The field of applied history has attracted strong interest in recent years, Kaal says. 'In times of crisis - the climate crisis, financial-economic crises, the corona pandemic - we look to the past for guidance on present and future. My research in applied history centers on three questions. How do societies - present and past - give meaning to the usefulness and added value of history? How are historical knowledge, insights and skills deployed in policy? And how can we embed history sustainably in the policy process?'
'History is usually used unconsciously and ad hoc in policy practice. With my research, I contribute to the structural anchoring of historical knowledge, insights and skills in policy. In collaboration with policymakers, I tackle these questions. In education, I provide modules in which students connect science and society.'
About Harm Kaal
Kaal (Eindhoven, 1977) studied history at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he also completed a programme that made him a first-degree teacher in 2002. He obtained his PhD from the same university in 2008, with a thesis on Amsterdam's administrative culture in the interwar period.
In Amsterdam, he worked briefly as a university lecturer and from 2009 he joined Radboud University, where he was associate professor in recent years. Since February 2023, he has also been vice dean of education at the Faculty of Arts. In 2012, Kaal received an NWO Veni grant for research on political language and electoral culture. In 2020, his international comparative research project on the 'voice of the people' in the post-war political culture of Western Europe began with a grant from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. He is also involved in an NWA project on sport and identity formation, and in 2024 will start a project on the use of history in policy with an Open Competition grant from NWO.