PhD Fellowship at Institute for Area Studies, University of Leiden, Netherlands

The Leiden Institute for Area Studies ( is committed to the integration of disciplinary and regional-historical perspectives. LIAS has as its aim the advancement of teaching and research of Area Studies at Leiden University and in the wider academic community. LIAS comprises the Schools of Asian Studies (SAS) and Middle Eastern Studies (SMES). Area specializations in SAS include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South & Southeast Asian and Tibetan Studies. LIAS staff have disciplinary expertise across the humanities and the social sciences.

Starting September 2011 (or earlier if the candidate is available) LIAS has available four full-time (38 hrs), four-year Ph.D. positions in the University’s profile area “Asian Traditions and Modernities” (AMT) that is coordinated by Professors Frank Pieke, Jan-Michiel Otto, Patricia Spyer, and Nira Wickramasinghe.

Description of profile area

AMT is one of the 11five-year profile areas of Leiden University that transcend the boundaries between specialist fields. AMT is coordinated by the Faculty of Humanities and the Leiden Institute for Area Studies, but is fully interdisciplinary in focus. AMT’s aim is to raise the visibility and strength of Asian studies in the University, where “Asia” includes all of East, Central, South and Southeast Asia. AMT builds on the long history of Leiden University in research and teaching on Asian traditions especially in the fields of religious studies, anthropology, philology, law and literature to explore the debates, disagreements, disjunctures and conflicts that prevail in Asia in the modern age. The global prominence of East Asia and the rapidly developing economies of South and Southeast Asia render Asia a key case for the study of the fashioning of modernities in everyday life, state practices and the global arena. AMT focuses on five themes:

  • Asia in the international system looks at global Asia, where the emergence of India and China as regional hegemons is reconfiguring issues of security and conflict
  • Power and limits of the Asian state focuses on the transformation of and challenges posed to the state in Asia
  • Asian debates on history and modernity explores Asia’s role in shaping the meaning of rationalism, nationalism, secularism, equality, justice and rights
  • New and old diversities in Asia looks at how Asia’s new modernities are being forged from the meeting of peoples, cultures, life-styles and ideologies
  • Production and flow of modern Asian cultures encompasses the movement of practices, styles, objects, fashions, media and the like that have come to exemplify the modern in particular places

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Fellowships

Ph.D. fellows are expected to conduct research leading to a Ph.D. thesis on a topic, country or region, and discipline relevant to AMT. The three fellowships are open in terms of research topic, disciplinary orientation and supervision by one of more members of senior academic staff at Leiden University who specialize in the study of Asia. We urge applicants carefully to consider the issue of supervision and contact one or more members of academic staff in Leiden (including the four coordinators of AMT Pieke, Otto, Spyer, Wickramasinghe) before submitting their application.


  • Conducting original research on a topic relevant to AMT
  • Writing of a Ph.D. dissertation
  • Submitting research results for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals
  • Presenting papers at (international) conferences
  • Designing and teaching of at least two undergraduate courses, normally one in the third and one in the fourth year of the appointment
  • Organizing and participating in seminars and conferences of the profile area


  • A Masters or equivalent degree in a relevant field
  • Research knowledge of one or more Asian languages necessary for the project
  • Fluency in English (spoken and written)
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

Conditions of employment

The position of Ph.D. fellow is temporary for maximally four years of full-time appointment, and with an initial nine-month probationary period.
The salary is determined in accordance with the current scales as set out in the collective labor agreement for the Dutch universities (CAO):
Ph.D. fellow: min. € 2.042,- max. € 2.612,- gross per month, with additional holiday and end-of-year bonuses

Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.


For further information about the position please contact Professor Frank Pieke phone number +31-71-5272216, email A full description of the profile area is available upon request.


Applications have to be submitted in English and have to include:

  • cover letter stating your motivation for a position and proposed supervisory arrangement
  • research proposal of maximally 2,500 words
  • curriculum vitae
  • copies of your academic transcripts (or Dutch cijferlijst)
  • a writing sample (such as a part of the MA thesis) of maximally 8,000 words
  • three letters of reference

Please send your application electronically, indicating the vacancy number, before the deadline of 1 April 2011 to:

All application materials should be send in pdf format.
An interview may be part of the selection procedure.

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