Dr. Cesar Lopez (Madrid) on his research stay at the CHC

It was a great pleasure for me to be able to stay for two weeks at the Center for Historical Culture (CHC), Erasmus University Rotterdam. I learned about the different research projects concerning the transmission of historical representation in popular historical culture that are currently conducted within the project called 'War! Popular Culture and European Heritage of Major Armed Conflicts'. Some of these research projects are focused on how popular culture shape the memory of WWII.

I had the opportunity to know and discuss the work by Pieter Van den Heede on the role of war video games in representing and experiencing major conflicts such as WWII, and the project by Laurie Slegtenhorst on how memory of WWII is represented and transmitted in the context of a very popular Dutch musical called 'Soldier of Orange'. During my stay I could discuss the work by Susan Hogervorst on digitalized eye-witness testimonies used both in formal and informal settings. Related to this last project, I visited the wonderful 40-45 NU museum, focused on the bombings during WWII in the city of Rotterdam. This museum is a very clear example of the link between history, memory, education and moral choices. Knowing more about these research projects increased my understanding of the role of popular culture in the transmission and appropriation of historical representations and the methods used for their analysis. I also met Tina van der Vlies who examines national narratives in English and Dutch history textbooks. Her research is very important and interesting for our current research conducted in Spain. Hopefully all these meetings will open new opportunities for future collaborations between our two research teams.

It was very inspiring to participate in the symposium organized by Professor Maria Grever and Robbert-Jan Adriaansen, called "Heritage, Education and the Nation". I presented a research paper, "Re-thinking master national narratives". Dr. David Ludvigsson (Sweden) presented the paper, "Guided walks at Swedish historical sites". We had a lively discussion after each paper, focused on the transmission of historical knowledge on informal settings.

A wonderful experience was that I could share and present my research in the Research Workshop entitled "History, Memory and National Identity" within his master course conducted by Robbert-Jan Adriaansen at Erasmus University.

During my two weeks at CHC I also had the chance to discuss my research with colleagues from other institutions. I had a meeting with Dr. Stephan Klein from Leiden University. Dr. Klein’s research focuses on history teaching and heritage education and he has an extensive experience with history teachers. I exchanged ideas with him about my current research on the role of narratives as mediators for history learning and how to help history teachers with narratives in order to foster historical thinking in our students. I was also invited to attend a meeting hold at University of Amsterdam organized by Carla van Boxtel and Arie Wilschut together with other colleagues from The Netherlands and Belgium. The meeting focused on discussing current research on history teachers’ beliefs and conceptions.

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