posted September 22, 2008

Address on Dutch-American Commemorations

David E. Zwart, who is a visiting research fellow at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College, will present the address "Preachers, Pews, and Pupils:  Commemorating the Past in Twentieth-Century Dutch America" on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 4 p.m. in the Fried/Hemenway Auditorium in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

Refreshments will be available prior to the lecture in the rotunda.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Zwart received two consecutive research fellowships at the Van Raalte Institute in support of his research into the way Dutch-American Protestants commemorated their institutions, particularly their churches and educational institutions.  His first fellowship was awarded for the 2007-08 academic year while he was a Ph.D. student in history at WesternMichiganUniversity in Kalamazoo; his second was for this past summer.

He notes that the commemoration of the institutions offers important clues to the values of the community.  The commemorations took the form of yearbooks, alumni directories, anniversary celebrations, and other celebrations marking important times in the lives of the institutions.  In addition to highlighting community values, he says, commemorations are important markers for how Dutch-Americans constructed a narrative about themselves in the years following what is commonly considered to have been the high tide of immigration.  Finally, Zwart's research examines how commemorations changed over time in relationship to trends both within and outside the community.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dordt College, Zwart was a middle school social studies teacher at Central Valley Christian School in Visalia, Calif., from August 1999 to May 2002.  He earned a Master of Arts in history in 2004 from California State University, Fresno, and then entered the doctoral program in history at Western Michigan University.

Zwart recently accepted a teaching position in the history department of Dordt College, and resides in Sioux Center, Iowa, with his family.  In addition to teaching, he is striving to complete his doctoral dissertation by June 2009.

The Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center at 9 E. 10th St. and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States.  The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history.  Zwart is the ninth visiting research fellow at the institute. 

The Martha Miller for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., at the corner of Columbia Avenue and 10th Street.