Research Fellow
Hunger winter, famine studies, war and conflict, food history
+31 (0)20-523 38 00

Link to overview research output

Ingrid de Zwarte (1988) is Researcher at the NIOD and Assistant Professor of Rural and Environmental History at Wageningen University. She studied History and Slavic Languages and Cultures at the University of Amsterdam. In February 2018, she completed her PhD in History at that same university and the NIOD with a thesis entitled ‘The Hunger Winter: Fighting Famine in the Occupied Netherlands, 1944-45’. During her PhD, she was also a visiting scholar at Columbia University’s European Institute and Department of Epidemiology.

Her thesis was awarded the ASH Valorisation Award 2015 at the University of Amsterdam for contributing to an exhibition in the Dutch Resistance Museum and various media performances, and the ASH Dissertation Award 2017-18. The popularising version of her thesis, De Hongerwinter, was published last March by Prometheus, and the academic monograph will appear with Cambridge University Press in spring/summer 2020.

De Zwarte’s research explores the role of food and famine in modern conflict in the broadest sense: from hunger as a political and military tool in warfare to social self-organisation in times of hunger, and from the demographic impact of famine to the effects of hunger on migration and state formation. Before coming to Wageningen, she was able to further develop this research line as a Niels Stensen Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford, working on the research project: ‘Hunger as a Weapon: A Comparative Study into the Politics of Famine and Relief’.

Together with Marguérite Corporaal (PI) and Lotte Jensen, De Zwarte has been awarded a NWO NWA-ORC Grant (€1.6m) for the project ‘Heritages of Hunger: Societal Reflections on Past European Famines in Education, Commemoration and Musealisation’. Working with famine experts from sixteen countries, it investigates the past and present significance of European famines in educational institutions and the heritage sector. Her subproject focuses on the politicisation of famine pasts in three heritage traditions: the Ukrainian Holodomor, the Leningrad blockade and the Dutch Hunger Winter. Within the project, she leads the work packages ‘Famine, War and Conflict’ and ‘Knowledge Utilisation’, and co-supervises two PhD projects. The project will develop digital educational materials and policy recommendations, thus aiming to combine scientific and societal breakthroughs.

De Zwarte is editor of the War, Conflict, and Genocide Studies series at Amsterdam University Press, and co-organiser of the annual Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food.

Other professional activities:

  • 2019-date: Associate Member Oxford History Faculty
  • 2015-date: co-organizer Amsterdam Symposium on the History of Food
  • 2013-date: editor War, Conflict and Genocide Studies (Amsterdam University Press)

Previous positions:

  • 2018-2019: Niels Stensen Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oxford
  • 2017-2018: Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds writing grant
  • 2017-2018: Lecturer in Global History, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • 2013-2017: PhD Candidate at the University of Amsterdam and NIOD, funded by the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies
  • 2015-2017: Lecturer in Modern History, University of Amsterdam
  • 2016: Visiting scholar European Institute and Epidemiology Department, Columbia University (funded by Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Scholarship and Jo Kolk Scholarship)
  • 2016: historical advisor and researcher for the exhibition “Food in wartime,” Dutch Resistance Museum
  • 2014: historical advisor and researcher for the exhibition “To the farms: Child evacuations during the Hunger Winter,” Dutch Resistance Museum
  • 2012-2013: research assistant NIOD in the NWO-funded research project “Imprisonment during the German occupation”, under supervision by Dr Ralf Futselaar