Researchers – Smeulders

Smeulders, Dr. Valika

Dr. Valika Smeulders is a postdoc at KITLV as part of the research project Traveling Caribbean Heritage. The project aims to study the dynamics of heritage formation in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and the Netherlands as influenced by migration and creolization, non-sovereignty and nation-building, and tourism. The project team, based both in the Netherlands and on the islands, will also form a common platform and an infrastructure for continued exchange and capacity building.

Born on Curaçao, Smeulders studied Languages and Cultures of Latin America at Leiden University and Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. She obtained her doctorate at Erasmus University Rotterdam with a thesis on the presentation of the slavery past in Suriname, Curaçao, Ghana and South Africa. In her work she focuses on heritage, the colonial past, social diversity, representation and new audiences, bridging divides between heritage institutions, universities and community organizations.

As a curator at the Rijksmuseum she is working on the 2020 exhibition on The Netherlands and slavery. With her enterprise, Pasado Presente, she works on inclusive heritage presentations, which include historical tours on Black Pioneers and Caribbean World War II Heroes in Den Haag. Smeulders is a member of the Unesco Memory of the World Comité, the board of the Werkgroep Caraïbische Letteren and Comité Koninkrijksrelaties. In 2013 she received a Solo di Kòrsou Award  issued by the Prime Minister of Curaçao for her research and work dedicated to the Curaçaoan community in the Netherlands.

Selected Publications

‘Slavernij, erfgoed, herdenken en identiteit in het Koninkrijk’, OSO, tijdschrift voor Surinamistiek en het Caraïbische gebied. 2016.

(with Okke ten Hove) ‘Van Elisabeth Samson tot jonkheer Cornelis Ascianus van Sypesteyn; De vele opmerkelijke verbanden tussen Den Haag en slavernij’, Historisch Tijdschrift Holland. 2014.

‘New perspectives in heritage presentations in Suriname and on Curaçao: From Dutch colonial museums to diversifying representations of enslavement’,  in: Plantation to nation. Caribbean museums and national identity, edited by A. Cummins, K. Farmer and R. Russell. Champaign: Common Ground Publishing, 2013.

(with G. Oostindie, A. van Stipriaan, A. Bijnaar) ‘Emancipatie, en toen?’, Nederland en de slavernij, cd box. Amsterdam: Historisch Nieuwsblad, 2013.

‘New audiences at sites of colonial slavery: Cases in the Caribbean and Africa’, The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 5-2:13-22. 2012.

‘Exhibiting the Heritage of Slavery: Slavery Heritage Production and Consumption in Suriname and Curaçao’, in: Living History: Encountering the Memory of the Heirs of Slavery, edited by A. Araujo. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2009.

(with) Stipriaan, Alex van, Waldo Heilbron & Aspha Bijnaar, Op zoek naar de Stilte. Sporen van het slavernijverleden in Nederland. Leiden: KITLV. 2007.

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