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Prof. dr. Ismee Tames


Senior researcher, program leader and professor, combining the NIOD, ARQ and Utrecht University I dedicate myself to studying how people and their societies deal with war and mass violence. To better understand these processes in our past and present world I take a transnational, global and micro history approach, that I combine with methods from the social sciences and digital humanities. Currently I'm working on the experience of statelessness since the First World War, focusing in issues like silences, complex historical sources, violence, persecution, displacement, inclusion and exclusion, agency and 'the enemy within'.

Human beings are meaning-makers. If we experience the world around us as not making sense, our minds will do anything to create sense. In our current times of widespread violence and polarization, this means the only sense we may make is that the world is full of enemies to either eliminate or run away from. Our meaning-making process thus perpetuates our fear, polarization and violence.

I’ve spent the last 20 years researching how people make sense of their world when going through extreme experiences such as wars, persecution and forced migration.
With my writing and teaching I help to open up to the experiences of others so that we can break down barriers and re-build our world from an understanding of shared humanity.

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Opening hours reading room
  • Tue - Fri09:00 - 17:30 u
  • Closed on Mondays