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Machteld Venken was an Assistant Professor and Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Vienna, where she habilitated in May 2018 in Modern and Contemporary History with a manuscript about borderland children in Europe (1871-1940). Her habilitation research was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (Lise Meitner Fellowship, 2011-2014, M 1311 – G 15) and Elise Richter Fellowship, 2014-2018, V 360 - G 22). She is also the Principal Investigator of the Citizen Science Project ‘Talking Borders. From Local Expertise to Global Exchange’ (FWF, TCS 028). Before, Machteld Venken held various postdoctoral research positions in Warsaw, including at the German Historical Institute. She holds a PhD degree from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), and MA degrees in Slavic Studies (KU Leuven, Belgium) and European Studies (Jagiellonian University, Cracow). She is the author of numerous publications, including the monograph Straddling the Iron Curtain? Immigrants, Immigrant Organisations, War Memories (2011), and editor of Growing Up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives (European Review of History 2015, together with Maren Röger) and Borderland Studies Meets Child Studies. A European Encounter (2017).
Research project at the Kolleg
During her stay at the Kolleg, Machteld Venken will (1) rework her defended habilitation into a publishable monograph, (2) work on the publications emerging from the Association for Borderland Studies World Conference which she chaired in July 2018, and (3) look for ways to continue her Citizen Science research.
(1) The main insight the habilitation brings forward is that a specific profile of child came into being in the European borderlands situated at the fringes of Prussia (later the German Empire), which switched sovereignty following the Treaty of Versailles. When their home grounds switched state sovereignty after the First World War, borderland children were envisioned to play a crucial role in bringing about the peaceful Europe that representatives at international peace conferences had had in mind. However, the creation of a modern Europe did not solve the question of how to include borderland inhabitants, differing one from another on national, religious, linguistic, cultural and/or ethnic grounds. As a consequence, the borderlands functioned as central places of struggle, whether in terms of political control, identification, or creative cultural production.
(2) After I won an open global BID, I was elected Conference Chair of the Association for Borderlands Studies World Conference 2018, which is the world's largest convention on borders and border-related issues. Under my supervision, the second edition of this quadrennial event took place at the University of Vienna and the Central European University in Budapest from July 10th to 14th, 2018. The organizing theme was Border-Making and its Consequences: Interpreting Evidence from the "post-Colonial" and "post-Imperial" 20th Century (www.abs2018world.com). During my time at the Kolleg, I will work on group publications following the world conference.
(3) The Citizen Science Project ‘Talking Borders. From Local Expertise To Global Exchange’
The ABS World Conference became a site of scientific investigation itself, where 66 citizen scientists (bachelor students in the humanities from border regions throughout the ex-Habsburg area) met 21 border scholars as equals for a cross-disciplinary (border/citizen science) experiment. The project asked: What do borders mean to border scholars? What do borders mean to young adults from the (ex-) Habsburg area? What new knowledge does a global encounter between citizen scientists and border scholars reveal? The Experiment consists of two aspects. It gathered face-to-face dialogues about the meaning of borders. It also hosts a global digital café for 100 working days, where extracts from the 100 talks will be posted so that people can comment on them. The online page will demonstrate how scientific knowledge on the global meaning(s) of borders is generated.
Main areas of research
European History in the 19th and 20th Century, migration, borders, children, oral history, citizen science
Positions and memberships
Most important peer reviews:
Journals: Low Countries Historical Review / Memory Studies / Nationalities Papers / Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies
Science bodies: Polish National Science Center / Netherlands E-Science Center
- the Association for Borderland Studies
- the Association for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies
- Belgische Vereniging voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis – l´Association belge d´Histoire contemporaine
- Cost-Action Citizen Science
Jarosław Pałka, Machteld Venken, Krzysztof Marcin Zalewski, Żołnierze 1. Dywizji Pancernej gen. Maczka. Doświadczenie i pamięć (Gdańsk: Muzeum Drugiej Wojny Światowej/ Museum of the Second World War, 2013).
Machteld Venken, Straddling the Iron Curtain? Immigrants, Immigrant Organisations, War Memories (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 2011).
Machteld Venken, ed.,Borderland Studies Meets Child Studies. A European Encounter, (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017).
Maren Röger and Machteld Venken, eds., Growing up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives, in: European Review of History / Revue européenne d'histoire (Special Issue) 22 (2015).
Machteld Venken, Leen Beyers and Idesbald Goddeeris, eds., Families, Foreignness, Migration. Now and Then, in: History of the Family. A Quarterly (Special issue) 14 (2009).
Machteld Venken, ‘Did Communist Children’s Television Communicate Universal Values? Representing Borders in the Polish Series Four Tank-Men and a Dog’, in: Blaive, Muriel (ed.) Popular Opinion in Cold War East-Central Europe, Bloomsbury Press, 2018, 159 – 176.
Machteld Venken, ‘Narrating the Time of Troubles in Polish School History Textbooks (1918-1989)’, in: Cahiers du monde russe 57 (2016) 879-902.
Maren Röger and Machteld Venken, ‘Growing up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives. Introduction’, in: European Review of History / Revue européenne d'histoire, Special Issue: Growing up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives (Maren Röger and Machteld Venken (eds.)) 22 (2015) 199-220 (Open Access).
Machteld Venken, ‘Child Forced Labour. An Analysis of Ego Documents Throughout Time’, in: European Review of History / Revue européenne d'histoire, Special Issue: Growing up in the Shadow of the Second World War. European Perspectives (Maren Röger and Machteld Venken (eds.)) 22 (2015) 368-388 (Open Access).
Machteld Venken, ‘Nationalization Campaigns and Teachers’ Life Practices in Belgian-German and Polish-German Border Regions (1945-1956)’,in: Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity, Special Issue: Border Communities: Microstudies on Everyday Life, Politics and Memory in European Societies from 1945 to the Present (Libora Oates-Indruchova, Muriel Blaive, eds.) 42 (2/2014), 223-241 (Open Access).
Machteld Venken, '’You still live far from the Motherland, but you are her son, her daughter'. War Memory and Soviet Mental Space (1945-2011)’, in History, Memory and Politics in Central, East and South East Europe, edited by Georges Mink and Laure Neumayer (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 54-67.
Machteld Venken, ‘Bodily Memory: Introducing Immigrant Organisations and the Family’, in: History of the Family. An International Quarterly 14 (2009), 150-164.
Review of John J.Kulczycki, Belonging to the Nation. Inclusion and Exclusion in the Polish-German Borderlands 1939-1951(Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: Harvard University Press, 2016), in Slavonic & East European Review, 95 (3/2017): 579-580.
Review of Menno Spierling and Michael Wintle, eds.,European Identity and the Second World War, (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), in Journal of Contemporary History 49 (2014): 853-854.
Review of Ivan Zoltan Dénes, ed., Liberty and the Search for Identity. Liberal Nationalisms and the Legacy of Empires (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006), in: European Review 17 (2009): 638-641.
Review of Mariana Achugar, What We Remember. The construction of memory in military discourse (Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company, 2008) in Paradigmatics 18 (2008): 814-815.
Francisco Lara-Valencia and Machteld Venken, Message Regarding Academic Freedom, petition published on Change.Org (10.07.2018).
A full list of publications can be found under www.machteldvenken.com