posted March 27, 2008

Institute Announces Appointment and Monograph

The publication of a monograph based on his scholarship in Holland this past summer coincides with Dr. Peter Ester's appointment as an adjunct research professor at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College.

Ester, who is a professor of sociology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, was a Netherland-America Foundation Visiting Research Fellow with the institute during the summer of 2007, when he conducted the research that led to the monograph, "Growing Up Dutch-American: Cultural Identity and the Formative Years of Older Dutch-Americans." Through his new appointment, the institute hopes not only to continue its relationship with him but also to build ties with other scholars in the Netherlands, according to Director Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis.

"This appointment will further strengthen our relationship with scholars in the Netherlands," Nyenhuis said. "Dr. Ester will serve as our liaison with other universities in the Netherlands, as we work with Dean Alfredo M. Gonzales, associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education, to develop exchange programs. These relationships will enhance our ability to fulfill the mission of the Van Raalte Institute."

Ester's research interests include how ethnic-religious communities create and maintain sustainable social capital and the role of generations in transferring social capital. During his time in Holland this past summer, he interviewed more than 20 older Holland residents regarding their memories of how their identities as Dutch descendants were shaped during the period in which they grew up. He asked them about topics such as typical Dutch customs, manners, and habits they learned, typical Dutch phrases they were taught, memories of the "old" country that were conveyed, and participation in Dutch-American civil and church associations.

The monograph is based on a lecture he presented at Hope on Tuesday, Aug. 28, concerning his research. The publication includes the residents' responses, without identification.

The monograph has been published by the newly-established Van Raalte Press, a division of Hope College Publishing. Those interested in obtaining a copy may do so at the TheilResearchCenter (9 E. 10th St.) at no cost, or they may send their request, along with $5 to cover shipping costs, to the same address.

Ester has authored more than 200 publications, including more than 50 books, on cross-national and intergenerational cultural and religious changes. Recent books in English include: "Culture and Sustainability" (2003), "Comparing Cultures" (2004), "Amish People" (2005), and "Globalization, Value Change, and Generations" (2006).

He has directed a number of research institutes in the Netherlands: IVA (Institute for Social Research), GLOBUS (Institute for Globalization and Sustainable Development), and OSA (Institute for Labour Studies. He is the former chairman of the Dutch Association of Social and Cultural Sciences.

Ester received an M.A. from UtrechtUniversity in 1976 and a Ph.D. from Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1984. He is a former Fulbright scholar at both Claremont Graduate School in Los Angeles, Calif., and Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va. In 2001 and 2004 he was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.