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Introducing: the students of Cosmopolis Advanced

Last July saw the start of the new master programme Cosmopolis Advanced, an initiative of the Institute for History at Leiden University in partnership with Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta. The Cosmopolis Advanced programma, led by prof.dr. Jos Gommans and coordinator dr. Lennart Bes, provides Asian and African students with the linguistic, archival and historical skills to explore the rich Dutch sources on the history of regions surrounding the Indian Ocean and the Chinese Seas.

The programme has began with an intensive Dutch language course for the first five selected students. At the moment, they are starting with master courses and explorations of Dutch sources. This will eventually lead to MA theses about self-chosen subjects, to be written in the fall semester of 2019.

The group consists of two students from Singapore, two from Indonesia and one from India. Benjamin Khoo (26) received his BA (Hons) from the National University of Singapore and intends to research early Dutch-Siamese diplomatic interaction in the rapidly evolving circumstances of the seventeenth century. Melinda Susanto (30) worked as an assistant curator at the National Gallery of Singapore. Her projects explored prints, photography and illustrated texts relating to Southeast Asia. In Leiden, she hopes to look into the role of the VOC in the accumulation and circulation of knowledge about the natural environment of the Southeast Asian archipelago. Abmi Handayani (31) and Muhammad Asyrafi (26) both studied at UGM in Indonesia. Abmi is planning to conduct research about slavery in Buton (south-east Sulawesi) during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while Muhammad intends to examine the roots of the legal system in the Netherlands East Indies and the encounter between Dutch law and Adat law. Finally, Rohit Prabu (25) studied at Nalanda University, India. His research concerns the origins, formation and evolution of Tamil diasporas in Southeast Asia.

From left to right: Muhammad Asyrafi, Rohit Prabu, Lennart Bes, Benjamin Khoo, Abmi Handayani, Melinda Susanto & Hanna te Velde (student assistent)

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