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The Faculty of Humanities is pleased to announce that Lucia Admiraal, Arnold Arps and Marieke Olthof have been awarded a PhD position in the highly competitive NWO PhDs in the Humanities Programme.


The aim of the PhDs in the Humanities funding instrument is to increase the number of young talented researchers in the humanities, and to facilitate their progression on the academic career ladder. In this round, 20 out of 41 submitted proposals have been awarded funding.

Summaries of the projects

Lucia Admiraal (ARTES)

Entangled loyalties. Middle Eastern Jewish views on Nazism and anti-Semitism in Europe in the Arabic Jewish press 1933-1948
Supervisors: prof. Gerard Wiegers and prof. Irene Zwiep

This research investigates how European Nazism and anti-Semitism challenged the entangled loyalties of Arabic speaking Jewish intellectuals in the colonial settings of the Middle East during the 1930s and 40s. While the Nazi persecution of European Jews sharpened tensions between the opposite objectives of Jewish assimilation and political Zionism on a global scale, Middle Eastern Jews were reconsidering their position in the emerging Arab nation states. The research focuses on interrelated Arabic-language Jewish newspapers from Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. The main aim is to understand if and how their reports on the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Europe complicated Jewish notions of integration in the Middle East between 1933 and 1948.

By using the analytical tools of entangled history, the research aims to locate Middle Eastern Jewish views on Nazism and anti-Semitism in their historical, local and regional contexts and to map the transnational networks of Arabic speaking Jewish intellectuals and their interconnection within the Arab public sphere. It aims to unveil how Nazism and anti-Semitism challenged the notions of ‘Arabness’ intersecting with ‘Jewishness’ in the Middle East prior to 1948. More broadly, the research contributes to the study of transnational networks and modern transnational debates on integration and inclusion.

Arnoud Arps (ASCA)

Remembering Violence: Cultural memory, popular culture and the Indonesian War of Independence 
Supervisors: prof. Jeroen de Kloet and dr. Leonie Schmidt

Recent research by Gert Oostindie (2015) and Remy Limpach (2015) scrutinized the Dutch role during the Indonesian War of Independence. Their studies on structural violence in the Dutch East Indies by the Dutch military caused heated debates in the Dutch public sphere. Leading research institutes in the Netherlands have argued for extensive research on military operations in the Dutch East Indies (de Volkskrant 19-06-2012). But how is the Indonesian War of Independence remembered in present-day Indonesia itself? Until now, research on cultures of memory within Indonesia regarding the war is strikingly absent. 

This PhD-project investigates how cultural memories of the Indonesian War of Independence are produced, constructed and consumed through contemporary Indonesian popular culture. In the past years, Indonesian popular culture structurally and continuously refers to the Indonesian War of Independence, including its atrocities. This project takes the three largest outlets of Indonesian war-themed popular culture – film, television and music – as its object of study. 

By analysing production, textual and reception practices of war-themed popular culture, this project maps these emergent popular memory cultures. The project takes cultural and prosthetic memory (Assmann 1995, Landsberg 2004) as its conceptual point of departure and will first analyse how producers of war-themed popular culture negotiate memories of the war during the production process. Second, the project will analyse how popular cultural products construct memories of the Indonesian War of Independence. Third, it analyses how Indonesians consume – i.e. read, negotiate, contest – these popular cultural memories. 

Marieke Olthof (ACLC)

Incorporation: A study in linguistic typology and grammatical theory 
Supervisors: prof. Kees Hengeveld and dr. Jan Don

The proposed project investigates the formal and functional characteristics of incorporation from a cross-linguistic perspective within the Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG) framework. Incorporation is a linguistic process in which one element, typically a noun, is included inside another element, usually a verb. A Dutch example is pianospelen ‘play the piano’, in which the noun piano is incorporated into the verb spelen ‘play’. Incorporation occurs in various languages and may take different forms. Importantly, while previous research has mainly focused on the incorporation of stems, the incorporated element may also take the form of a full word, phrase or clause. The proposed study therefore examines the cross-linguistic distribution of these different forms, their functional characteristics, and the way in which they can be included in a comprehensive theory of incorporation. The research makes use of the linguistic framework of FDG, which is able to account for the observed variation in the forms and functions of incorporation. At the same time, FDG predicts that cross-linguistic patterns in the distribution of these varying forms and functions may be found. Moreover, FDG assumes that different forms typically express different functions and thus hypothesizes that the various formal types of incorporation differ in the functions that they fulfil. A typological study of 25 languages will investigate the formal and functional variation in incorporation processes on the basis of these FDG predictions. The study thus adds to our knowledge of possible incorporation structures, the evaluation of theories of incorporation, and the development of the FDG framework.