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War and Remembrance


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor’s programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


People who were born and raised in the EU are very unlikely to have experienced war firsthand. Parents, or more likely grandparents, may have given their oral accounts based on personal memory. However, what most of us know or think we know about war and combat is most likely to be the product of media such as war movies, novels, images, museums, memorials, and commemorative rituals. This module is about the way we remember war, how this memory is produced and for which political, ideological, and other goals ‘a useable past’ it is generated. How does 'collective memory' – if there is such a thing – relate to experience, historiography and (national) identity? And in what ways is individual memory shaped by the dominant cultural representations of the past?

In the course of six weeks we will look at several armed conflicts of the wider 20th Century, such as the First and Second World War, the Indonesian War of Independence and the Vietnam War and analyze the way they have been remembered through the prism provided by various media. We will also look at how memory of past wars and the resulting historical analogies are currently used to influence policies and perception in relation to the Ukraine War. Within six weeks, you will be familiar with some basic concepts and issues in Cultural Memory Studies, and you will start your own research in a case of cultural memory from your own country, background, or area of study, and write an academic paper on your findings.

Course objectives

After finishing this course, you will:

  • Understand the theory of memory vs. historiography

  • Be able to analyze cultural (re-) constructions and representations of war

  • Be able to draw conclusions on the functions and effects of cultural memory of war, using the appropriate theory

  • Be able to set up a research into cultural memory and write an academic paper about it.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

a. Plenary (guest)lectures
b. Seminars
c. Excursion to the Dutch Resistance Museum. Date to be announced.
d. Literature study

Assessment method


a. Individual assignment: an academic paper of 3.000 – 3.500 words
b. Individual presentation
c. Two group presentations (one during the excursion)


The academic paper will make up 70 percent of the final grade, which has to be a 6 minimum. The remaining 30 percent will be the average of the presentations and overall participation during class. The paper needs to be graded with a 6 minimum.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursion). If you are unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control, notify the lecturer and/ or the Humanities Lab coordinators in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence, and hand in your weekly assignment in writing to the lecturer (if applicable). Being absent without notification and valid reason may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


If the final grade is insufficient there is the possibility of retaking the final essay.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

We will read works on cultural memory by Jan and Aleida Assman, Jay Winter, James E. Young and others. Most of these will be made available through Brightspace.


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.