Arij Ouweneel Dr. Arij Ouweneel

Associate Professor
Research Fields: History; Cultural Cognitive Studies
Tel. +31 20 525 3246 / 3498; email:
Office hours: Mondays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Arij Ouweneel is Associate Professor at CEDLA and was Special Professor of Historical Anthropology of the Amerindian Peoples at the Universiteit Utrecht from 1999 to 2004. He graduated cum laude in Social-Economic History at the Universiteit Leiden in 1983 and received his PhD cum laude in Social-Economic History at the same university in 1989. Over the past few years he changed from colonial history to contemporary history.

Research interests

Ouweneel’s research interests are connected to what may be called deep memory. Cultural Memory Studies (formerly: Collective Memory Studies) is usually articulated to the politics of memory. However, in recent years scholars have widened their perspective, if only because the politics of memory appeared to have deep roots — deep into history, that is. For example, the politics of memory of the Dirty War in the Andes is closely connected to the views on the Amerindian population of Peru. In general, the politics of memory deals with the arena of debating the roles of perpetrators and victims in order to convict the first and assist the latter. But questions like racism and decolonization are also fiercely debated in this arena and they therefore also fall into the field of Cultural Memory Studies. Both racism and decolonization belong to deep memory.

Research is done in different Spanish American countries. Theoretically, Ouweneel tries to amend Cultural Memory Studies with insights from Cultural Schema Theory. The essence of schema theory in the cognitive sciences is that in large measure information processing is mediated by learned or innate mental structures that organize related pieces of our knowledge. Because a narrative cultural memory is a specific cognitive schema, its parameters and elements can be identified. The corpus of material under scope includes feature fiction films from Peru, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, paintings from Peru, Mexico and Bolivia, mural art from Peru, Mexico, and Argentina, musical clips from Bolivia, Peru and other countries, and novels from Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. This material will be contextualized with newspaper clippings, court sentences, and a series of non-fictional moving images, and analyzed from long historical perspectives.

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