Universiteit Leiden

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Fenneke Sijsling

Assistant Professor

Dr. F.H. Sijsling
+31 71 527 2737

Fenneke Sysling is an assistant professor at the Institute for History, specializing in the history of science and colonialism. Her interests include colonial heritage, museum objects, race, the body and natural history.

More information about Fenneke Sijsling

Fields of interest

Fenneke Sysling specializes in the history of science and Dutch colonialism. She obtained her PhD in 2013 with a thesis on the history of racial science in colonial Indonesia.Her book Racial Science and Human Diversity in Colonial Indonesia looks at the making of racial knowledge in the Dutch eastern colonies. The making of racial knowledge, it contends, cannot be explained solely in terms of internal European intellectual developments. It was through colonial encounters that ideas about race were made.


She is currently finishing a research project, funded by an NWO VENI grant (2015-2019), that looks at the ways in people have started to collect quantified personal data about their bodies and minds from the mid 19th century onwards. It explores the role of numbers in conceptualizing new identity categories and as an incentive to self-improvement. She was a visiting fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the University of Glasgow.

She also has an interest in natural history collections and their colonial roots, anthropology, genetics and the history of statistics.

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Institute for History
  • Algemene Geschiedenis

Work address

Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Room number 2.72A



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