Peter Vermeersch

Professor of politics and Central and Eastern European Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium


Peter Vermeersch by Michiel Hendryckx

Photo by Michiel Hendryckx, February 2019



KU LEUVEN, Faculty of Social Sciences, Parkstraat 45 box 3602, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

© 2024 Peter Vermeersch

I'm a scholar and academic writer working on minority politics in Central and Eastern Europe, nationalism, ethnic movements, democratisation, and restorative justice. I conduct research and write about conflict and reconciliation, the politics of memory in Southeastern Europe, and the plight of the Roma in Central Europe.My PhD in Political Science (2002) is from KU Leuven, and I have MA degrees in Slavic Languages, Eastern European Studies and Cultural Studies. In 2007 and 2008, I was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. In addition to my academic writing, I occasionally publish essays, poetry, and books of narrative non-fiction.I'm based at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, where I'm a senior faculty member of the research unit LINES. I'm a co-founder of the KU Leuven's Forum on Central and Eastern Europe.

Recent work: Léon's feet. A story of remembering. Published in New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Creative Writing, 2024.



Recent articles and essays

  • Léon's feet. A story of remembering. New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 2024. Full text
    This essay is partly memoir and partly a story about war memories in the context of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.

  • Populist memory politics and the performance of victimhood: analyzing the political exploitation of historical injustice in Central Europe. Government and Opposition, 2023, 1-19 (with Jens Meijen). Full text
    In this article, we examine how populists in Poland and Hungary rely on memory politics to maintain their underdog rhetoric.

  • More light. The Sociological Review Magazine, 2023. Full text
    This story is a piece of fiction based on several conversations with people in prison.

  • Artefacts of national subversion: the flag as a critical presence – or a disturbing absence – in contemporary visual art. Ethnologie française, Vol. 53, 2023, 239-253 (with Ana Dević).
    In this essay, we discuss various contemporary artists in Southeastern Europe and beyond who incorporate the national flag in their anti-nationalist art.

  • Narratives of change and repair: how the study of storytelling in the social sciences can inspire peacebuilding research. Peacebuilding, Vol. 11(1), 2023, 104-109. Full text

  • Sexual violence against men in conflict situations: between taboo and reality. Leuven Transitional Justice Blog (2022) (with Heleen Touquet and Stephan Parmentier). Full text

Featured peer reviewed work

From the archives



Books

Aantekeningen bij een moord (De Bezige Bij, 2019)

Hoe voelt het slachtoffer te zijn, of nabestaande? Wat doe je iemand aan als je hem straft? Helpt het? Aantekeningen bij een moord geeft aan de hand van een concrete moord en een rechtszaak een indringende blik op geweld en rechtspraak.* * *"Een doortastend, wetenschappelijk onderbouwd en toch emotioneel, zelfs intiem non-fictiewerk." — Annelies Verbeke, De Lage Landen"[Dit boek toont] hoe isolerend het kan zijn om alleen je eigen blik te hebben, maar ook hoe verbindend het kan zijn om ergens met andere ogen naar te kijken." — Nina Polak

Ex. Over een land dat zoek is
(De Bezige bij, 2014)

Een uniek beeld van twee decennia recente geschiedenis op de Balkan, verteld met bijzondere aandacht voor het onverwachte detail. De helden zijn gewone mensen met ongewone verhalen. In dit prachtige, maar versplinterde gebied groeit het verlangen naar een prille, nieuwe liefde.* * *"wervelende, melancholische, dan weer hoopvol stemmende tocht door een even aangetast, verwond als vitaal deel van Europa." — Manon Uphoff, NRC"Een hoogstpersoonlijk geschiedenisboek. Een subtiele mix van reisimpressies, gloedvolle essayistiek en poëtische mijmeringen over de Balkan" — Juryverslag Provinciale Prijs Letterkunde voor Proza 2016

The Romani Movement (Berghahn Books, 2007)

In this study, Peter Vermeersch examines the recent attempts of the Roma in Central Europe and their supporters to form a political movement and to influence domestic and international politics. On the basis of first-hand observation and interviews with activists and politicians in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, he analyzes connections between the evolving state policies towards the Roma and the recent history of Romani mobilization.* * *"This book is invaluable for the analytical insights it brings to bear and as a rich source of empirical information on recent Romani mobilisation in Central Europe. This comprehensive, thoroughly researched and enlightening study, assisting better understanding and effectiveness of this process, is to be warmly welcomed." — Romani Studies



Images