CNWS / Leiden University


Onderzoekschool voor Aziatische Afrikaanse en Amerindische Studiën CNWS

Name translated in English

Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies CNWS

Postal address

PO Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address

Nonnensteeg 1-3


+31 (0)71 527 21 71


+31 (0)71 527 29 39




Tanap project coordinator
Dr. H.E Niemeijer


The aim of the Research School is to further Asian, African, and Amerindian studies in the humanities, the social sciences, and law; to strengthen cooperation between the disciplines involved; to intensify the collaboration with national research institutes and museums in Leiden; and to stimulate internationalization of research and teaching in the various relevant areas and disciplines.

Geographically, the focus of attention is on Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Far East, South and Meso-America, the Caribbean islands, and Indian North America. Each of these areas is studied from various disciplinary angles, notably archaeology, anthropology, art history, development sociology, history, law, linguistics, literature, and religion. Equal attention is given to contemporary developments and to earlier phases in the development of the various regions and cultures. Theoretical as well as applied research is stimulated.


In 1988, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences of Leiden University joint hands in the establishment of the Center of Non-Western Studies (CNWS). The start of the Center marked a turning point in the development of Non-Western studies in Leiden. On 17 June 1993, the CNWS amalgamated with two Leiden-based research institutes: the Center for the History of European Expansion and its Aftermath (IGEER) and the Research Institute for Descriptive and Comparative Linguistics (IBVTW). At the same time the CNWS was recognized as a Research Institute by the faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, and Law. Soon after, the faculties of Arts of Amsterdam Free University and Nijmegen University joined the Institute. On 16 June 1994, the Research School of Asian, African, and Amerindian Studies CNWS, as it was henceforth called, was officially recognized as a Research School by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

The Research School CNWS facilitates the research of the senior scholars who are appointed as members to the School by the Faculty of Arts, Leiden University, on the recommendation of the Board of the CNWS and after consultation with the pertinent Faculty and Department. The members spend at least fifty percent of their research time on projects included in the Research Programme of the CNWS.

All research projects are grouped in sixteen separate clusters, amongst others:

  • The History of European Expansion and its Aftermath;
  • Culture and Periphery in East Asia and Value and words;
  • Religious Values and Their Influence on Indian Culture.

The School is governed by a Board consisting of five members. The meetings of the board are attended by a representative of the CNWS Ph.D. students. The board members are appointed for a period of three years by the Faculty of Arts, Leiden University.

Director of the school is Prof. Dr. J.G. Oosten. Secretary is Dr. W.J. Vogelsang.

CNWS is supported by an International Advisory board, which is assisted by four advisory committees:

  • Advisory Council
  • Academic Committee
  • Education Committee
  • Publication Committee

Additional activities:

Advanced Master's Programme: Nine months' programme, intended for students who want to embark on an academic career in Non-Western Studies. Successful completion of the course leads to an Advanced Master's degree. The AMP training programme consists of:

  • general programme gives an introduction to interdisciplinary aspects of the study of languages and cultures in non-Western societies;
  • optional programmes focuses on specific topics and disciplinary subjects;
  • individual training provides the students with the opportunity to develop their research under close supervision of senior researchers.


  • CNWS Newsletter issued twice a year, containing information on ongoing research;
  • Itinerario focuses on the history of European expansion and its aftermath;
  • CNWS Publications a refereed series, to provide a means for publishing academic books, journals and edited volumes in the field of Non-Western studies.

Related internet links


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