Research interests: sites of memory; painful heritage; urban space; in situ memorial museums; literary and cultural analysis; material culture of the Holocaust; postcolonial studies; colonial ruin; digital memories.
My research investigates the memory of the Holocaust and European colonialism. I focus on spatial and material environments, such as museums, memorials and heritage sites, and the way the past is remediated at these locations.
Together with Dr. Paul Bijl, Dr. Chiara de Cesari and Dr. Ihab Saloul, I organize the international ‘AHM Conference 2017: Materialities of Postcolonial Memory’ hosted by the Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture (7-9 December 2017). Now that the privileged position of white people is being rethought in Western societies, and people of color are increasingly vocal about racism in contemporary Europe, the colonial and slavery pasts have more than ever become points of social encounter and contention. Matter and materiality are central concerns in such debates, from the centuries long but often unacknowledged African and Asian presence in Europe to the ruinous effects of the colonial past on communities around the globe to often unarticulated material traces in Europe’s towns and cities. At the same time, material interventions, from protests to new museum spaces, form creative contestations of present and past material injustices. This international conference looks at the awkward, aphasiac and contested memories of Europe’s colonial and slavery past by bringing together scholars from heritage and memory studies, postcolonial and critical race studies, conservation and material culture studies, art, anthropology and all other disciplines represented in AHM.
Together with prof. dr. Yra van Dijk, I coordinate a European project called ‘Digital Memory of the Shoah’, funded by NWO (2017-2018). With partners from universities, NGO’s and museums from the Netherlands, the UK, Poland, Germany, Israel, Belgium, Croatia, Italy and Sweden, we will set up a database to map existing practices and research on the influence of new media on Holocaust memory and write a proposal for fundamental and comparative research on this topic. We focus on three topics: (1) connectivity and community; (2) testimony, narrative and digital archives (3) performance, affect and presence.
My dissertation Signs of the Shoah: The Hollandsche Schouwburg as a Site of Memory (University of Amsterdam, 2016) is an in-depth study of the Hollandsche Schouwburg. This former theater in Amsterdam was used as deportation site for tens of thousands of Jews during World War II and currently functions as a memorial museum. In analysing the design and use of the current presentation, I found that the meaning of this site is bot inherent to an authentic location, but rather produced through an interaction between site-specific media and its visitors. This open character ensures that such sites remain relevant to current and future generations, as they offer direct, yet mediated, contact with the troubled past. My dissertation was supervised by prof. dr. Frank van Vree and prof. dr. Rob van der Laarse and a collaboration with the Jewish Cultural Quarter. In 2013, AUP published a contributed volume on the history of the Hollandsche Schouwburg, De Hollandsche Schouwburg: theater, deportatieplaats, plek van herinnering (2nd print in 2017). In 2017, an AUP published an English and fully revised volume, Site of Deportation, Site of Memory. The Amsterdam Hollandsche Schouwburg and the Holocaust. I was editor and co-author for both works.
Organisation and Chairing.
Organisation, chairing & paper: 'Confronting Colonial Pasts: Transformations in Dutch Heritage Narratives'
Organisation and Chairing.
Organisation and Chairing.
Paper: "Self-inscription at the Hollandsche Schouwburg, Amsterdam: the latent indexicality of in situ memorial museums."
Invited speaker, lecture: "Signs of the Shoah"
Organisation and Chairing in collaboration with dr. Paul Bijl.
Chairman & Paper: "Superimposition and self-inscription at the Hollandsche Schouwburg"
Organization & Paper: "De/constructing a theater of memory"
Organization and Chairing
Paper: "The Hollandsche Schouwburg as a spatial configuration"
Organization & Paper: "The Shoah in Minahasa? Familial heritage in a post-colonial setting." Click here for an edited version.
Poster presentation: "The Hollandsche Schouwburg as urban dark heritage."
Paper: "Heritage as a cultural and historical process: the production and consumption of the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam."
Paper: "Virtual & Physical Spaces of Memory: the 'Digital Monument to the Jewish Community' in a museum setting."
Lecture: "Drie op een rij. De jodenvervolging herdacht in Nederland."
Paper: "Urban Memory: Imagining the Past."
Paper: "The Hollandsche Schouwburg between Jewish memory and Dutch society."
Paper: "Performing urban memory.The façade of the Hollandsche Schouwburg: theater, site of terror, site of memory." (See PDF below)
Paper: "The Hollandsche Schouwburg as a dialogical monument: Performing Jewish identity."
Paper: "The Hollandsche Schouwburg as stage for the performance of memory."
Paper: "The Politics of Commemoration: From Nation-building to Collective Mourning in the Netherlands." Published as peer-reviewed chapter.
Presentatie: "Literaturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven. Narrative Überlebensstrategien in Zeitzeugnissen."
I work at the department of Literary and Cultural Analysis and teach the following courses: