The research group Cultures of War and Liberation analyses and discusses the history and cultures of war and liberation on a local, regional, national and international level using a multi-perspective, transnational and interdisciplinary approach. We seek inspiration from adjoining scientific disciplines, their methodical approaches and insights, in order to better understand the complex interactions between war, liberation and corresponding themes. Our interest is predominantly focused on the Second World War, the post-war years and the 1960s.
Central to our research are the following sub-questions: Which different meanings of war, occupation and liberation can we identify in past societies? How did historical actors remember their own war-time and liberation situations and encode them in their respective cultures of memory? How can we analyse the function of war and memory in broader cultural contexts (literature, art, film, architecture, museums, music, games, etc.) as a moral point of reference for post-war society? What kind of actors shape the politics and cultures of war and liberation, before, during and after moments of conflict and crisis? How can digital humanities provide us with new tools to analyse the politics of cultures of liberation in historical periodicals, life writing and documentary data?
To answer these and other questions, our researchers analyse and evaluate the dynamic and comprehensive historical meaning of war, occupation, liberation and freedom as well as the export of ideas about freedom and human rights in different regions in the world. ranging from the European Reconstruction Program to the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. We aim to make our research relevant to current challenges in present-day conflict areas, explore the educational potential of sites of memory in national, supranational, and digital environments, and reach out to political think tanks and public institutions such as schools, archives and museums to create new networks and inspire projects related to the cultures of war and liberation.
Radboud University is located in a war-torn city near historical battle fields. It has a strong tradition in socio-cultural war research with public significance. We co-operate with external partners such as the Province of Gelderland, the Freedom Museum, the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.