I am an assistant professor (political history of European integration) at the European Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam and an active member of the research groups "European Narratives: Power of culture/Cultures of power" and "Memory and Popular Culture" within ARTES, the University of Amsterdam’s School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies.
My lines of research are decolonisation and European integration, Europeanisation and domestic change and exemplarity as political process.
The main focus of my PhD thesis was on Dutch perceptions of Europe and the effects thereof on the national political system in the Netherlands. Conceptually, this research was strongly influenced by the work of political scientists on "Europeanisation and domestic change". For this research, I made use of the archives of political parties, but also of less obvious primary sources for a researcher in the field of European integration history, such as novels. My main argument concerned the discussions about European integration from the 1940s to the 1960s within Dutch political parties. I argued that these were far more ideologically inspired than had been assumed in previous histories of the period. At the same time the future prospect of Europeanisation confirmed and strengthened Dutch national "consociational" politics (power sharing between elites from different social groups).
Over the last few years most of my research dealt with the connection between decolonisation and European integration. My current research programme "Colonial exceptionalism or co-imperialism? Imperial powers and European unity" examines the political imagination in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s about the future course of imperial relationships. It deals with the ambiguity of European integration in the sense that it starts from the premise that the reformist nature of the European integration process could well be combined with imperial conservatism. My article on Indonesian decolonisation and the Dutch attitudes towards the EEC’s association policy (see list of publications below, 2017) can be seen as a first exploration of this field. A second example is my recent contribution to a special issue of Journal of Contemporary European Studies about counternarratives to European union. My article (see list of publications below, 2022) discusses the Alt-Right’s representation of the "Kalergi Plan" for the integration of Europe and its colonies from the 1920s as part of a master plan by cosmopolitan elites to partly replace and "blend" the predominantly white population with migrants from outside Europe.
An example of my research on exemplarity as a political process is my chapter on the enthusiasm for the "Salazar system" in the 1930s and early 1940s in the edited volume on the Authoritarian Third Way in the Era of Fascism (see list of publications below, 2022).
There is a strong connection between my research and my teaching. My chapter in the textbook The Unfinished History of European Integration (see list of publications below, 2018) originated from two of my lectures in a first-year course on the history and theory of European Integration. In January 2020, the journal of the New York-based Council for European Studies put its spotlight on this publication and on a second publication that I recently co-edited, Eurocentrism in European History and Memory (see list of publications below, 2019), in an interview about the ways in which the field of European Studies is developing: https://www.europenowjournal.org/2020/01/15/the-unfinished-history-of-europe-an-interview-with-robin-de-bruin/.
I teach courses about European integration history, the history of the idea of Europe, modern imperialism and decolonisation, democracy in the European Union, "mental maps" of modern Europe, and (anti-)statism:
The Ordering of Europe in the 20th and 21st Century (Ba) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/85316
Het ordenen van Europa in de 20e en 21e eeuw (Ba) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/85313
Making Europe: Ideologies and Power (Ma) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/86615
European Integration (Ba) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/85272
Europese integratie (Ba) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/85269
Europe and the "Global South" in the 19th and 20th Century (Ba) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/90147
Democracy in the European Union (Ma) https://studiegids.uva.nl/xmlpages/page/2021-2022/zoek-vak/vak/87678
Furthermore, I am the co-ordinator of the major and minor in European History, a member/vice-chair of the examinations board of the Graduate School of Humanities (the MA) and a delegate of the examinations board of the College of Humanities (the BA).