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Nicole Immler

Nicole Immler

Assoc. Prof. History and Cultural Studies /
UHD Geschiedenis en Cultuurwetenschappen
Department 'Citizenship and the Humanisation of the Public Sector'
(before 'Globalisation- and Dialogue Studies')




wetenschappelijk personeel, Leerstoel Burgerschap en Humanisering van de Publieke Sector



As historian she works on the afterlife of historical injustice (World War II, colonialism) in present day society, analysing the mediation of memory processes in society and in families across the generations, and the relation between memory, culture and identity. Today, moral issues are increasingly subjected to political negotiation. Research and teaching reflects upon those developments by combining theoretical and empirical approaches from History, Cultural Memory Studies, Holocaust Studies, Transitional Justice, Human rights and Oral History. 

Narratives of (In)justice examines how post-war and post-colonial memories in the Netherlands affected each other in the last decade and developed into a new form of legal claim culture. In the last decades worldwide apologies and compensation payments have become a crucial language for the recognition of victims of historical injustice. This research studies its effects on societies; analysing the implications for individuals and communities. Therefore this project looks at three Dutch case studies, exploring how the recognition of Dutch Jewish victims became a reference-point for present (post-colonial) claims of victims of the decolonization war in Indonesia (the so-called 'Rawagede case'), and for descendants of formerly enslaved people, Surinamese and Dutch Antillean's.

Trauma & Resilience is an intergenerational Holocaust research from an existential perspective, reaching beyond the trauma discourse. The three-generation interview research with  Dutch Jewish families explores experiences of trauma, resilience, (moral) injury, generation, and recognition, analyzing processes of preserving or recovering a sense of meaning in life in the face of dehumanisation.

'How to open spaces to address intergenerational legacies of violence? is a comparative pilot-study together with Indonesian partners (ANGIN-project): It examines how legacies of past mass violence affect the quality of family and community life in Indonesia and in the Diaspora.

'Going back with a mission' is an interdisciplinary research on the effects and the meaning of return trips by veterans to former Yugoslavia. This interdisciplinary study extends perspectives of psychiatry and psychology towards humanistics, spiritual care and ritual studies; and instead of focusing on individuals also the home front - the family perspective - is included in the analysis. Aim is to gain new knowledge about the various forms of injuries and the potential role of rituals in regard to healing.

Other research is on Ludwig Wittgenstein for Kulturwissenschaftler; the 'making' of Europe'; (auto)biography; and oral history as method used in humanities and social science research.

Selectie publicaties

Immler, Nicole (2020), Geef ons koloniaal verleden een gedeelde taal, opinie, NRC, 11 maart.

Immler, Nicole, Stef Scagliola (2020), Seeking justice for the mass execution in Rawagede. Probing the concept ‘entangled history’ in a postcolonial setting. Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice.

Immler, Nicole (2019) Oral History und Narrative Theorie: Vom Erzählen lernen. BIOS, Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral History und Lebenslaufanalysen.

Immler, Nicole (2018), Hoe koloniaal onrecht te erkennen? De Rawagede-zaak laat de kansen en grenzen van rechtsherstel zien [How to acknowledge colonial injustice?] BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review 133(4), 57–87; (Low Countries History Award 2019)

Immler, Nicole (2018), Narrating (In)Justice in Form of a Reparation Claim: Bottom-up Reflections on a Post-Colonial Setting - The Rawagede Case, in: Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice: Crimes, Courts, Commissions, and Chronicling, ed. by Nanci Adler, Rutgers University Press, 149-174.

Immler, Nicole (2018), Human Rights as a Secular Social Imaginary in the Field of Transitional Justice. The Dutch-Indonesian ‘Rawagede Case’, in: Social Imaginaries in a Globalizing World, ed. by Hans Alma and Guy Vanheeswijk, De Gruyter, 193-222. (Reviewed in: Onderzoek uitgelicht, 28-33)

Immler, Nicole (2018): Trauma & Resilience: Intergenerational Holocaust research from an existential perspective. DANS. (with Carmen Schuhmann).

Immler, Nicole (2017): ‘De Weduwen’ (The widows), exhibitionportraits by photographer Suzanne Liem, with interviews by Nicole Immler, curated by Dirk Staat. National Military Museum, Soest, April-August 2017.

Immler, Nicole (2016), Gefühltes (Un-)Recht im Familiengedächtnis. Zum Aspekt der „Generation“ in der Entschädigungspolitik, in: Generationen. Shoah und Nationalsozialismus im Familiengedächtnis, ed. by Martha Keil/Philipp  Mettauer. Studienverlag.

Immler, Nicole, Nancy Jouwe (2015), Koloniaal verleden gaat ook latere generaties aan,.Trouw, 1 april, 21.

Immler, Nicole, Hans Sakkers (2014), (Re)Programming Europe. European Capitals of Culture: Rethinking the Role of Culture, in Journal of European Studies 44 (I) 3-29.
Immler, Nicole (2013). Die Anwesenheit des Abwesenden. Schweigen im Familiengedächtnis, in Sandra Markewitz (ed.), Jenseits des beredeten Schweigens. Neue Perspektiven auf den sprachlosen Augenblick, Bielefeld, 73-99. 
Immler, Nicole (2013). Individual desire or social duty? The Role of Testimony in a Restitution Procedure. An Inquiry into Social Practice, in Nanci Adler, Selma Leydesdorff (eds) Tapestry of Memory:  Evidence and Testimony in Life Story Narratives. Transaction Publisher, 219-236.  
Immler, Nicole (2013). ‚The history, the papers, let me see it!’ Compensation Payments: The Second Generation between Archive Truth and Family Speculations, in Marie Louise Seeberg, Irene Levin, Claudia Lenz (eds.), Holocaust as Active Memory: The Past in the Present, Ashgate, 113-137.
Immler, Nicole (2012). Compensation Practices and the Dynamics of Memory: A Trans-Generational Approach, in A. Mihr (eds.), Transitional Justice: Between Criminal Justice, Atonement and Democracy. SIM Special 37, Utrecht, 154-183.
Immler, Nicole, Rigney, Ann and Short, Damien (2012). Special Issue: Reconciliation & Memory - Critical Perspectives, in Memory Studies 5(3).
Immler, Nicole (2012). ‚Too little, too late’? Compensation and family memory: Negotiating Austria’s Holocaust past, in Memory Studies 5(3), 270-281.

Immler, Nicole (2011). Das Familiengedächtnis der Wittgensteins. Zu verführerischen Lesarten von (auto-) biographischen Texten, Bielefeld.

A complete publication list with links to some articles in pdf, see research gate or
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The teaching in the Bachelor, (Pre)Master and PhD program is on ‘Pursuing Social Justice’, ‘Humanistic Practices in a Globalizing World’, ‘Oral History and Narrative Research’, 'Rituals of mourning' et al. 

Lidmaatschappen en functies

Immler is member of several international networks: 'Dialogues on Historical Justice and Memory' (AHDA); Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies; 'Oral History and Life Stories' at the European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC);  'Oral History and Digital Humanities' (CLARIN), SIMAGINE.