Gepubliceerd op 22-02-2018

Postdoctoral researcher ‘Knowledge transfer in enterprises in Indonesia’

Faculty of Humanities, Institute for History is looking for a Postdoctoral researcher ‘Knowledge transfer in enterprises in Indonesia’ (1.0 FTE).

Project description
From 1 May 2018, the Leiden University Institute for History will be appointing a postdoctoral researcher for a period of three years, within the NWO financed project Decolonizing knowledge. Postcoloniality and the making of modern Indonesia’s knowledge culture, 1945-1970

This postdoctoral research project is part of the project Decolonizing knowledge. Postcoloniality and the making of modern Indonesia’s knowledge culture, 1945-1970. The aim of the project is to investigate the development of ‘knowledge cultures’ in Indonesia during the late-colonial and immediate post-colonial period (1945-1970). In those decades, Indonesians faced the task to establish an infrastructure for education and the transfer of knowledge, and a formulation of the role and aims of knowledge in postcolonial society. The researchers of the three closely related research projects (the others looking at the formation of tertiary education and the role of the publishing industry in the production and dissemination of knowledge) will investigate the legacies of colonialism, the influence of nationalist discourses and the concrete policies in establishing a knowledge culture.

The postdoc will investigate the production and transfer of knowledge in large business firms in the period 1945-1970. The access to knowledge was an important element in the Indonesianization of business in the first decade of Indonesia’s independence. At independence, Indonesia was confronted with an acute shortage of technical and managerial knowhow among indigenous employees. This bottleneck was due to a virtual monopolization of knowhow on business operations by European employees under Dutch colonial rule and immediately afterwards. It became a vital part of Indonesian decolonization to reduce Dutch control of knowhow. One solution was to replace Dutchmen by experts of another nationality capable of providing the required knowhow; another entailed investing in the training of Indonesian employees. The issue of the transfer of knowhow in business operations became even more urgent when most Dutch private firms were taken over and nationalized in 1957-1959. Substitution of expelled Dutch managers became an immediate concern.
This project addresses three main questions. What were the attitudes among Dutch managers and Indonesian employees about the colonial legacy with respect to knowhow? How did the transfer of knowhow from Dutchmen to Indonesians take place in practice within individual business enterprises? To what extent did Indonesia succeed in decolonizing knowhow in business operations bequeathed by Dutch colonialism?
The proposed research project has a strong empirical foundation. It makes use of three case studies pertaining to individual firms. They are (provisionally): BPM, Lindeteves and the Deli Company. Research will use company archives, government sources, as well as oral testimonies.

Key responsibilities

  • Completion of a monograph within three years;
  • Submitting research results for publication to international peer-reviewed academic journals;
  • Attending and actively participating in all the team meetings;
  • Presenting papers at conferences and workshops;
  • Co-organizing conferences and workshops;
  • Contribute to the public outreach and research dissemination of the project;
  • Contribute to teaching courses in the History Department.

Selection criteria

  • PhD in History (or relevant discipline closely connected with the theme of this project);
  • Excellent research and writing skills;
  • Experience in archival research, and preferably also fieldwork, including oral history;
  • Written and oral fluency in English and a good working knowledge of Dutch and Indonesian;
  • Willingness to work within a team and an international academic community that aspires to scholarly excellence;
  • A problem-focused approach to research and demonstrable ability to apply theoretical and comparative frameworks ;
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.

Our Faculty/Institute
The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 930, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 6,000 students based at locations in Leiden’s historic city centre and in modern buildings in The Hague.
The Institute for History is the home of a vibrant community of researchers and lecturers with outstanding track records and successful in attracting national and international research grants. Under the label ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’ scholars affiliated to the Institute combine a deep knowledge of global interactions and of specific localities, regions and states in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. They use comparative, connective and entangled approaches and resort to qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.

All researchers of the Institute for History are connected to one of the six research specializations: The Unification of the Mediterranean World (400 BC – 400 AD), Collective Identities and Transnational Networks in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 1000-1800, Political Culture and National Identities, Colonial and Global History, Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence, and History and International Relations.

Terms and conditions
The postdoctoral position is for a period of three years. Starting date is 1 May 2018.
The salary for a full-time working week will range between €3,475 and €4,757 gross per month (pay scale 11, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Depending on qualifications, the postdoctoral researcher may start at the appropriate step in scale 10 until she/he fully meets the requirements for scale 11 as specified by the Faculty of Humanities, particularly with regard to the years of relevant work experience.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

For more information, please contact Dr. P.J.J. Meel, Director of Research of the Institute for History via email. A full description of the research project ‘Decolonizing knowledge’ is available on request.

Letters of application should be submitted in English and include a:

  • Cover letter;
  • Research statement having in mind the research question and content of the project (maximum number of words 1500);
  • CV and a list of publications;
  • Copy PhD dissertation ;
  • Proof of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers or those without an undergraduate degree obtained in The Netherlands or an English-speaking country ;
  • List of (maximum) two referees to your application (with full postal addresses, telephone numbers and emails). Referees will be contacted directly by the search committee.

All requested documents should be sent in PDF format, one PDF with all the documents listed above excluding the PhD dissertation, and a separate PDF with the dissertation. The PDF’s should be titled ‘Family name applicant + postdoc Decolonizing knowledge’ and ‘Family name applicant + postdoc Decolonizing knowledge PhD thesis’.

Please quote the vacancy number in your application and send it by email to using the apply button.
The search committee will interview short listed candidates in the second half of March 2018.

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