My PhD project: Beyond forgetting: silences in the "age of apology" looks at norms of remembrance in an age when apologies, regret and the witness are powerful cultural and political constructs of a liberal "imaginary "(main promoter prof. Rob van der Laarse, AHM, co- promoter dr. Matthijs Lok, European Studies). In Europe, the invocations of the authoritarian past (both the Second World War and communism) and the subsequent debates about victims have been a central concern in the last three decades. A distinct mobilization around memory was visible in public debates on what should be remembered, who and why some make the effort of erasing and how representing this negative type of history can change nationalist, state-centred or exclusionary ideas of the past. In the thesis, I look in particular at the post-socialist space, because here, narratives of liberal democracy were heavily dependant on the idea of moving on and classifying history. I take this context as an indicative case study for the implications of what has more recently been considered to be the transnational memory of "totalitarianism". By looking at recent debates about the far right, ideas of rights, laws and state, I analyze how the type of mobilization around political, judicial and moral narratives around remembrance for a new "liberal" identity made the representation of authoritarian past both overly prominent and divisively selective. The thesis aims to propose a different reading of the place of past political violence in "European memory".
I am currently also research assistant in the project Accessing Campscapes, Inclusive Strategies for European Conflicted Pasts