KITLV-KNAW| 2 PhD candidates on the governance of climate change in Southeast Asia and the Carribean

The climate crisis is not just an environmental crisis. It is also a governance crisis. Climate change threatens to undermine sustainable development, poverty eradication programs, and rights. Resilience to climate change depends first and foremost on adaptive capacity (or social learning). This is a matter for the whole society, and particularly for governments. A flood of reports advises authorities what they should do. The recommendations are clear. Societies must reduce their emissions and at the same time strengthen their capacity to adapt to new realities and mitigate the risk of disaster. But recommendations are not much use if we do not know if and how well they will be implemented. Southeast Asia and the Caribbean are archipelagic regions with low to medium income levels and governance indicators. This makes them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. They show the need for empirical data and theoretical approaches that illuminate how both vulnerability and adaptation measures may actually be determined in such fragile, complex settings. Adaptation, here, is taken as a broad category that includes concrete policies as well as the social changes and epistemological turns needed to achieve sustainable climate change adaptation.

As part of a new research agenda on the governance of climate change, KITLV is inviting applications for two PhD positions. There is no disciplinary limitation except that applicants must be trained in the humanities and/or social sciences. We have a preference for applicants working in history, anthropology, political science, development studies or development sociology, cultural studies (including literature), or law, or a combination of these disciplines. An interest and ability to work across disciplinary boundaries will be considered an advantage. Proposed topics of study may be related, but are certainly not limited, to: the adaptive capacity of local communities and/or local governments; the history and politics of climate change (including adaptation and disaster risk reduction); climate change related activism; climate change related conflicts; artistic practices responding to climate change; knowledge and expertise of climate change; and environmental legislation.

The research positions are funded by the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), an institution of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The PhD candidate will be appointed at, and embedded in, KITLV ( while also formally attached to Leiden University. Leiden is a pleasant, historical city located between Amsterdam and The Hague. Supervision will be provided by KITLV. The PhD candidate will work at the KITLV’s office on Leiden University’s campus in Leiden.

The PhD candidate is expected to:
•Conduct research, including field research in Southeast Asia and/or the Caribbean;
•Publish on the basis of this research, culminating in at least two journal articles and a PhD dissertation completed within the allotted timed (four years at 1.0 fte; five years at 0.8 fte);
•Collaborate with supervisors and peers on the development of the broader research agenda;
•Participate in conferences, workshops, and other scholarly activities.


The successful candidate should:
•Hold a recent MA or Mphil in the social sciences or humanities from an internationally recognized university;
•Excel academically, as shown in the transcripts and CV;
•Have and excellent written and spoken command of English;
•Have affinity with, and preferably experience in, the field of Southeast Asian and/or Caribbean studies;
•Have an advanced level in one of the local languages in these regions;
•Be highly motivated and able to work independently;
•Have excellent social and organizational skills.

Conditions of employment
Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO NU). We offer a 1,0 or 0.8 fte position for one year with the possibility of a three-or four-year extension. The function is validated in the University Function Ordening system (UFO) under the profile “PhD Candidate”. Gross monthly salaries are in accordance with the CAO NU, increasing from € 2325 per month initially, to € 2970 in the fourth year excluding 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% year-end bonus on a full time basis. We offer an extensive package of fringe benefits.

KITLV is committed to diversity, inclusiveness, and equal opportunities.

The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. The KITLV conducts interdisciplinary and comparative historical research. Its research focus is Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Indonesia and the ‘Dutch’ Caribbean. It is particularly interested in such issues as state formation, violence and citizenship, processes of mobility and the formation of ethnic and national identity. KITLV is active in the humanities, social sciences and comparative area studies and works closely with Leiden University.

Additional information
Questions may be directed to Dr. David Kloos (


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