South Asian sociology and cultural anthropology

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Academic research in the field of South Asian sociology and anthropology is mainly done at the two Amsterdam universities (UvA and VU), the Erasmus University Rotterdam and Leiden University.

The first beginnings of socio-anthropological studies concerned an interuniversity project on Gujarat. Since the mid 1960s, a group of scholars with different disciplinary background worked on processes of social and political change in Gujarat. The scholars included Jan Breman (comparative sociology, Erasmus University and, from 1987 onwards, UvA), the social anthropologists Klaas van der Veen and Hein Streefkerk (UvA), Enno Hommes (coordinator, Twente University), and the anthropologist Chris Baks (first Leiden University and subsequently Utrecht University). In the mid 1980s, Mario Rutten (ISS-Erasmus and subsequently UvA) joined the Gujarat project.

The leading role in the field is held by the University of Amsterdam where the following chairs existed since the mid 1980s: the chair in comparative sociology held by Jan Breman from 1987 to 2001 and by Mario Rutten from 2002 to the present; the chair in urban sociology held by Lodewijk Brunt (1988-2005); the chair in development studies occupied by Joke Schrijvers (1991-2002), and the chair in modern Asian history held by Willem van Schendel (1996-present). Besides these, two endowed chairs are the chair in applied development sociology held by Pieter Streefland (1990-2008; the last six years non-salaried), and the chair in child labour held by Kristoffel Lieten (2002-2007).

At the Free University of Amsterdam social science studies started in the late 1960s with research on Pakistan by Jan van der Linden and, twenty years later, by Frits Selier. The anthropologist Dick Kooiman worked on the labour movement in Mumbai (textiles) and the princely state of Travancore. Peter Kloos, who was appointed earlier at Leiden University, was professor in sociology of non-western societies from 1988 to 2000. He did research on rural agrarian issues in Sri Lanka. Marion den Uyl conducted research on women studies, especially in Kerala.

At the Erasmus University, South Asia studies started in the early 1960s at the Department of Comparative Sociology. Jan Breman was the initiator and his work focused on labour and related issues in Gujarat. In 1987, as a result of the Dutch government’s programme Concentration and Growth, the South Asia studies of this department were transferred to Centre for Asian Studies Amsterdam.
As part of the Erasmus University, the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, The Hague) was founded in 1952. Martin Doornbos was one of the first in this institute to deal with South Asia. He was professor in political anthropology/science between 1980 and 2000. After the transfer of the South Asia studies of the Department of Comparative Socology in 1987, Jan Breman became extraordinary professor in development sociology at the ISS from 1987 to 2001. From 2000 up to the present, Joop de Wit is senior lecturer in urban sociology.

At Leiden University, the only chair thus far in South Asian social science studies was the chair in intercultural gender studies, held by Carla Risseeuw from 1993 to 2009. She worked especially on women studies in Sri Lanka. Two departments of the Leiden Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science have South Asia studies. These are the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Political Studies (Frank de Zwart, Bal Gopal Shrestha).

Approached from geographical perspective, this field of academic research focuses on India, esp. Gujarat, Bengal (Willem van Schendel, Ellen Bal) and Indian megacities, on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (Joke Schrijvers, Carla Risseeuw, Peter Kloos). A special research topic was women studies carried out by Cora Vreede-de Stuers, Loes Schenk-Sandbergen, Marion den Uyl, Joke Schrijvers and Carla Risseeuw. Other topics were, among other, Tamil plantation workers (Wim Dechering), public administration (Ben Hoetjes), classical Indian theater and dance (Saskia Kersenboom), and food policy and distribution (Jos Mooij). Presently, further special research topics are visual anthropology (Erik de Maaker), medical anthropology (Maarten Bode) and Indian diaspora (Ellen Bal).

University of Amsterdam: Department of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology, South and Southeast Asia

1955-1995K.W. van der Veen (associate professor in social anthropology)
1959-1973S.C.L. Vreede-de Steurs (research assistant, lecturer, associate professor in cultural anthropology and sociology South and Southeast Asia)
1968-1975L.C. Schenk-Sandbergen (lecturer Department of South- and Southeast Asia)
1978?-…H.C. Streefkerk (lecturer in social anthropology)
1985-1989F. de Zwart (assistant professor in anthropology)
1985-1987R.E. Jordaan (lecturer in social anthropology)
1987-2006L.C. Schenk-Sandbergen (associate professor)
1987-2006J.C. Breman (professor in comparative sociology esp. of non-western societies; from 2001-2006 non-salaried)
1988-2000M.A.F. Rutten (additional lecturer, research manager of CASA and AISSR)
1988-2005L. Brunt (professor in sociology, esp. urban sociology)
1989-2002J.T. Schrijvers (associate professor and, from 1991 to 2002, professor in development studies)
1990-2005S.C. Kersenboom (associate professor in cultural anthropology)
1990-2008P.H. Streefland (endowed and, from 2002 to 2008, personal professor in development sociology)
1996-2005M. Bode (guest researcher in medical anthropology unit)
1996-presentH.W. van Schendel (professor in modern Asian history)
2000-presentM.A.F. Rutten (lecturer, associate professor and from 2002 professor in comparative sociology and anthropology of Asia)
2002-2007G.C.M. Lieten (endowed professor in child labour)
2004-2012M. Baas (researcher and lecturer in anthropology)
2008-presentM. Bode (lecturer in medical anthropology and sociology)
2011-presentC.H. Harris (assistant professor in anthropology)

Free University Amsterdam: Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

1967-1987J.J. van der Linden (associate professor in Pakistan studies)
1978?-2007D. Kooiman (associate professor in cultural anthropology)
1986-…F.J.M. Selier (associate professor in Pakistan studies)
1988-2000P. Kloos (professor in sociology of non-western societies)
1988-2012M.H.G. den Uyl (assistant professor in women studies, Kerala)
2001-presentE.M. Bal (associate professor)

Erasmus University Rotterdam: Department of Comparative Sociology

1962-1987J.C. Breman (lecturer, and from 1976 to 1987, reader in development sociology)

Erasmus University Rotterdam: International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, The Hague)

1967-2000M.R. Doornbos (senior lecturer, and from 1980 to 2000, professor in political science)
1984-1986M.A.F. Rutten (research associate)
1987-2001J.C. Breman (extraordinary professor in development sociology)
1996 ?-2013J.E. Mooij (associate professor)
2000-presentJ.W. de Wit (senior lecturer in public policy and development management)
2009-2011A. de Haan (senoir lecturer in social policy)

Leiden University: Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

1964-1974C.P.J.H. Baks (lecturer, department of cultural anthropology)
1974-1988P. Kloos (associate professor in cultural anthropology)
1984-B.J.S. Hoetjes (associate professor in public administration)
1993-2009C.I. Risseeuw (professor in intercultural gender studies)
2006-presentE. de Maaker (assistant professor in anthropology and sociology of South Asia, department of cultural anthropology and developmental sociology)
1992-presentF. de Zwart (senior lecturer, department of political science; with a two-year research fellow at the IIAS, 1997-98)
2006-2007B.G. Shrestha (assistant professor, department of political science)
W.H.J.C. Dechering (department of cultural anthropology and developmental sociology)

Utrecht University: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

1974-1989C.P.J.H. Baks (reader in anthropology)
Paul Streumer (lecturer in sociology of development of South and East Asia)

Nijmegen University

1978-1989M.H.A.M. van der Wee (lecturer, department of culturele anthropology)
1981-1986M.H.G. den Uyl (assistant professor, Third World Centre)