Siri Driessen is a postdoctoral researcher in the project Back with a Mission. Reconsidering Return Trips from a Relational Perspective. My work focuses on war and memory studies, war heritage, and culturally sensitive tourism.


How do contemporary societies and individuals deal with the remnants of violent and military pasts? This question has intrigued me for a long time. As a scholar working at the intersection of Social Sciences and Humanities, I study which activities people engage in to do justice to memories of war and violence. Such memories are often studied from either an individual psychological point of view or from a general societal perspective. However, this approach ignores what happens in between individuals and society. By researching the encounter between different groups of people associated with war and conflict, I aim to understand which activities can result in a mutual recognition of wartime experiences and reconciliation with the past

Back with a Mission is an interdisciplinary research project that studies how return trips to mission areas help war veterans, their spouses, and Bosnian citizens to assign meaning to their wartime experiences. The project is carried out by the University of Humanistic Studies (Nicole Immler, Siri Driessen); the Leiden University Medical Centre (Eric Vermetten); Humanistic Chaplaincy (Jeannette van Brenk) and the Dutch Veterans Institute. Back with a Mission is associated to the Dialogics of Justice research project carried out by the University of Humanistic Studies.

My PhD ‘Touching War. An Ethnographic Analysis of War Tourism in Europe’ studied how different groups of people encountered remnants of war and violence by means of ‘touristic’ visits to heritage sites. By zooming in on the tensions between tourism and commemoration, the dissertation aimed to add new perspectives to a debate in which war tourism is either morally condemned or spectacularized.

I obtained my PhD at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (2020), where I currently also work as a lecturer. I received an MA (cum laude) in Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam), a BA in History (University of Amsterdam) and a BA in Fine Arts (ArtEZ Arnhem).