IISH-KNAW – Amsterdam Intern-student, Project:| West African Consumption Patterns, 1630-1860

Job description

The long term aim of this project is to collect, input and make publicly available a dataset on imports of goods in exchange for slaves and commodities along the West and West Central African coast from 1630 to 1866. The creation of such a dataset will involve an international team of researchers with specialist expertise in the archives of the major slave trade nations, namely England, The Netherlands, France, Portugal, Brazil, Denmark and the United States. We envisage that such data would be invaluable in answering a number of important questions that would in turn help us better understand both the mechanisms of exchange during the transatlantic slave trade but also the motivations of those involved. In particular:

  • What impact did major socio/political events (warfare, state formation, internal trade developments) in Africa have on the mix / types of goods traded for slaves and commodities?
  • How did the import of goods from the Atlantic market influence socio/political/economic developments within different parts of the Africa?
  • How was the mix of goods traded determined by African preferences and in particular which groups had more influence than others (e.g. inland v coastal, states v stateless)?
  • Is there any evidence that the consumption patterns of some regions influenced those of others? If so, is it necessary to revise the current regions of West Africa used in the TSTD?


  • Preference will be given to candidates that are students of Research Master Program in History or another discipline of Humanities and Social Sciences. However, BA students are also invited to apply for this call.
  • Affinity or Knowledge of social and economic history, with datasets and historical sources will also be required.
  • Excellent/Very good command of English and/or Dutch is also required.

Conditions of employment

Presence at the IISH will be required, days per week can be discussed later.

  • Travel allowance as necessary
  • Internship allowance is 250 euro/month


International Institute of Social History (IISG-KNAW)

The International Institute of Social History (IISG-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. IISG is one of the most prestigious social history research institutes worldwide. It examines how work and labour relations have developed globally over time. To support its research, it collects archives and data from all over the world. The relationship between its research and its data and archive collections contributes substantially to the institute’s unique nature.

For further information, see this page.

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