PhD vacature KITLV/KNAW in Leiden

2 juli 2024
Auteur: Team Zuid-Afrikahuis
Foto: KNAW


PhD candidate Culinary Change in Indonesian Diasporas at KITLV/KNAW in Leiden

Location: Leiden
Max hours per week: 38,00
Max salary: 3.539
Duration of agreement: 1 + 3 years
Apply until: 15 August 2024

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) is searching for the research project TASTE for:

Three PhD researchers (1.0 fte)

The project Trajectories of Taste: An Analytical Framework of Culinary Change after Migration (TASTE), a European Research Council-funded Consolidator Grant (ERC CoG) led by Prof. Tom Hoogervorst and hosted by the KITLV in Leiden, is looking for three PhD researchers. The project investigates how culinary traditions change after migration. What factors contribute to new eating patterns? What is the role of traditions, memories, cultural contact and emotion? How do economic, socio-cultural and ecological considerations interact? What is taste and on which levels does it operate? Where do ideas about what food “should” taste like come from?

We address these questions by focusing on and collaborating with communities in Suriname, Sri Lanka, or South Africa with origins in the Indonesian archipelago. As such, the project also studies the role of colonial-era displacement, muted histories, and survival strategies through food. Each of the three PhD candidates will explore the broad issue of culinary change within the context of one specific destination country (Suriname, Sri Lanka, or South Africa).

What will you do?
Within the research project, you will work on your PhD research. You will address the project’s main research question of how culinary traditions change after migration, focusing on the transformations of “Indonesian” food practices, dishes, and recipes in the “diaspora”. Your project contains a historical factor and will also involve extensive fieldwork (a total of six months) in your chosen destination country. During this time, you will collaborate with local consultants by conducting semi-structured interviews, documenting oral histories, engaging in participant observation, collecting relevant written and audiovisual material, and/or employing other methods in which you are experienced (as outlined in your research proposal).

You will also collaborate within a team context, which includes three PhD candidates, a Principal Investigator, and a Postdoctoral Researcher. This collaboration will involve short fieldwork trips and the co-organization of academic and public events, both in the destination countries and in the Netherlands.

What will you bring to the project?

  • An affinity with the topic of culinary change and a willingness to help develop new methods to collaboratively examine this topic;
  • A respectful and ethical attitude toward the local communities and other key partners involved in the project, including in terms of co-designing the research; 
  • Fieldwork experience, preferably in one of the project’s destination countries, or lived experience in these communities;
  • Analytical skills and a capacity to engage with and contribute to academic literature;
  • A completed master’s degree in any discipline that you can argue is relevant to your research proposal;
  • An interest in research and academic writing and a willingness to polish your skills in this area;
  • Proficiency of English and preferably one of the local languages of one of the destination countries;
  • A commitment to live and be registered in the Netherlands throughout your employment.

What do we offer?
You will work full-time (or at 0,8 fte) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), an international and transdisciplinary institute in Leiden, the Netherlands. Here, you will participate in the institute’s dynamic academic activities. We believe in long-term collaborations between people from diverse disciplinary and geographical backgrounds. We also value the important research and other work conducted by local universities, cultural organizations, and heritage organizations in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. We hope you will become a long-term partner in our academic network.

How can you apply?
To apply, please submit:

  • Your curriculum vitae (one page).
  • A motivation letter in which you explain your background, your preference for one of the three destination countries and why your unique skills qualify you for this research project (max 1000 words).
  • A research proposal explaining how you intend to address the project’s main question (max 1000 words).

Responses can be submitted until 15 August via the application button, interviews are scheduled to take place in September 2024. The intended starting date is December 2024.

Depending on the amount of applications we receive, we may request a writing sample (e.g. your Master’s thesis) and/or the names and contact details of one or more referees at a later stage in the application process. We do not require a reference letter.

We will accept three PhD candidates in total, one for each destination country (Suriname, Sri Lanka, and South Africa respectively). Applicants will be assessed based on the following criteria: a) familiarity with the research topic and the chosen destination country; b) the quality of the motivation letter and the research proposal; and c) compliance with the vacancy requirements.

More information
Please contact: Tom Hoogervorst, Principal Investigator, hoogervorst[at]

About the KITLV
The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. The KITLV conducts interdisciplinary and comparative historical research. Its research focus is Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean. It is particularly interested in such issues as state formation, violence and citizenship, processes of mobility and the formation of ethnic and national identity. KITLV is active in the humanities, social sciences and comparative area studies and works closely with Leiden University.

Terms of employment

Upon commencement of employment, the doctoral candidate will be placed in salary scale P-0 €2,770 for the duration of 12 months. In years 2, 3 and 4, the salary of a PhD candidate increases to ultimately €3,539 (these are fixed amounts that can only be adjusted as a result of a CLA increase). This is exclusive of 8% vacation pay, 8.3% year-end bonus, travel allowance, internet and home working allowance and pension accrual with the ABP.
The KNAW offers its staff an excellent package of secondary benefits. A package that meets the different needs of employees depending on their stage of life, lifestyle or career ambitions. For example, by working an extra two hours a week, it is possible to increase the number of days off from 29 to 41 days a year (with full-time employment).

For a complete overview of the terms of employment, please refer to the web page: werken bij de KNAW.

Applying for a Certificate of Good Conduct can be part of the employment procedure.

Diversity & Inclusion
The KNAW considers a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and appreciated of great importance. A working environment in which attention is paid to individual quality and where development opportunities are paramount. Together we strive for an inclusive culture in which we embrace differences. We would therefore like to invite candidates who want to contribute to this through their background and experience. In the event of equal suitability, preference will be given to the candidate who thus enhances diversity within the Academy.

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PhD vacature KITLV/KNAW in Leiden
PhD candidate Culinary Change in Indonesian Diasporas at KITLV/KNAW in Leiden Location: LeidenMax hours per week: 38,00Max salary: 3.539Duration of agreement: 1 + 3 yearsApply until: 15 August 2024 The Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) is searching for the research project TASTE for: Three PhD researchers (1.0 fte) The project Trajectories of Taste: An Analytical […]


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