Postcolonial Memory in Belgium and the Netherlands: Re-sounding echoes of silent pasts.


The course is relevant for PhD students interested in reflection on our relationship with the past and is specifically relevant for historians, philosophers, researchers from the literary studies department, anthropologists, political sciences, law scholars and sociologists. There is no specific foreknowledge required.

Organizing and Scientific Committee

  • Prof. dr. Sarah De Mul (University of Antwerpen)
  • Prof. dr. Idesbald Goddeeris (KU Leuven)
  • Prof. Berber Bevernage (Ghent University)
  • Dr. Anton Groeyman (Ghent University)
  • Davy Verbeke (Institute for Public History, Ghent University)
  • Eva Willems (Ghent University)
  • Tessa Boeykens (Ghent University)

The course is organized in cooperation with the interdisciplinary research forum TAPAS/Thinking About the PASt and the International Network for Theory of History (INTH).


Themes that will be explored include the use of history and memory after violent conflict, the politics of time and identity, public apologies and forgiveness, the construction and deconstruction of (national) narratives, (postcolonial) reconciliation, the reconciliation of narratives of perpetrators and victims, post-conflict challenges in multicultural societies, epistemological and ethical challenges on the road to reconciliation, tensions between the academy and activism, etc.


The course consists of a double format. The first part is a series of workshops in which specialists will present a talk (45 min.) on the central theme of 'Postcolonial Memory in Belgium and the Netherlands: Re-sounding echoes of silent pasts'. Each of these talks will be followed by a discussion (45 min.) between the participants and the speakers, in which the participating students can relate the topic of the talk to their own research. The first workshop of this year's series will consist of a debate with several speakers that will be targeted at a wider public.

In order to provide context and background for these workshops, a series of reading group sessions are organized. In each of these sessions, we will discuss one recent or classic paper or book chapter related to the central theme that students have prepared at home through literature study. Each reading group will be a thematic and theoretical preparation for the subsequent workshop. These sessions will be moderated by prof. dr. Berber Bevernage (Department of History) and dr. Anton Froeyman (Department of Philosophy and Morla Sciences). Each session will also begin with a short introduction. The course will be held entirely in English. All discussed texts will be in English as well.

Programme & Venue

All workshops will take place from 12:30 to 14:00 at Ghent University, UFO Room 110.003 unless announced otherwise.


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Required preparation

Students are expected to do literature study to prepare the reading group sessions. Also for the workshops, students are expected to do preparatory reading on the corresponding topics. The texts will be made available online at the beginning of the course.

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Active participation during at least 10 sessions

Number of participants

Maximum 20

Registration fee

Free of charge for members of the Ghent University Doctoral School Arts, Humanities and Law.

Contact information

Dr. Anton Froeyman, Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences, Centre for Critical Philosophy, Ghent University, board member International Network for Theory of History (INTH)