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Personal profile

Personal information

Susan Legêne,

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Professor of Political History

Research interests

  • Contemporary history, colonialism, imperialism and decolonisation in comparative perspective, nation building
  • Migration histories, diaspora,
  • Cultural heritage, cultural institutions and political practices, UNESCO policies
  • Historiography: the meaning and value of material culture, visual sources and intangible heritage for historical research; ICT and history
  • Developments in e-humanities



Current and recent research projects

  • Pressing Matter - Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums (Nationale Wetenschapsagenda NWA/NWO 2021 - 2025). Pressing Matter investigates the potentialities of ‘colonial objects’ to support societal reconciliation with the colonial past and its afterlives, and to deal with conflicting claims by different stakeholders for these objects within museums. The project will develop and test new modes and models of ownership, value and return that may enable more equitable futures. In it collaborate PIs and researchers at 5 universities, together with 8 museums and various societal 'stakeholder organizations'.
  • Colonial Normativity - Corruption and difference in colonial and postcolonial histories of empire and nations Research project Open Competition NWO (2019-2024); Collaboration with UGM Yogyakarta. 
  • Uitsluitingsmechanismes van mensen van Afrikaanse afkomst in Nederland: wat is erover bekend? / On mechanisms of exclusion of people of African descent in the Netherlands
    Literature review in the context of the UN-Decade for people of African Descent, for Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (2017). Researchers: Artwell Cain, Deniece Wijdenbosch.

  • Framing Prostitution/Prostitutie geëxposeerd
    Research project Amsterdam Museum/VU. NWO National Knowledge Agenda for Museums (2015-2017) See: Framing Prostitution blogs by researcher Annemarie de Wildt

  • BiographyNET - From the Biography Portal of the Netherlands to a Virtual Society of People Past and Present.
    Research project The Netherlands E-science Centre/VU/Huygens ING Instituut. (October 2012-2016)

  • Sites, Bodies and Stories - The dynamics of heritage formation in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia and the Netherlands. International NWO Research project Cultural Dynamics programme (2008-2013)

  • Agora: Creating the Historic Fabric for and Providing Web-enabled Access to Objects in Dynamic Historical Sequences.
    NWO-CATCH research project, with Computer Science (Faculteit der Exacte Wetenschappen) (2009-2013).

  • Unesco working group on culture, education and media in postconflict and postdisaster situaties & CRISP: Creative Industries and Sustainable Heritage Protection (2010-2013). 

  • PhotoCLEC - Photographs, Colonial Legacy and Museums in Contemporary European Culture
    (2010-jan. 2012). HERA JRP (UK, Norway, the Netherlands)

  • The future of the World Heritage Convention
    Policy research for Ministry of Education, Culture, Science (2010- juni 2012).



Other research collaboration


Due to my responsibilities as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, hardly any options are available anymore for teaching. But just try: in some cases, thesis supervision is possible.


Ancillary activities

  • Academic Advisory Board Research Centre for Material Culture | Leiden | Adviseur | 2016-02-01 - present
  • Stichting Utopa | Leiden | Bestuurder | 2020-11-01 - present
  • adviescommissie diversiteit en inclusie in onderwijs en onderzoek | Ministerie Onderwijs, Cultuur en W | lid | 2021-10-01 - 2024-10-01
  • Amsterdam Museum | Amsterdam | Lid Comite van aanbeveling nieuwe Amsterdam Museum | 2023-01-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Personal information

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

User created Keywords

  • Colonialism
  • Decolonisation
  • Heritage politics
  • e-Humanities
  • Historiography
  • Museology
  • Unesco


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • DIVE+: Explorative Search for Digital Humanities

    de Boer, Victor (Recipient), Inel, O.A. (Recipient), Aroyo, L.M. (Recipient), van den Akker, C. (Recipient), Legene, Susan (Recipient), Martinez-Ortiz, C. (Recipient), Helmich, W. (Recipient), Hagendoorn, Berber (Recipient), Sauer, S.C. (Recipient), Blom, Jaap (Recipient), Melgar Estrada, L.M. (Recipient) & Oomen, J. (Recipient), 2017