register of empire. With Iza Hussin, she is co-editor of “The Travels of Law: Indian Ocean Itineraries” published in Law and History Review (2014). In 2015, she received the Killam Prize for Graduate Instruction, a Dean of Arts Faculty Research Award, and was named a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.

24 November 2015 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Tuesday 24 November an extra Cosmopolis seminar will take place from 15.15-16.45 in Lipsius 307. Dr. Eric Storm, lecturer in European History at the Institute for History, will share his draft for a  research proposal in NWO Free Competition.  Your input in most welcome!

Title:  ‘The transnational construction of national identities at world fairs, 1867-1939: Overcoming orientalism and methodological nationalism’

About the talk: Pavilions of European colonies at world fairs have generally been studied as the construction of orientalist images that were imposed by the imperialist center. European pavilions, on the contrary, are mostly examined by only referring to the domestic actors who organized, paid and designed the building that should represent their national identity. In order to overcome these one-sided interpretations (lack of agency and orientalism on one side, methodological nationalism on the other), I aim to analyse the transnational construction of national identities by focusing on the platform of world fairs themselves. I will argue that a limited number of successful templates –such as ethnographic villages, pavilions inspired by famous historical monuments or vernacular constructions – were developed over time and were used for the representation of the collective identities of both Asian and African colonies and European/American nation-states. Thus, the similarities between for instance the Quartier Marocain (1878), the Javanese kampong  of 1883 and the Village Suisse (1900) were larger than the differences.

About the speaker: Eric Storm lectures European History at Leiden University. His research interests include Spanish history and the construction of national and regional identities in Western Europe. He is author of The Culture of Regionalism: Art, Architecture and International Exhibitions in France, Germany and Spain, 1890-1939 (Manchester UP 2010) and The Discovery of El Greco: The Nationalization of Culture versus the Rise of Modern Art (translated from Dutch; Sussex AP 2016). He also co-edited Region and State in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Nation-Building, Regional Identities and Separatism (Palgrave 2012) and Colonial Soldiers in Europe, 1914-1945: 'Aliens in Uniform' in Wartime Societies (Routledge 2016).



20 November 2015 - Leiden Lecture Series in Japanese Studies

On Friday 20 November the lecture series in Japanese studies organizes a seminar that might be of interest to you. Professor Harald Fuess from Heidelberg University will give a lecture entitled ‘Weapons for the Revolution: the Meiji Restoration and the International Arms Trade’. The lecture takes place from 15.00-17.00  in Lipsius 011.
See more details:


13 November 2015 - Cosmopolis seminar

On Friday 13 November 2015, from 15.30-17.00 the next Cosmopolis Seminar will take place in the Van Wijkplaats 2/002 and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to welcome Dr. Arthur Weststeijn as speaker. He will give a lecture entitled ‘Towards an intellectual history of the early-mordern Dutch Empire: problems and prospects’.

About the talk:

There is no shortage of studies on the many political, economic, social and cultural aspects of Dutch overseas rule in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. But is it also possible to write an intellectual history of the early-modern Dutch empire? In the oft-quoted, authoritative judgment of Anthony Pagden, the answer must be no, since the Dutch “were never until the nineteenth century an imperial power in any meaningful sense, nor ever regarded themselves as such”. My talk aims to problematize this assumption and thereby explore the feasibility of, and the limits to, an intellectual history approach to early-modern Dutch colonial expansion, a “republican empire” that fused liberty at home with domination abroad.

About the speaker:

Dr. Arthur Weststeijn is the Director of Studies in History at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR) with expertise in the intellectual and cultural history of the Dutch Republic and its international perspectives during the period of transition from the Renaissance to the early Enlightenment between 1500-1700. He has specialized in exploring the ideological origins of the Dutch Empire by drawing on examples from classical Roman Empire and the Roman Republic. With an extensive list of publications on ‘Dutch Brazil’, ‘The VOC as Company-State’ and on the ideas of Johan and Pieter de la Court and other early modern European thinkers, Weststeijn has shown how colonial ideologies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were shaped by intellectual influences. 

12 October 2015 - Cosmopolis & AMT Seminar

On Monday 12 October 2015, from 15.00-17.00 a joint Cosmopolis & AMT Seminar will take place in the Green Room in de East Asian Library and will be followed by drinks in the Faculty Club. We have the pleasure to welcome Professor Tonio Andrade as speaker. He will give a lecture entitled ‘The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History’

About the talk: Gunpowder was invented around 800 C.E., and for more than five hundred years, the Chinese and their nearest neighbors led the word in gunpowder warfare. Yet historians have long argued that it was Europeans who eventually brought guns to their most lethal potential. To what extent was this true? And if it was true, what accounts for the military Great Divergence? Many explanations have been put forward, focusing on economics, agriculture, social structure, political philosophy, etc., and in recent years debate about the so-called Great Divergence has been vehement and voluminous. I believe that warfare—and the gun in particular—may help us untangle the controversy and come to a clearer understanding of when and why China and Europe diverged.

About the speaker: Tonio Andrade is a professor of history at Emory University, and he and his family live in Decatur, Georgia. His books include The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History (2015), Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West (2011), and How Taiwan became Chinese: Dutch, Spanish, and Han Colonization in the Seventeenth Century (2008). His articles have appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies, The Journal of World History, Late Imperial China, Itinerario, The Journal of Chinese Military History, The Journal of Medieval Military History, The Journal of Early Modern History, and other journals.


23 July 2015 - Cosmopolis seminar -CANCELLED


18 and 19 June 2015 - Cosmopolis Conference Bloemfontein

On 18 and 19 June the Second Cosmopolis Conference will take place at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. This year’s theme is ‘Abolition and the Idea of Slavery in Global Perspective, 1750-1950’. As the title shows, the conference aims to bring together ideas and practices from all over the world. This is not only reflected in the topics that are discussed, but also in the international speakers that will share their ideas with a number of staff members and students of the Institute for History who are working on the topic.
The conference is organised by the Cosmopolis programme and the University of the Free State and is supported by Itinerario.

17 June 2015: Modern South Asia Seminar

On Wednesday 17 June a Modern South Asia Seminar will be organized, entitled ‘South Asia in World Affairs: Interrogating Politics, Security and Development’.The seminar is organized by the Erasmus Mundus guest staff members and researchers and takes place from 9.15-13.00 in Huizinga Building.

Everyone is most welcome to attend!  See the poster for details. For more information please contact Dr. Nanda Kishor :

2 June 2015 - Cosmopolis Symposium

BA Theses Presentations

This event will be held in Lipsius 227. Please if you would like to attend!

09:00 Coffee and Tea

09:15 Welcome

Presentations (10 mins presentation; 10 mins discussion)
09:20 ‘The Social Lives of the Dutch in Bengal: An interpretation of the Socio-cultural Interaction of the VOC Officials in Dutch Bengal in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’
Jafrin Rezwana

09:40 ‘Dutch Women and Their Socio-Political Association with Indonesia, 1945-1980s: A Case Study Approach'
Widya Fitria Ningsih

10:00  ‘Mapping the lives of native rural women in Sri Lanka during the mid-eighteenth century’
Sujeewa Bandara

10:20  ‘Dutch Private Trade in the Indian Ocean, 1740-1780’
Manish Kumar

10:40 ‘Solvyns and Brandes: Colonial Art at the Intersection of Ethnography and Natural Science’
Neilabh Singh

11:00 Coffee/Tea break

11:20 ‘Hidden Stars in the Sky: Dutch Orientalism in the Seventeenth Century’
Zhiyuan Yu

11:40 ‘The Arabs in The Lesser Sunda Islands 1870-1942’
Tika Ramadini

12:00  ‘The Rise of Chinese Entrepreneurs in the Kretek Industry c.1910-1940’
Thanat Preeyanont

12:20  ‘The Expansion of Dutch Colonial Power and The Transformation of the Sintang Environment in the 1913-1941’
Annisa Meutia Ratri

12:40 ‘Indonesian Law Students in Rijksuniversiteit Leiden during 20th Century Late Colonial Period’
L ouie Buana

13:00 ‘Comparative study of Materia Medica on the move in Malabar and the Netherlands from the early 17th to the 18th century’
Ayushi Dhawan 

13:20 Lunch in the Huizinga Garden

19 May 2015 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Tuesday 19 May 2015, from 15:00-17:00, the next Cosmopolis Seminar will take place in Lipsius 148 and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to welcome Mahmood Kooria, one of our Cosmopolis PhD students, who will share a few fascinating aspects of his doctoral research with us in his talk entitled ‘A Text of the Seven Worlds: Conceptualizing the Legal Cosmopolis’.

About the talk:
Can you imagine the Dutch, the Germans, the French and the British uniting either in their colonial ventures in Asia/Africa or in their diverse clashes in Europe? Believe it or not, it did happen in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century. A particular Islamic legal text titled Minhāj al-Ṭālibīn, on which my doctoral dissertation is based, bound them together. Many European “fuqaha” recognized the importance of this text as an essential manual to administer their Muslim colonial subjects. Taking this discourse into analysis along with the discursive traditions of many Muslim worlds, I would elaborate on the concept of “legal cosmopolis” as an effective tool to understand the intermixed legal scapes of the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean arenas.

About the speaker:
Mahmood Kooria is a doctoral candidate at the Leiden University Institute for History. His dissertation focuses on the movement of Islamic legal texts across the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean worlds and on the textual discursive development of Shāfiʿī school of law across different geographical and chronological nodal points. He read his M.A. and M.Phil. in History at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has been part of the Cosmopolis Program since August 2012.


29 April 2015 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Wednesday 29 April 2015, from 15:00-17:00, the next Cosmopolis Seminar of 2015 will take place in Lipsius 148 and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to have our own Cosmopolis supervisor, Prof.dr. Jos Gommans, as speaker. Due to his sabbatical he is not teaching this year, so he is very eager to share his views with our wider Cosmopolis community in our seminar. He will give a talk entitled The World as Stage: ‘Seventeenth-century Commensurabilities between Amsterdam and Agra’.

About the talk:
In this talk I will discuss two paintings by the seventeenth-century Dutch artist Willem Schellinks, the first ever European artist who expressed his admiration for Indian art. The paintings quite accurately depict an important news-event in India: the bloody Mughal succession struggle of the late 1650’s. This raises questions about the various information channels between the Dutch Republic and Mughal India. More importantly, though, what does the seemingly empathic way in which Schellinks conveys the event tell us about the commensurability between a Dutch artist in Amsterdam and the Mughal court in Agra? I will argue that we need a new vocabulary of true global coverage to fully grasp such freshly revealed Eurasian conjunctures.

About the speaker:
Jos J.L. Gommans is professor of Colonial and Global History at Leiden University. He is the author of three monographs on early-modern South Asian history: The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire, 1710-1780, (Delhi: Oxford University Press 1999), Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and High Roads to Empire (London: Routledge 2002) and with Piet Emmer, Rijk aan de rand van de wereld: De geschiedenis van Nederland oversee 1600-1800 (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, 2012). He edited several volumes on South Asia’s interaction with the outside world (with Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe) and just recently, together with Catia Antunes, on colonial history: Exploring the Dutch Empire; Agents, Networks and Institution, 1600-2000 (London: Bloomsbury, 2005). He produced various Dutch source publications including one archival inventory and two historical VOC-atlases. From 2000-2010 he served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient and currently is a member of the editorial boards of Itinerario and The Rijksmuseum Bulletin. He contributes regularly to the Encyclopaedia of Islam and just recently to the Cambridge World History. As (co-)director of the NWO-Horizon project on Eurasian Empires ( and the Cosmopolis-programme ( his current work takes an ever more global and connective turn by exploring various early-modern manifestations of Eurasian Cosmopolitanism. In 2014 he was elected member of Academia Europaea.


5 March 2015 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 5 March 2015, from 15:00-17:00, the next Cosmopolis Seminar of 2015 will take place in Huizinga 023B and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to have Dr. Guido van Meersbergen as speaker. He will give a talk entitled ‘From the Sources to the Discourses: Reading the VOC Archives Against the Grain’.

About the talk:
The VOC archives in The Hague represent an incredibly rich repository that has long been mined by scholars researching the history of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the political and dynastic histories of Asian states, and socio-economic conditions in early modern Asia, besides a vast variety of other topics. For all the importance placed on what Company agents said, it is surprising that not more attention has been paid to how they said it. In this paper I suggest that close reading of VOC sources “against the grain” allows for a deeper understanding of the cultural history of the Euro-Asian encounter. In particular, this technique enables one to tease out the categories and assumptions which framed Company agents’ perceptions of the Asian world and informed their responses to it. Drawing my examples from seventeenth-century Mughal-Dutch interactions, the larger claim I will advance is that scrutiny of Company discourse holds a rich potential for the study of cross-cultural contact in early modern Asia and the mentalités of early modern European traders and administrators overseas more widely.

About the speaker:
Guido van Meersbergen studied history in Amsterdam and London, where he completed his PhD at University College London (UCL) with a thesis entitled Ethnography and Encounter: Dutch and English Approaches to Cross-Cultural Contact in Seventeenth-Century South Asia. He is currently working as a teaching fellow at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and the Universiteit Leiden.

12 February 2015 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 12 February 2015, from 15:00-17:00, the first Cosmopolis Seminar of 2015 will take place in Lipsius/307 and will be followed by drinks.. We have the pleasure to welcome Professor Leonard Blussé as speaker. He will give a talk entitled ‘The Kaibalidaishiji (1600-1800), an unusual urban history of Batavia (Jakarta)’.

About the talk:
Histories of colonial cities are mostly written by their  colonizing founders  in their own languages, and thus we are stuck with top-down histories in English, French, Dutch or other European languages. But what happens if one of the ‘subaltern’ ethnicities who are part of the mixed town population see them themselves as the cofounders of a colonial city and write their own take on the city’s history?
The Kaibalidaishiji  or ‘Annals of the Kingdom of Kelaba ‘ written around 1800  by an anonymous Chinese author around 1800 is a rare example of such a kind of history. In my lecture I shall first be dealing with the quite rich body of Chinese archival  documents that the University Library  treasures here at  Leiden  and then focus on the composition, contents and style of the Kaibalidaishiji.

About the speaker:
Leonard Blussé is Professor Emeritus at Leiden University. His research interests include Early Modern History of Southeast and East Asia, the History of Overseas Chinese and Global History. He is the founding father of the Encompass program and its predecessor TANAP.

8 December 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Monday 8 December, from 15:00-17:00, the third Cosmopolis Seminar will take place in Lipsius room 227 and will be followed by drinks. We have the pleasure to welcome Prof.Dr. Robert Cribb as speaker. Professor Cribb will give a talk entitled '1965 in Indonesia and the laws of conspiracy. Conspiracy is everywhere but often more in the mind than in reality. In this presentation, Robert Cribb uses the 1965 coup in Indonesia and cases from China and Japan as a basis for developing some general rules about conspiracy and some tools for deciding between suspicion and scepticism.

About the speaker: Robert Cribb is Professor of Asian History at the Australian National University. He is a specialist on the modern history of Indonesia and has recently published Wild man from Borneo: a cultural history of the orangutan (with Helen Gilbert and Helen Tiffin) and Historical Atlas of Northeast Asia 1590-2010: Korea, Manchuria, Mongolia, Eastern Siberia (with Li Narangoa). He is currently completing a book on the war crimes trials of Japanese in Southeast Asia after the Second World War. He is visiting Leiden as a guest of the KITLV.

26 November 2014 - Cleveringa lecture Professor Carol Gluck

The American historian and Japan specialist Carol Gluck is the new Leiden Cleveringa professor for the 2014-2015 academic year. On 26 November 2014 she will give the Cleveringa inaugural lecture, in which she will examine how World War II is commemorated in Asia. This lecture will start at 16:15 and is held at the Academy Building.

Please register to attend the lecture.

About the speaker and the talk:

Gluck (born 1941) is Professor of History at Columbia University and also conducts research on modern Japan and East Asia, international relations, historiography and collective memories in Asia and the West. This combination makes her an ideal Cleveringa professor, according to Wim van den Doel, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. ‘In the Netherlands, lectures about World War II are often about the horrors that occurred in Europe. We would also like to look at Asia. After all, the Second World War was really a global conflict, with dramatic effects for many people in both Asia and Europe. That’s why it’s important to consider the significance of the war for another part of the world.’ In her inaugural lecture Gluck will discuss how people in Asia remember World War II. ‘It is still a very big and current topic. There are all sorts of lingering issues involved, such as calls for apologies from Japan for the suffering it inflicted on other countries,’ comments Van den Doel.

3 November 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On 3 November 2014, Prof.Dr. Gita Dharampal-Frick will give a talk entitled “Before European Hegemony: Early Modern German Empirical Discourse on India (1500-1750)”. The seminar will start at 3 pm in the conference room, Huizinga building 2nd floor (not Vrieshof 2/ room 4 as previously stated!) and will be followed by drinks. All are welcome!

About the speaker:
Gita Dharampal-Frick, Head of the Department of History at the South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, teaches modern South Asian history. Her publications and research foci deal with topics ranging from pre-modern transcultural interactions between Europe and India, the maritime cultural history of the Indian Ocean region (1400-1800), medical history, religio-ritual transformations (1500-2000), the socio-cultural and political history of the colonial period, in general, with a special emphasis on Gandhi’s movement of political and cultural resurgence.

22 October 2014 - Lecture Prof.dr. J.M. Otto

On Wednesday 22 October Philips van Leyden b.p. student society for roman law and european legal history organises a lecture on adat and land law in Indonesia. Professor J.M. Otto will give a lecture entitled 'Van Vollenhoven and 'his' adat law, history or hot news? A Leiden tradition of applied socio-legal research'. The meeting will start at 17:30 with drinks in room B3.41; the lecture will start at 18:30 in room B.0.32 of the Kamerling Onnes Building (KOG), Steenschuur 25. Everyone is welcome!

About the speaker: Prof. dr. Jan Michiel Otto (1952) is professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries and director of the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Development. He studied law at the University of Leiden and specialised in development administration at both Leiden and the Free University of Amsterdam. He has published extensively on various topics of law and administration in developing countries, including Indonesia, China, Egypt and South Africa. In recent years he has published among others on issues of 'good governance', as well as on comparative sharia and national law in the Muslim world.

22 October 2014 - BA Graduation ceremony

On Wednesday 22 October the BA graduation ceremony will take place between 11.00-13.00 at the Klein Auditorium of the Academy building. During this celebration ceremony last year's batch of Encompass students will receive their BA certificate. Please feel free to attend the ceremony.

13 October 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On 13 October 2014, Dr Christian De Vito (University of Leiceste/IISH) will give a talk entitled ‘Micro-spatial history: Towards a new Global history’. The seminar will start at 4pm in Vrieshof 2/ room 4 and will be followed by drinks. All are welcome!

About the talk:
Dr Christian De Vito will present a paper entitled ‘Micro-spatial history: Towards a new Global history’. The paper has been sent around. If you haven't received it please contact Esther Zwinkels

About the speaker:
Christian G. De Vito is Research Associate at the University of Leicester and Honorary Fellow at the International Institute of Social History (IISH), Amsterdam. His current research addresses convict labour and convict circulation in late-colonial and post-colonial Latin America (ca. 1760s-1898). He has published extensively on global labour history, social history, and the history of punishment and psychiatry.

4 June 2014 - Cosmopolis Symposium

This event will be held in Lipsius 148. Please register if you would like to attend!

09:00 Coffee and Tea
09:15 Welcome
09:20 Presentations  

09:20 Water Management in the Prantas River, 10th-16th Centuries - Tjahjono Prasodjo

09:40 Mountain Crossroads: the Tomb of Sunan Tembayat in Mountain Jabalkat as Source of Javanese Religious Authority in the 15th-17th Centuries - Adieyatna Fajri

10:00 Seeing Through the ‘Dutch’ Eyes: South Indian Temples, Gods, and Religious Practices in the 16th-17th Centuries - Meera Menon

10:20 Native Informants and the Construction of Papuan Stereotypes - Ligia Giay

10:40 The 1706 Slave Conspiracy in Dutch Mauritius: ‘An Odd Case of Slave Resistance’ - Joël Edouard

11:00 Coffee/Tea break
11:20 Presentations

11:20 Widjojo Koesoemo Between Tradition and Science, 1830-1939 - Ghamal Satya Muhammad

11:40 The Response of the Chinese Community in the Dutch East Indies to the 1911 Revolution - Chunkin Fok

12:00 The Wild Schools Ordinance in the Dutch East Indies, 1932-1933 - Bagus Sugiharta

12:20 Perspectives of Obstetric Care in Java around the 1930s - Hui-hsuan Chen

12:40 Defending the Newly Independent State: Indonesian Economic Policy during the Revolution Period, 1945-1949 - Wildan Sena Utama

13:00 Lunch in the Huizinga Garden

1 May 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Thursday 1 May 2014, Professor emeritus Leonard Blussé will give a talk entitled "Rivers. Arteries of Civilization in Southeast Asia". The seminar will start at 3pm in De Vrieshof 2, lecture room 2. All are welcome! After the seminar, drinks will be served in Het Pakhuis (Doelensteeg 8).


Visit by Universitas Indonesia and Universitas Gadjah Mada

On March 26, the presidents of Universitas Indonesia (Jakarta) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (Yogyakarta) visited Leiden. During this visit, the agreement concerning Cosmopolis program The Making of Religious Traditions in Indonesia: History and Heritage in Global Perspective (1600-1940) was signed by the universities of Leiden and Yogyakarta. The meeting took place in the Academy Building. This group photograph was taken with the representatives of all three universities.

21 March 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On Friday 21 March, Eric Vanhaute will give a seminar. His talk is entitled 'Peasants of the World, Worlds of Peasantries: towards a global history.' The seminar will start at 3pm in Huizinga 004. All are welcome!

Dr. Prof. dr. Vanhaute is Head of the Communities-Comparisons-Connections program at Ghent University, Belgium. He is author of World History. An Introduction (Routledge, 2013). His main research interests are the history of labor markets and labor strategies of families, as well as world history and world-systems analysis.


14 February 2014 - Cosmopolis Seminar

On 14 February 2014, Prof. dr. Lissa Roberts (University of Twente) will give a talk entitled "Mediation and Material Agency". The seminar will start at 3pm in Huizinga 023b. All are welcome!

About the talk:
Providing an exhaustive categorization of historical go-betweens would be a difficult task.  Obvious categories include marriage brokers - perhaps the original go-betweens; provisioners, who mediated between supply and demand; interpreters, who assigned meaning to the utterances of one party with the express purpose of directing the understanding of another party; diplomats and spies, both of which tended to work as much for themselves as for the masters they served.  As part of this exercise, one might also question whether the category of 'cultural broker' can be readily distinguished from other categories - say, 'political', 'economic' or 'commercial' broker?  And to add to the complexity, is it justified to extend the designation 'go-between' to non-humans?  The purpose of this colloquium is to examine what it means to speak of material mediators. In more concrete terms, we will do this by exploring the ways in which material objects such as books, maps and illustrations, porcelain, naturalia, models and instruments have performed acts of inter-cultural mediation.

Aboute the speaker:
Lissa Roberts is professor of long term development of science and technology at the University of Twente. She received her PhD in European cultural and intellectual history at U.C.L.A., where she wrote a dissertation entitled From Natural Theology to Naturalism: Diderot and the Perception of Rapports. Since that time, she has held positions at a number of universities in both the United States (including UCLA, University of California at Irvine, Washington University and San Diego State University) and the Netherlands.

South Asia and the Long 1930s: Appropriations and Afterlives

We are pleased to announce an international conference on the theme of "South Asia and the Long 1930s: Appropriations and Afterlives", to be held at Leiden 6 and 7 December 2013. The conference is convened by Nira Wickramasinghe (LIAS), Sanjukta Sunderason (LIAS) and Carolien Stolte (Cosmopolis). The conference brings together South Asian historians who will place a particular focus on the complex forms and terrains of the political, social and cultural currents of 1930s.

Please see here for the programme.

29 November - Excursion and Seminar, Ethnology Museum

On 29 November at 2pm, Cosmopolis will visit the "Longing for Mecca" exhibition at the Ethnology Museum. More on the exhibition information can be found here. Never before has a Dutch museum presented an exhibition of this magnitude focusing on the Hajj. Objects, personal stories and in-depth reports provide a comprehensive picture of this religious and ritual journey. The exhibition is a collaboration with the British Museum in London, where the exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam attracted large numbers of visitors in 2012.

After visiting the exhibition, Prof. Finbarr Barry Flood of NYU will deliver the Gerbrands Lecture. His talk, entitled "Sanctified Sandals - Imaging the Prophet in an Era of Technological Reproduction", will start at 3.45 pm. If you would like to join us for this excursion, please sign up by Tuesday 26 November.

Cosmopolis Seminar 15 November 2013, 15:00

On Friday 15 November, Dr. David Kloos (International Institute for Asian Studies) will speak in the Cosmopolis Seminar. The Seminar will start at 3pm in room 147 of the Lipsius Building. All are welcome! His talk is entitled: "Images of piety and violence in Aceh, Indonesia."

The Acehnese are widely known, stereotypically, as a ‘pious’ and ‘rebellious’ people. In this talk I will address the question how these images of piety and violence were constructed in the first place, and how they have been reproduced and adjusted over time. At the same time, I ask what impact these images have on Acehnese society today. 

The speaker:
Dr. David Kloos is a research fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies. He is currently preparing the book manuscript ‘Becoming better Muslims: Religious authority and ethical improvement in Aceh, Indonesia.’ This is a partly historical, partly anthropological study of religious practice in the Indonesian province Aceh. He shows that people in Aceh see their religion as part of a broader, personal and lifelong process of ethical improvement. In the study of Aceh, and of Muslim Southeast Asia more generally, these expressions of ‘inner Islam’ have been largely neglected. The study of Islam increasingly takes places within a framework of political change or radicalization. This is particularly true for Aceh, where a local formulation of Islamic (Shari’a) law has been implemented since 2003. In contrast, this study focuses on how ordinary Acehnese Muslims practice and experience their faith, how they deal with institutionalized forms of Islam, and how, as a part of their everyday lives, they respond to and appropriate officialized norms.

Cosmopolis Seminar 18 October 2013, 15:00

On Friday 18 October, dr. Gijsbert Oonk of the University of Rotterdam will speak in the Cosmopolis Seminar. The seminar starts at 3pm in the Conference Room. All are welcome!

Settled Strangers aims at understanding the social, economic and political evolution of the transnational migrant community of Gujarati traders and merchants in East Africa. The history of South Asians in East Africa is neither part of the mainstream national Indian history nor that of East African history writing. This is surprising, because South Asians in East Africa outnumbered the Europeans with ten to one. Moreover, their overall economic contribution and political significance may be more important than the history of the colonizers. This book is an attempt to provide some balance in the form of a history of the South Asians in East Africa through the lens of the actors themselves. It studies the kind of social, economic and political adjustments the emigrant Gujaratis had to make in the course of this migration. By using insights from the social sciences, including concepts like cultural capital, family firm, transnationality, middleman minorities and cultural change, this book aims to achieve a broader understanding of communities that do not belong to nations, yet are part of national states. 

The speaker:
Gijsbert Oonk is Head of the Department of History and Associate Professor of African and South Asian History at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He also serves as an editor for the Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient (JESHO) and for Geschiedenis Magazine (History Magazine, published in Dutch). In 2011-2012 he is the Alfred D. Chandler Jr. International Visiting Fellow in Business History at the Harvard Business School. Oonk specializes in business, migration and economic history. He is particularly interested in the role of South Asian (Indian) migrants and settlers in East Africa. He recently published a biography of the South Asian business family Karimjee Jivanjee. The Karimjee Jivanjee Family: Merchant Princes of East Africa, 1800-2000 (Amsterdam: Pallas, 2009).

Last Modified: 25-11-2016