South Asian human geography, planning and (international) development studies

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

South Asian human geography, planning and development studies are/were conducted at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Free University Amsterdam (VU) and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

At the Free University Amsterdam, the studies in South Asian human geography formed a small section of the Faculty of Earth Sciences (now the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences), during some 40 years (ca. 1963-2003). Two chairs existed: one in human geography in developing countries occupied by Ad de Bruijne (1976-1985) and the other in urban studies in developing countries held by Isa Baud (2000-2003). Both chairs included regions other than South Asia. A member of this department was, among others, Willem van Spengen who was specialized in Tibet geographic studies. Most of the members of this section finally moved to the Amsterdam University (UvA) and at present, no research in the field of South Asian human geography is done at the VU.

At the University of Amsterdam, in the early 1970’s, a joint regional project was carried out by a group of scholars with different disciplinary specialisms. The research concerned poverty and labour relations in various economic sectors in the districts Alleppey and Kottayam in Kerala. Participants were Hans Schenk, Olga Nieuwenhuys, Loes Schenk-Sandbergen and Peter van der Werff.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, three programmes were carried out. The first was the small-scale industries programme supervised by Ad de Bruijne. The project workers under this programme were Theo van der Loop (urban building sector in Tamil Nadu), Isa Baud (women in the leather shoe industry), Anja Roelofs (women’s income versus gender relations in Vellore), and Peter Knorringa. The second program concerned slum ecology studies by among others Hans Schenk and Ad de Bruijne. The third program was dry-land agriculture in semi-arid regions in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, a common project of the UvA, Erasmus University and the University of Madras. Dutch researchers were Ad de Bruijne, Marcel Put (1989-2000) and M.P. van Dijk. At present, Maarten Bavinck is an expert in fishery issues in South India.

Today, urban studies is one of the research priority areas of the University of Amsterdam. The studies are organised in the Centre for Urban Studies which is directed by Jan Nijman, professor in urban studies (2011-present). Isa Baud (professor in international development studies, 2003-present) belongs to the same centre.

Amsterdam University (UvA): Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies

1968-2002H. Schenk (several positions at the Department of Planning & Demography (now: Faculty of Social and Environmental Sciences))
1985-2001G.A. de Bruijne (professor in human geography, esp. of developing countries)
1985-2003W. van Spengen (lecturer in human geography)
1989-2003I.S.A. Baud (associate professor in human geography)
1990-1999M.J.M.J. Put (researcher in human geography)
1992-2012Olga Nieuwenhuys (assistant professor in geography)
2000-presentJ.M. Bavinck (assistant and, from 2009 onwards, associate professor in human geography)
2003-presentI.S.A. Baud (professor in international development studies)
2003-2004M.M.J. van Eerd (lecturer in methods and techniques, International Development Studies)
2011-presentJ.B.F. Nijman (professor in urban studies)

Free University Amsterdam: Department of Geography and Institute for Environmental Studies

1963-1985G.A. de Bruijne (lecturer and, from 1976 to 1985, professor in human geography of developing countries)
1972-2004G. Hoekveld-Meijer (lecturer in human geography)
1976-1984W. van Spengen (lecturer in the department of geography)
1981-1984J.M. Bavinck (lecturer in development sociology)
1989-2006P. van der Werff (associate of the Institute for Environmental Studies)
2000-2003I.S.A. Baud (professor in urban studies in developing countries)

Erasmus University Rotterdam: Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)

1985-1999P.J.M. Nientied (associate professor)
1999-2000Joop de Wit (expert urban management)
1999-2014M.P. van Dijk (full professor urban management in emerging areas)
2000-2003I.S.A. Baud (staff member)
2005-presentM.M.J. van Eerd (academic staff member)