Van Berkel conducts research at the crossroads of historical issues and education. He consequently focuses on the Holocaust and its representations in history education throughout the years. The researcher seeks to optimize Holocaust education by studying educational resources and curricula, by interviewing teachers and students, and by supporting teachers through training or refresher courses.
“Research, information, training courses and media literacy are essential,” says Van Berkel. “Knowledge of the Holocaust is declining, among both youngsters and teachers. In addition to this, there’s been an increase in the emergence of distorted or dramatized interpretations of the Holocaust.” Through his research, Van Berkel hopes to increase teachers’ and students’ historical awareness of the Holocaust. “Even though the Holocaust was a historical event, it ultimately deals with human behaviour under extreme circumstances.”
About Marc van Berkel
Marc van Berkel was born in Tilburg in 1961 and began his academic career at Leiden University, where he completed his History degree in 1988. He worked as a history teacher in Rostock and Voorburg and has been involved in several research projects. He has been working as a Senior Lecturer in History at HAN University of Applied Sciences’ Education Academy since 2007. He began his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2012, which resulted in a PhD thesis on fifty years of Holocaust representations in history textbooks in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands.
Van Berkel has led several research projects, including those on students’ knowledge and teaching practices of the Holocaust and World War II in the Netherlands, plus those on the representations of the decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies and the legacy of Srebrenica in history education. He is also a member of the Dutch delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).