Arij Ouweneel Dr. Arij Ouweneel

Associate Professor 
Research Fields: (Public) History; Cultural Cognitive Studies
Tel. +31 20 525 3246 / 3498; email:

Arij Ouweneel (Prof. Em.) 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 decade he changed from colonial history to contemporary public history and the cognitive cultural studies. 

Research interests

Ouweneel’s current field of study is public history. This field studies the representation of history in the public sphere. Two lines of inquiry are relevant for most practitioners. First, historians study how their colleagues (or indeed they themselves) may actively participate in the ways historical knowledge can be disseminated through museums, television and films (fiction or documentaries), literature including (graphic) novels, and the digital media (Internet). Second, historians study the ways artists, filmmakers, writers, journalists and museum curators for example represent their vision on the past in their work. This second line of inquiry regards muralists, painters, or cartoonists as public historians in their own right. This is the field that stands central in Ouweneel’s current research, analyzing source material from Spain, Germany, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico. Theoretically, he tries to amend this work on public histories with insights from the Cognitive Cultural Studies. The essence of this 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 analyzing artifacts.

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