Research Excellence Initiative Grant for Maria Grever and Stijn Reijnders (ESHCC)

Prof. Maria Grever (main applicant) and prof. Stijn Reijnders (co-applicant) have been selected for the Research Excellence Initiative (REI). They received a large grant, financed by the board of Erasmus University Rotterdam, for their proposal War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts.


This research offers a unique chance to combine the expertise of two research centres at the Erasmus School for History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) - the Centre for Historical Culture (CHC) and the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Culture and Communication (ERMeCC) - with the agenda of the Erasmus Studio (ES), the institute for e-research at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocides Studies.


The two World Wars, the Cold War and recent major armed conflicts in regions such as former Yugoslavia, have left profound traces in European historical culture, dividing nations and forcing ethnic minorities to migrate. These historical developments have posed serious threats to peace on the European continent. Over the last decades, these wars have been commemorated in institutionalised ways, but their legacy is also increasingly remembered and sometimes celebrated in popular culture, crossing various national boundaries. Popular ways of dealing with material and immaterial traces of major armed conflicts have evoked fierce public debates, mostly because of the risks of banalising or distorting history. These controversies reveal the growing contrast between the - often uncontrollable - popular initiatives and the institutionalised commemorative practices. The tensions between official commemoration and popularisation are at the heart of our research. We aim to investigate these tensions and to achieve a meaningful collaboration between government bodies, the tourist industry, museums, heritage institutes, and educational organisations.


The research program consists of three research projects:

  • Games set in war-devastated urban landscapes, 1939-present. PhD project (supervisors Kees Ribbens, Jeroen Jansz)

  • War sites and cemeteries PhD project (supervisors Stijn Reijnders, Maria Grever)

  • Museums and online testimonies on war and liberation Postdoc project, funded partly from other sources (supervisor Franciska de Jong)