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Colloquium about the 75th anniversary of the Liberation and the 50th anniversary of CegeSoma

The heritage of the Second World War in Belgium. Future prospects for history?

10 December 2019 – Senate

 About the event ?
In 2019, we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Belgium and the 50th anniversary of CegeSoma. Indeed, CegeSoma was created in 1969 as the Belgian center of expertise for the study of the Second World War.

In time, the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Society (CegeSoma) was given a broader scope of research.
The colloquium of 10 December 2019 at the Senate is, so to speak, the apotheosis of this double anniversary.

In 2019, the public seems to have become increasingly interested in the Second World War.

But what about historiography and its sources?

What are the gaps in our knowledge about this last major worldwide conflict?

Which lessons can be learned today from this past?

Is the Second World War a moral reference or just another historical topic?

Is historiography under pressure from a culture of commemoration prone to spectacle?

Can public history bridge the gap between research and society?

Let us find out, 75 years after the Liberation, and dare to look into the future.

In the course of the morning session, experts from the Netherlands and France will take the floor and a special edition of the 'Journal of Belgian History' will be presented. The afternoon session is dedicated to two debates with the most distinguished Belgian experts.





9.15 am - Arrival and registration

10.00 am - Welcome address


10.20 am - 75 years of history of the Second World War in Belgium
               Nico Wouters (Head of CegeSoma)

10.50 am - Keynotes from the Netherlands and France
               Ismee Tames (NIOD-Amsterdam): 'WOII vandaag: bedenkingen bij  de spanningen tussen het onderzoek,

               het beleid en het publiek'. ('WWII today: Reflections on the tensions between the research community,

               policymakers and the public').
               Cécile Vast (Université de Franche-Comté) : 'L'écriture de l'histoire de l'Occupation à la lumière des 

               archives de chercheurs'. ('Historiography of the Occupation through the researcher's archives').

11.45 am - Lunch Break - Sandwich buffet

1.00 pm - Debat I: Historiography and society
               Host : Dirk Luyten (Head of Research at CegeSoma)
               Panel : Sophie De Schaepdrijver (Penn State University), Pieter Lagrou (ULB), Bruno De Wever  (UGent)

               and Pierre-Alain Tallier (State Archives).

2.15 pm - Debat II: Public history and public debate
              Host: Chantal Kesteloot (Head of Public History at CegeSoma)
              Panel: Christophe Busch (Kazerne Dossin),  José Gotovitch  (ULB), Koen Aerts (UGent), Anne Roekens


3.30 pm - Conclusions

4.00 pm  - Reception


Practical information
• Venue: Senate of Belgium, Rue de Louvain/Leuvenseweg 7, 1000 Brussels. (Lift available for persons with reduced mobility, please inform us of special needs at registration)
• Date: 10 December 2019 from 9.15 am to 5.00 pm.
• Languages: French and Dutch (simultaneous translation provided).
• Free access, lunch included.
• Registration mandatory before 25 November 2019 by e-mail to cegesoma@arch.be - please mention name, function and address. Attention: Number of attendees is limited.