posted August 15, 2007

Address to Examine Growing Up Dutch-American

Dr. Peter Ester, who is the Netherland-America Foundation (NAF) Visiting Research Professor at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College, will deliver the address "Growing up Dutch-American: Recollections of Cultural Identity by Older Dutch-Americans" on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 4 p.m. in the Fried/Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Ester is a professor of sociology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He has directed a number of research institutes in the Netherlands: GLOBUS (Institute for Globalization and Sustainable Development), IVA (Institute for Social Research), and OSA (Institute for Labour Studies). He is currently director of OSA.

He received a M.A. from UtrechtUniversity in 1976 and a Ph.D. from ErasmusUniversity, Rotterdam, in 1984. He has published widely, including the following recent books in English: "Culture and Sustainability" (2003), "Comparing Cultures" (2004), and "Globalization, Value Change, and Generations" (2006).

Ester is the second NAF Visiting Research Professor at the Van Raalte Institute, where he has been since June. His research included interviews with 20 older Dutch-Americans living in Holland, Michigan, regarding their memories of how their identities as Dutch descendants were shaped during the period in which they grew up. They were asked about typical Dutch customs, manners, and habits they learned, typical Dutch phrases they were taught, memories of the "old" country that were conveyed, participation in Dutch-American civil and church associations, and so on.

Ester believes that sociologists and historians should treasure the oldest living generation of Dutch Americans as they hold first-hand information and experiences that are unique. In his research he strived to preserve this history and to analyze and interpret its uniqueness.

The Van Raalte Institute, located in the Theil Research Center at 9 E. 10th St., 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.

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