Modern South Asian history

Faculty of Humanities

Dutch studies of ancient South Asian history are limited in number and were usually carried out by scholars at a Sanskrit department or an Institute for South Asian art and archaeology.

With the establishment in 1964 at Leiden University of the chair in modern South Asian languages and cultural history of South Asia after the Islamic invasion, studies of modern South Asian history were initiated. The first holder of the chair, Jan Heesterman, was an Indologist but his successors, Dirk Kolff and, at present, Nira Wickramasinghe, are historians. The chair is now part of the section India and Tibet of the School of Asian Studies, Leiden Institute for Area Studies.

In Leiden, scholars of the History department contribute an important share to teaching and research on modern South Asian history, especially in the field of colonial history. This department has a chair occupied first by Femme Gaastra (maritime history) and, from 2010 onwards, by Jos Gommans (colonial and global history). The scholars of this department work from a comparative perspective and often regions other than South Asia are included in their studies as well.

At the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Department of History (nowadays part of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication) was founded in 1979. This department had a section on non-western history with South Asianists such as Frank Perlin (India, esp. Gujarat), and Willem van Schendel (esp. Bengal and Bangladesh). Since 1996, the latter continues his work at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology.

At other universities, individual scholars worked or work on modern South Asian history as well.

Leiden University: Modern South Asia studies (LIAS)

1964-1990J.C. Heesterman (professor in the languages and cultural history of South Asia after the Islamic invasion)
1971-2003D.H.A. Kolff (associate professor and, from 1991 onwards, professor in modern South Asian history)
1993-2010J.J.L. Gommans (lecturer in South Asian history, Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies; see also Institute for History)
2010-presentN. Wickramasinghe (professor in modern South Asian studies)
2012-presentS. Sunderason (lecturer)

Leiden Institute for History

1970-1976M.A.P. Meilink-Roelofsz (endowed professor in the history of Western European overseas expansion, chair Leidsch Universiteitsfonds)
1974-2010F.S. Gaastra (associate professor in history; between 2004 and 2010, professor in maritime history)
1983-1998E.M. Jacobs (lecturer in Dutch history)
2006-2009M. Sparreboom (professor in scientific relations between Asia and Europe)
2006-presentAlicia Schrikker (lecturer in colonial history)
2010-presentJ.J.L. Gommans (professor in colonial and global history)
2012-presentCarolien Stolte (lecturer in South Asian history)

Erasmus University: Department of History

1979-2004Frank Perlin (lecturer in social, political and economic history, monetary economy in pre-colonial India)
1980-1996H.W. van Schendel (assistant professor; from 1984 onwards associate professor, and from 1990 onwards professor in comparative history)
1998-presentG. Oonk (assistant professor, and from 2008 onwards, associate professor in African and South Asian history)

Utrecht University: Department of History and Art History

1969-2004J. van Goor (assistant professor in colonial history)

Radboud University Nijmegen: Faculty of Arts

1974-presentP.J.A.N. Rietbergen (associate professor, Department of History; from 1993 onwards endowed professor in history of the relations between Europe and the non-European world; from 2000 onwards professor in cultural history after the Middle Ages)

Free University of Amsterdam (VU): Faculty of Arts, Department of History

1990-2012J.M.W.G. Lucassen (extraordinary professor (part-time) of international and comparative social history; since 2003 includes India)

Groningen University: Faculty of Arts

2013-presentA. Singh (assistant professor, early modern South Asia and global history)