Gepubliceerd op 04-10-2022

PhD Candidate: Children’s Upbringing in Islamic Institutions in Colonial/Postcolonial Indonesia (1808-1984)

Job description

Are you interested in how Islamic organisations in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia practised charity in children’s homes? Then join us as a PhD candidate in the NWO-funded project ‘Child separation: politics and practices of children’s upbringing by faith-based organisations in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia (1808-1984)’.

The Radboud Institute for Culture and History seeks a PhD candidate for the NWO-funded project ‘Child separation: politics and practices of children’s upbringing by faith-based organisations in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia (1808-1984)’. This project investigates how children from various ethnic-cultural groups in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia came to be separated from their parents to be fostered, adopted or raised in faith‐based children’s homes. The project concentrates on how Protestant, Catholic and Islamic actors practised charity in the upbringing and education of these children. It analyses the entanglement of the practices of these faith-based institutions with colonial and national politics. Interference with children’s upbringing was key to Dutch imperial ambitions to reshape the local populations of colonial Indonesia into governable subjects. Such policies and practices did not end with the process of decolonisation and nation-building of the Republic of Indonesia.

The goal of the project is to trace the voices and perspectives of affected children and their descendants. Through reconstructions of life stories, the project will furthermore bring institutional records into conversation with personal memories and family archives. The project moreover aims to create a digital map of faith-based children’s homes and orphanages, which will help former pupils and their relatives to trace possibly fractured family lines.

Your research will focus on Islamic children’s homes and orphanages in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia, their policies and practices, the main actors and pupils, as well as the relations with consecutive administrations and similar Christian faith-based institutions. You will concentrate on the initiatives of Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, Islamic charities which, already in the colonial period, initiated numerous children’s homes, orphanages as well as European-style elite boarding schools in the Indonesian archipelago.

Through fieldwork in Indonesia you will trace and chart archival collections and data relevant to these institutions. You will carry out an in‐depth historical analysis for two location‐based case studies of Islamic institutions in which both primary sources such as archival records and published sources are linked with oral history interviews with some of those who were brought up there as a child; write life stories of some of these former pupils brought up in Islamic orphanages, children’s homes and similar institutions, based on archival findings combined with their personal sources; contribute historical resources relating to Islamic institutional or out‐of‐home care in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia for a database and interactive map of child separation projects in colonial/postcolonial Indonesia.

You will write a PhD thesis and participate in the Graduate School for the Humanities, which includes taking courses for approximately six months and providing academic service to the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University, also for six months. Your research will be embedded in the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH), which focuses on understanding the complexities of Europe in a changing world, and of the changing world of which Europe is a part. You will collaborate closely with the researchers in the project who focus on Protestant and Catholic child separation projects. In addition, you will work with scientific and societal partners in Indonesia, where part of your research will take place. During your research in Indonesia, you will be hosted by the Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta.


  • You hold a Master’s or comparable degree in Cultural, Social or Gender History, Asian Studies, or a comparable discipline.
  • Demonstrable experience in historical fieldwork or other forms of historical research is a recommendation.
  • You have affinity with the digital humanities.
  • You have excellent oral and writing skills in English, as demonstrated in an excellent thesis and/or other publications. You have an excellent command of Bahasa Indonesia. Passive mastery of Dutch and Arabic is considered an advantage.
  • You are able to work independently and flexibly, taking initiative where needed.
  • You are able to communicate and collaborate effectively in a team setting.
  • During the contract period, you will be expected to work on your PhD project for considerable periods of time, in the Netherlands as well as in Indonesia.


Fixed-term contract: You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).

  • It concerns an employment for 1.0 FTE.
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,541 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,247 in the fourth year (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University’s primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.


The Faculty of Arts is committed to knowledge production with a significant scientific and social impact. With over 500 academic and support staff, we teach and conduct research in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, and linguistics and communication, using innovative methodologies and working in close collaboration between the disciplines. Our research is embedded in two research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH). We currently have approximately 2,500 students, enrolled in three departments: the Department of History, Art History and Classics, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Department of Language and Communication. We aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world, which is why we especially seek applications from candidates who bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds and skills that will be assets to our study programmes and research profiles.

Radboud University

We want to get the best out of science, others and ourselves. Why? Because this is what the world around us desperately needs. Leading research and education make an indispensable contribution to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This is what unites the more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University. And this requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

Additional information

For questions about the position, please contact Marit Monteiro, Professor of Cultural and Religious History at +31 24 36 15 82 2 or marit.monteiro@ru.nl.


Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Word lid van het KNHG.
Het Huygens Instituut beoogt de Nederlandse geschiedenis en cultuur inclusiever maken. Het ontsluit historische bronnen en literaire teksten en ontwikkelt innovatieve methoden, tools en duurzame digitale infrastructuur.