Researchers – Scagliola

Scagliola, Dr. Stefania

Historian Stef Scagliola works at the crossroads of classical historical research and digital history. She has a fascination for disclosing uneasy truths and explaining complex problems in an accessible way. The connection to the KITLV is her expertise on Dutch veterans of the Dutch/Indonesian de/recolonisation war (1945-1949). This was built up during her PhD research leading to the publication Last van de Oorlog, de Nederlandse oorlogsmisdaden in Indonesie en hun verwerking (2002)  [Burden war, coming to terms with the Dutch war crimes in Indonesia]. A follow up project relating to Dutch veterans that she initiated and led, was the large scale oral history project Interview Collectie Nederlandse Veteranen (Dutch Veterans Oral History Project) from 2007 to 2011.

Stef published on the topic of how Dutch society came to terms with the war in Indonesia in several journals (European Review of History, Journal of Genocide Research, Rethinking History, Low Countries Historical Review). She also engaged in public and digital history as co-author of the multi-media project Oorlogsliefdekind (Warlovechild), in which the topic of children fathered by Dutch military during their deployment in Indonesia was addressed. Her fellowship at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies in 2019, enabled her to focus on new unexplored territory: sexual violence during the Dutch-Indonesian re/decolonisation war.

During her fellowship at the KITLV she will write an article on her experiences with developing a ‘digital light’ version of the text-mining tool Python to search a database of 700 personal documents of Indies-veterans. This is intended as a contribution to bridge the gap between historians who use digital tools and code and those who shy away from them. The experiment is meant to prove that the advantages of text mining can be understood as a menu on the side of traditional historical research, without having to first experience a high and cumbersome learning curve. ‘Digital light’ approaches to analysing data can broaden the range of historians who develop an interest in the use of digital tools.

For more on her research areas and online resources (nice to use for teaching!):

Decolonisation war Indonesia


With Natalya Vince, ‘Sexual violence in wars of decolonisation: Comparing the Dutch/Indonesian and French/Algerian wars of independence’, BNMG: Low Countries Historical Review, 2020. Forthcoming in volume: Comparing the wars of decolonization: Extreme violence during colonial counter-insurgencies, 1945-1974, Cornell University Press (2022) .

Online resources
(oral history collection)
(multidisciplinary analysis of interviews with audio-fragments as citations)
(crowdsourced family finder and storytelling project)
(personal documents database for researchers)

Oral history and technology

Articles and papers

With Van Hessen, A., Calamai, S., Van den Heuvel, H., Karrouche, N., Beeken, J., Corti, L., Draxler, C., ‘Speech, voice, text, and meaning: A multidisciplinary approach to interview data through the use of digital tools‘, Companion Publication of the 2020 International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI ’20 Companion), October 25–29, 2020.
Virtual event, Netherlands. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 3 pages.

With Franciska de Jong, ‘Clio’s talkative daughter goes digital; the interplay between technology and oral accounts as historical data‘, in: Bod, R., Maat, J., & Weststeijn, T. (eds.),  The making of the humanities. – Volume III: The Modern Humanities. Amsterdam University Press, 2014.

With de Jong, F. M. G., van Hessen, A. J., Petrovic, T., ‘Croatian memories: Speech, meaning and emotions in a collection of interviews on experiences of war and trauma‘,  Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC’14), ELRA, 2014.

Online resources
(oral history collection)
(oral history collection)
(expert network oral history and technology)

Digital pedagogy