Prof. dr. D.E.F. (David) Henley

  • Professor
  • Contemporary Indonesia Studies

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2226
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS Indonesie
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 0.05a

Fields of interest

My fields of interest cover the politics, history and geography of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. Within Indonesia I have a special interest in the island of Sulawesi. I have published on nationalism and regionalism, on environmental, demographic and agricultural history, on colonial expansion, on political institutions and ideology, and on economic development and finance. My most recent research has been on the comparative economic histories of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and on processes of state formation in Southeast Asia.


PhD in Human Geography, Australian National University, 1992
BA in Geography, Cambridge University, 1985

Professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies, Leiden University, 2010-present
Researcher, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), 1993-2011
Lecturer in Asian Studies, Griffith University, Brisbane, 1991-1992

Key publications

Authored monographs 
- Fertility, Food and Fever: Population, Economy and Environment in North and Central Sulawesi, 1600-1930, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2005
- Jealousy and Justice: The Indigenous Roots of Colonial Rule in Northern Sulawesi, Amsterdam: Free University Press, 2002
- Nationalism and Regionalism in a Colonial Context: Minahasa in the Dutch East Indies, Leiden: KITLV Press, 1996

Edited volumes
- [with Aditya Goenka] Southeast Asia's Credit Revolution: From Moneylenders to Microfinance, London: Routledge, 2010
- [with Peter Boomgaard] Credit and Debt in Indonesia, 860-1930: From Peonage to Pawnshop, From Kongsi to Cooperative, Singapore: ISEAS, 2009
- [with Jamie S. Davidson] The Revival of Tradition in Indonesian Politics: The Deployment of Adat from Colonialism to Indigenism, London: Routledge, 2007
- [with Peter Boomgaard and Manon Osseweijer] Muddied Waters: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Management of Forests and Fisheries in Island Southeast Asia, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2005
- [with Peter Boomgaard] Smallholders and Stockbreeders: Histories of Foodcrop and Livestock Farming in Southeast Asia, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2004
- [with Peter Boomgaard and Freek Colombijn] Paper Landscapes: Explorations in the Environmental History of Indonesia. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1997

Selected journal articles
- 'Agrarian roots of industrial growth: rural development in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa', Development Policy Review 30/1 (2012): 25-47.
- 'Swidden farming as an agent of environmental change: ecological myth and historical reality in Indonesia', Environment and History 17 (2011), pp. 525-554
- 'Forced labour and rising fertility in colonial Indonesia', Asian Population Studies 7 (2011), pp. 3-13
- [with Ian Caldwell] 'Kings and covenants: stranger-kings and social contract in Sulawesi', Indonesia and the Malay World 36 (2008), pp. 269-291
- [with Jamie S. Davidson] 'In the name of adat: regional perspectives on reform, tradition, and democracy in Indonesia', Modern Asian Studies 42 (2008), pp. 815-852
- 'Natural resource management: historical lessons from Indonesia', Human Ecology 36 (2008), pp. 273-290
- 'The fate of federalism: North Sulawesi from Persatuan Minahasa to Permesta', Moussons: Social Science Research on Southeast Asia, 11 (2007), pp. 89-105
- 'From low to high fertility in Sulawesi (Indonesia) during the colonial period: explaining the "first fertility transition"', Population Studies 60 (2006), pp. 309-327
- 'Population and the means of subsistence: explaining the historical demography of island Southeast Asia, with particular reference to Sulawesi', Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 36 (2005), pp. 337-372
- 'Agrarian change and diversity in the light of Brookfield, Boserup, and Malthus: historical illustrations from Sulawesi, Indonesia', Asia Pacific Viewpoint 46 (2005), pp. 153-172
- 'Conflict, justice, and the stranger-king: indigenous roots of colonial rule in Indonesia and elsewhere', Modern Asian Studies 38 (2004), pp. 85-144
- 'Malaria past and present: the case of North Sulawesi, Indonesia', Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 32 (2001), pp. 595-607
- 'Ethnogeographic integration and exclusion in anticolonial nationalism: Indonesia and Indochina', Comparative Studies in Society and History 37 (1995), pp. 286-324


I am involved in a range of Leiden University courses and programmes including the MA Indonesian Studies programme and the following undergraduate courses:
- State, Politics and Economy in Modern South and Southeast Asia
- Politics of Southeast Asia
- South and Southeast Asian Futures
- Anthropology and Sociology of Modern Day Southeast Asia

PhD supervision

Ahmad Helmy Fuady
Elites and Economic Policies in Indonesia and Nigeria, 1966-1998
degree expected 2012
(with Peter Boomgaard, University of Amsterdam)

Un Leang
A Comparative Study of Education and Development in Post-Conflict Cambodia and Uganda
degree expected 2012
(with Henk Schulte Nordholt, University of Amsterdam)

F.X. Widiarso
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry, 1945-1955
project started 2011

Grants and awards

For Tracking Development, an international, multidisciplinary research project on the reasons for African economic retardation in relation to Southeast Asian development success: € 2.5 million from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the five-year period 2006-2011. The successful proposal was co-authored by Deborah Bryceson of the African Studies Centre, Leiden. 

Senior Visiting Fellowship, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, January-October 2005.

Various NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) fieldwork grants for myself and other members of the EDEN (Ecology, Demography and Economy in Nusantara) research project of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), 1993-2003.

Administration and service to the profession

- Coordinator for Asia, Tracking Development (see above under 'Grants and awards'), 2006-present
- Core group member, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Knowledge Platform 'Growth and Equity', 2009-present
- Member of Board of Advisors, CHATSEA (The Challenges of the Agrarian Transition in Southeast Asia), Université de Montréal, 2008-present
- Member of Advisory Committee, Van Vollenhoven Instituut en Adatrechtfonds van Vereniging KITLV, 2006-present
- Southeast Asia editor, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 2007-present
- Member of editorial board, Moussons: Social Science Research on Southeast Asia, 1999-present
- Member of editorial board, Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History, 2002-2007
- Editor and contributor, Indonesian Environmental History Newsletter, 1993-2003
- Book reviews editor, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 1997-2011

Last Modified: 31-01-2013