The RIAS hosts a small, but dynamic community of graduate students, who use the Institute as a base from which to pursue original research in American history or American studies.
As of 2017, in cooperation with the Province of Zeeland and Leiden University, the RIAS offers four-year scholarships to students seeking to pursue a PhD on subjects that fall under the umbrella of the "Rooseveltian Century" in American history, including US foreign relations, media and culture, citizenship and the law, and gender and race relations.
The Institute's doctoral program offers aspiring scholars the opportunity to draw on the combined resources of Leiden University and the RIAS. Through the former, they enjoy full access to the national research networks covering their fields. They register with a national graduate school in political and/or cultural history, and are able to follow specialized research training. Through the latter, they enjoy direct access to the RIAS collections, as well as a unique range of doctoral seminars tailored to advanced students of American history, taught by invited scholars from Leiden, University College Roosevelt, and other partner institutions, as well as our visiting professors from the United States. They also participate in the RIAS's twice-yearly international PhD seminars, at which researchers from around Europe converge on Middelburg to share and discuss their research. RIAS PhD candidates aim to defend their dissertation at Leiden University within four years.
The RIAS hosts the following doctoral students:
Debby Esmeé de Vlugt (MSt Oxford) joined the RIAS in January 2019. Her research is focused on the influence of the African American Black Power movement on political and cultural resistance in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname in the 1960s and 1970s. Debby Esmeé: "I find the transnational history of the Black Power movement fascinating because it shows just how powerful minorities can be. The global impact of the movement indicates that diasporic communities in different regions shared similar experiences and that there was a widespread need for pan-African solidarity. In the Dutch Caribbean, Black Power ideology was primarily used to criticize the colonial power of the Netherlands. Local activists felt inspired by the anti-imperial message of prominent American Black Power intellectuals, who believed that African Americans were still victims of colonialism and should therefore also challenge foreign colonial empires. By exploring the connection between African American and Dutch Caribbean protest in this period, I hope to place resistance in the Dutch colonies into a broader context while also explaining its unique position in the international Black Power movement."