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
- Asia-Africa Development Divergence: A Question of Intent, London: Zed Books, 2015
- 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 Henk Schulte Nordholt] Environment, Trade and Society in Southeast Asia: A Longue Durée perspective, Leiden: Brill, 2015
- [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 Articles and Chapters 
- 'From tribes to transaction costs: how two anthropologists of Southeast Asia anticipated the New Institutional Economics', in Alicia Schrikker and Jeroen Touwen (editors), Promises and Predicaments: Trade and Entrpreneurship in Colonial and Independent Indonesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Singapore: NUS Press, 2015), pp. 163-178
- 'The origins of Southeast Asian nations: a question of timing', in John Breuilly (editor), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 263-86
- 'Agrarian roots of industrial growth: rural development in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa', Development Policy Review 30/S1 (2012), pp. 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
- [with Maria J.C. Schouten and Alex J. Ulaen] 'Preserving the peace in post-New Order Minahasa', in: Gerry van Klinken and Henk Schulte Nordholt (editors), Renegotiating Boundaries: local politics in post-Soeharto Indonesia (Leiden: KITLV Press, 2007), pp. 307-26
- '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
- 'Conflict, justice, and the stranger-king: indigenous roots of colonial rule in Indonesia and elsewhere', Modern Asian Studies 38 (2004), pp. 85-144


I am involved in a range of Leiden University programmes, including BA South and Southeast Asian Studies, BA International Studies, and MA Asian Studies. Courses I teach or contribute to include:

BA South and SE Asian Studies 
- State, Politics and Economy in Modern South and Southeast Asia (Year 1)
- Politics of Southeast Asia (Year 2)
- Anthropology and Sociology of Southeast Asia (Year 2)
- Heritage of South and Southeast Asia (Years 2 and 3)
- Futures of South and Southeast Asia (Years 2 and 3)

BA International Studies
- Current Issues (Year 1)
- History by Region: South and Southeast Asia (Year 1)
- Politics by Region: South and Southeast Asia (Year 2)

MA Asian Studies
- Introduction to Asian Studies
- Histories of Southeast Asia
- Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia
- Political Economy of Southeast Asia

I also supervise various PhD students (see below) and MA dissertations.

PhD supervision

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

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

Natalia Laskowska
Apostasy in Islam: Southeast Asian Perspectives
dissertation submitted 2013
(with Kees van Dijk, KITLV and Piotr Balcerowicz, University of Warsaw)

F.X. Widiarso
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry, 1945-1955
project started 2011
(with Remco Raben, Utrecht University)

Ariel Lopez
Religious Conversion in North Sulawesi, 1830-1900
project started 2012
(with Jos Gommans, Institute of History, UL)

Frank Ochsendorf
Foreign Investment and Society in Indonesia, 1910-1960
project started 2012
(with Thomas Lindblad, UL)

Mark van der Water
Foreign Investment and Economic Development in Indonesia, 1910-1960
project started 2012
(with Thomas Lindblad, UL)

Wija Wijayanto
Mass Media and Politics in the Era Reformasi
project started 2012
(with Ward Berenschot, KITLV)

Frans Stoelinga
Albert Winsemius and the Origins of Singapore's Development Miracle
project started 2013
(with Roel van der Veen, University of Amsterdam)

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.

Various grants over 2012-14 from the Developmental Regimes in Africa (DRA) programme of the Overseas Development Institute (London) for participation in events in Africa and elsewhere with a view to disseminating research findings and policy recommendations emerging from Tracking Development.

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

Within Leiden University (current)
- Chair, Departmental Teaching Committee, MA Asian Studies
- member of the Departmental Board, BA South and Southeast Asian Studies
- member of the Commissie Wetenschapsbeoefening, Faculty of Humanities

- member of editorial advisory board, International Journal of Indonesian Studies, 2013-present
- member of board of advisors, CHATSEA (The Challenges of the Agrarian Transition in Southeast Asia, a major collaborative research initiative sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), 2008-present
- member of advisory committee, Van Vollenhoven Instituut en Adatrechtfonds van de Vereniging KITLV, 2006-present
- member of editorial advisory board, Moussons: Social Science Research on Southeast Asia, 1999-present
- Southeast Asia editor, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 2007-2013
- coordinator for Asia, Tracking Development (see above under 'Grants and awards'), 2006-2011
- core group member, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Knowledge Platform 'Growth and Equity', 2009-2011
- book reviews editor, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 1997-2011
- member of editorial board, Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History, 2002-2007
- editor and contributor, Indonesian Environmental History Newsletter, 1993-2003

Last Modified: 11-12-2015