Popular culture and war

Roy Borghouts

Kees Ribbens (NIOD) appointed endowed professor of Popular Historical Culture and War

Dr Kees Ribbens has been appointed endowed professor of Popular Historical Culture and War at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, starting on 1 January 2013. His endowed chair is established by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam. The chair is part of the Center for Historical Culture (CHC) at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.

In today's globalized society there is a growing need for academic reflection on the transfer and (re)mediation of narratives and representations of wars and mass violence in popular historical culture. Our ways of dealing with the memories and heritage of world wars and genocide have strongly changed, partly due to the use of new media (such as internet, games, simulation, 3D cinema) and the reuse of older genres.

This unique chair emphasizes the importance of the public and daily interaction with historical experiences of wars and large-scale violence in traditional and new media since 1900. In his research and teaching, Ribbens will focus on different ways in which war representations and memories of war constantly change form and meaning. It is a broad international field covering the 20th and early 21st century, ranging from comics to exhibitions and commemorations, and from computer games to YouTube videos.

Ribbens examines how successive generations continue to appropriate the phenomenon of war and mass violence in everyday life, not seldom in a tension between solemn reflection and appealing entertainment. This endowed chair connects the expertise of the NIOD on how World War II, the Holocaust and other wars and genocides play a role in various societies with the knowledge of the Center for Historical Culture (EUR) on the functioning of the historical culture.

About Kees Ribbens

Ribbens (1967) studied Modern History at Radboud University, Nijmegen and obtained his PhD in 2001 at Utrecht University with a dissertation on popular historical culture in the postwar Netherlands. He worked as a researcher and lecturer at the universities of Utrecht, Nijmegen and Rotterdam and as managing editor of Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, the Dutch Journal of History. Since 2006 he has been working at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Amsterdam where he is currently senior researcher in the field of public history. One of his main interests are the changing social meanings of war. Dr. Ribbens holds the chair for one day a week and will contribute to both teaching and research at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

See for more information on Ribbens' research interests the interview on kennislink.nl (in Dutch).

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