For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Postcolonial Heritage, Memory and Identity


Robin Boast and Ihab Saloul

Members of the research group

Sruti Bala

Caroline Drieënhuizen

David Duindam

Boris Noordenbos

Remco Raben

Ihab Saloul

Lisanne Snelders

Hanneke Stuit

Barbara Titus

Description of the research programme of the research group

Postcolonial Heritage, Memory and Identity is part of a larger initiative at the University of Amsterdam called Postcolonial Studies Group. This group encompasses researchers from a diverse range of fields in the humanities (history, literature, theatre, music, memory) who seek to study Europe’s and particularly the Netherlands’ and the UvA’s colonial past and its legacies in the current postcolonial world. The group is partly inspired by growing debates inside and outside (Dutch) academia about racism and postcolonial memory and forgetting. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Colonial Heritages of UvA: Researchers and Collections
  • Academic Colonial Forgetting: Why Is My UvA Curriculum So White?
  • Postcolonial Memory Activism: Restaging Anticolonial Resistance
  • Dutch Postcolonial Studies: Critics from the Dutch Colonial Past

Envisaged results

  • Academic books, articles and PhD-theses on the (post)colonial histories of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and more in particular of the Netherlands and UvA
  • Research networks within UvA, nationally (especially with Postcolonial Studies Initiative in Utrecht and Platform for Postcolonial Readings in Leiden) and internationally (European COST network)
  • Postcolonial Lecture Series aimed at an academic audience which includes PhDs and RMAs
  • Education for students at the University of Amsterdam at the BA and MA levels and making visible existing (post)colonial courses through a Minor Postcolonial Studies
  • Establishing a public platform through which postcolonial issues are discussed with a broader audience in Amsterdam

Work plan and time schedule


  • Academic books, articles, PhD theses


  • First Postcolonial Lecture Series at UvA
  • Network grant application UvA
  • Network grant application international


  • Interdisciplinary Postcolonial Studies Course
  • Minor in Postcolonial Studies
  • Public Platform on Postcolonial Issues

Societal Relevance

In recent years, several eye-catching debates at UvA, in the Netherlands and in Europe have importantly been on Europe’s colonial past and postcolonial present: Zwarte Piet, Dutch colonial atrocities (1621-1948), Dutch racism, the lack of diversity at UvA in terms of curriculum, staff and students, the rise of ethnonationalism in Europe and the United States. Groups in Amsterdam from the UvA Diversity Committee to The University of Color to Decolonize the Museum to Framer Framed, as well as intense debates in the Dutch media show the need for an academic perspective on issues of the past and present of Dutch racism, particularly in relation to the Dutch past of slavery and colonialism.