The section Political History of the department of History and Art History of Utrecht University is looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a background in contemporary history and a particular interest in the study of modern conflict and mass violence. The candidate will work on the interconnectedness of local political dynamics and the Nazi-persecution of Jews in the Netherlands outside the urban centers of Western Holland.
For this project we are also looking for a PhD student to carry out research into local socio-cultural dynamics
. At a later stage a Postdoc candidate, based at the faculty of Humanities, Art and Culture, History, Antiquity of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will complete the research team.The Project
Over a third of the approximately 104,000 deported Dutch Jews came from small towns and villages. While academic literature presents the Holocaust in the Netherlands as a linear, streamlined Nazi-attack on Jews, centered in Amsterdam and other big cities of Western Holland, a plethora of new local studies indicates local differentiations. However, their scope is restricted as they fail to come up with a more comparative or general analysis. The aim of our research project is to reconstruct the ‘Provinzentjudung’, understood as the persecution of Jews outside the urban centers of Western Holland, and to clarify how local, communal dynamics intersected with patterns of persecution.
To achieve this goal, we intend to investigate a carefully chosen selection of provincial towns between 1925 and 1950, combining close-up research with comparative analysis and Digital Humanities methods of data analysis and visualization. This integrative approach will enable us to explain the entanglement of local history and the genocidal process, the role of local actors, and the impact of (inter)communal networks on Jewish escape.
We are seeking as per 1 February 2023 a PhD student for subproject 1, ‘Calculated choices: local political actors and the Holocaust in the Netherlands (1925-1950)’. This subproject will examine the local political dynamics in the Provinzentjudung. By focusing on the broader political constellation in local communities, over a longer span of time, Subproject 1 aims to find out more about the choices of local political actors, hypothesizing that they had a voice in choosing their position and alliances and, at moments, could ‘seize’ anti-Jewish policy to pursue their own political agendas and/or to influence local power relations in their favor.
In subproject 1, the candidate will carry out empirical research of relevant bodies of source-material from national, provincial, and local archives, complemented by a study of memoirs and other ego-documents to critically assess the agency of local political actors. The investigations will include both vertical dynamics, i.e., the development of relationships between local political actors and central authorities in the Provinzentjudung, and horizontal dynamics, between political stakeholders within a town.
The candidate will be part of a research team of a fellow PhD student and a postdoc with whom they/she/he will jointly work. This team is led by senior scholars and the candidate will benefit from their expertise and networks, both in- and outside the academia. Within the UU, the candidate will be embedded in the section of Political History and the expert-group Conflict and Violence, offering a superb, yet ‘safe’ surrounding to present and discuss findings. An Academic Advisory Board of renowned international scholars will guard over the scientific soundness of the work. The candidate will be encouraged to publish and present preliminary findings, abroad and at home, and to participate in the public activities we will organize for international scholarly audiences and the Dutch public at large.
The candidate will enroll in the PhD training program of the Dutch National Research School Political History (RSPH/OPG).