This research project examines how the heritage of modern war history is represented and appropriated in contemporary popular culture, and which modifications or additions can be advised to harmonise these appropriations with the requirements and principles of democratic historical and civic education.

The lines of inquiry will be carried out in four subprojects, all focusing on Europe.

Popular Culture and the Second World War

In her PhD project ‘Popular Culture and the Second World War',Laurie Slegtenhorst focuses on how the Second World War is represented in contemporary Dutch popular culture, mainly in musicals, movies and war-tours. Moreover, she studies how popular culture is connected with the heritage sector and history education. Although her main focus is on the Netherlands after 2000, the development of WW II representations in international popular culture since 1945 will be analysed as well.

Games set in war-devastated European (urban) landscapes

In this PhD project, Pieter Van den Heede focuses on the representation and simulation of history in digital games set in war-devastated European (urban) landscapes. He will look at how World War II and recent armed conflicts, such as the civil war in former Yugoslavia, are expressed and appropriated through commercial digital games. How are these wars represented and simulated through gaming? Why do gamers play these games and how do they think about war?  

Visiting war sites and cemeteries

In her PhD project ‘Visiting War Sites’, Siri Driessen focuses on the many visits that are made to locations that are related to three European armed conflicts of the twentieth century: the First World War, the Second World War and the civil war in former Yugoslavia. What motivates do people have to visit these bleak remnants of history?  

Performing Historical Pasts

Lise Zurné MA (PhD project): "Performing Urban Pasts: Historical Reenactments with Sensitive Heritage" (start October 2017)

The use of digital testimonies

This project is carried out as a post-doc research by Dr Susan Hogervorst. She will explore the ways in which live and digitalised eye witness testimonies are used in formal and non-formal education.

How does the transmission of eye witness memory take place in the digital age? How do teachers and ‘makers’ think of the differences between live and digitalised eye witness testimonies? What expectations, limitations, and possibilities does this kind of material generate? And to what extent do the uses of digitalised testimonies demand new interpretations of notions such as ‘authenticity’, ‘authority’, and ‘experience’?

Historical Reenactments as Simulation of the Past

Dr Robbert-Jan Adriaansen, "Historical Reenactments as Simulation of the Past: a New Paradigm for Research" (start: 1 April 2018)

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