prof. dr. Ralf Futselaar
I am a researcher at NIOD and Professor of the Social History of War, Mass Violence and Genocide at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I am currently working on a NIOD research project on the history of institutions for psychiatric patients during the Second World War. I am also involved in applying methods from computational linguistics to historical research. In cooperation with Erasmus Medical Centre, I am working on a large-scale study of the long-term and short-term health of people born during the war years.
I was trained as an economic and social historian and most of my work therefore concerns the everyday lives of more or less ordinary people in unusual circumstances.
Because these unusual circumstances were often also very unhealthy circumstances, I became increasingly interested in medical history. This has led to publications on, among other things, tuberculosis in post-war Japan, the treatment of war traumas in Denmark and Norway, and the history of Dutch psychiatry.
Due to my background and research topics, I am very interested in quantitative methods. This applies both to research based on traditional numerical variables, such as mortality rates, and to research on large text files.
In addition to my research work, I have been able to spend a lot of time teaching and developing education, at universities such as Utrecht University, Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan and, most recently, Erasmus University in Rotterdam.