About me

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Christie Miedema. Photo: Tim van Bentum, 2015.

I am an historian and activist with particular interest in human and labour rights.

As an historian these interests translated into research into opposition movements in real socialist Eastern Europe. My research interests focus around social movements, transnational dialogue, human rights, international solidarity and migration especially in the context of the East-West conflict of the 1970s and 80s. In 2015 I defended and published my PhD thesis Vrede of Vrijheid? (Peace or Freedom?) on Western responses to and contacts with the opposition in Poland in the 1980s. My most recent research project, funded by the Arbeitskreis Menschenrechte, focused on Amnesty International’s move into Eastern Europe in the context of the East-West conflict in the 1970s and early 1980s.

I also write reviews and shorter articles about Central and Eastern Europe for Donau and Pol-Int.

As an activist I am active for Belarus and Ukraine for Amnesty Netherlands and Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights and in the struggle for better working conditions in the garment industry for Clean Clothes Campaign.

The opinions in this blog represent my own convictions and do not necessarily mirror those of the organizations I am connected with.

Content: Books – Academic articles – Publications for a broader audience – Reviews (selection) – Business  and human bights blogs and op-eds (selection)

Not a movement of dissidents

Books

2019 – BookNot a Movement of Dissidents. Amnesty International beyond the Iron Curtain (Göttingen; Wallstein Verlag, 2019).

kaft boek

2015 – Book/PDF: Vrede of Vrijheid. Dilemma’s, dialoog en misverstanden tussen Nederlandse en West-Duitse linkse organisaties en de Poolse oppositie in de jaren tachtig (Amsterdam; AUP, 2015).

Academic articles

2021 – link:  ‘Effective Distance: A Polish Dissident’s Encounter with Amnesty International and Its Western-Born Rules’, in: Boost, C., Broderick, A., Coomans, F., Moerland, R. ed., Myth or Lived Reality. On the (In)Effectiveness of Human Rights (The Hague 2021) 49-70.

2020 – link: ‘Peter Benenson’s “The Forgotten Prisoners”, 1961′,  Quellen zur Geschichte der Menschenrechte, Arbeitskreis Menschenrechte im 20. Jahrhundert, February 2020, http://www.geschichte-menschenrechte.de/the-forgotton-prisoners/

2019 – link: ‘Impartial in the Cold War? The Challenges of Détente, Dissidence, and Eastern European Membership to Amnesty International’s Policy of Impartiality’, Humanity 10 (2019) no. 2, 179-205.

2019 – ‘A Transnational Movement Breaking Down the Blocs? The “Alliance” Between the Western peace Movement and the Polish Opposition in the 1980s’, in: Krzysztof Brzechczyn ed., New Perspectives in Transnational History of Communism in East Central Europe (Berlin etc. 2019) 239-269.

2019 – ‘Czy ruch transnarodowy doprowadził do zakończenia zimnej wojny? Współpraca pomiędzy zachodnim ruchem pokojowym a polską opozycją w latach osiemdziesiątych XX w.’, in: Krzysztof Brzechczyn, Nowy perspektywy  badawcze w transnarodowej historii komunizmu w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej (Poznań, Warszawa 2019) 179-202.

2018 – link: ‘„Samą walkę musicie toczyć w Polsce”. Polscy emigranci w Holandii i pomoc dla Polaków’, in: Patryk Pleskot ed., Za naszą i waszą „Solidarność”. Inicjatywy solidarnościowe z udziałem Polonii podejmowane na świecie (1980–1989), tom II: Państwa europejskie (Warszawa 2018) 258-315.

2018 – link: ‘Tapping into hidden layers of misunderstanding: oral history and the East-West dialogue’, in: Christoph Becker-Schaum et. al ed., Experiences in Oral History. Contemporary witness interviews in archive organizations and historical research (Berlin 2018) 49-52.

2015 – link: ‘«Hätten wir doch mehr auf die polnischen Ratschläge gehört» Die Grünen und die polnische Opposition in den 1980er Jahren’, Grünes Gedächtnis Jahrbuch 2014/2015 (Berlin 2015).

2015 – link: ‘Struggling Against the Bomb or Against the Bloc Divide? The Dutch Peace Movement and Eastern Europe’, Dutch Crossing 39 (2015) nr. 3, 261-274.

2013 – link: ‘Holenderska solidarność z “Solidarnością” i Biuro Informacyjne NSZZ “Solidarność” w Amsterdamie’, in: Paweł Jaworski i Łukasz Kamiński eds., Świat wobec “Solidarności”1980–1989 (Warschau 2013) 380-396.

2013 – link: ‘Laveren tussen ontspanning en solidariteit. De PvdA en de FNV ten tijde van de Poolse crisis’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 126 (2013) no. 3, 363-377.

2012 – link: ‘Polnische und ostdeutsche Exilanten im Westen in den 1980er Jahren: Netzwerke im Kalten Krieg und die Forschungsprobleme einer ost-westliche Exilgeschichte’, Dokumentation der Tagung der Gesellschaft für Exilforschung 23-25 März 2012, Quo vadis, Exilforschung? Stand und Perspektiven.Die Herausforderung der Globalisierung.

2012 – link: ‘”Wir haben die natürlich schon ein bisschen bewundert” Beeinflussung der ostdeutschen Opposition durch die Opposition in der Tschechoslowakei’, in: Miloš Řezník,, Katja Rosenbaum (ed.), DDR-ČS(S)R 1949-1989 – Eine Beziehungsgeschichte am Anfang (München 2012) 97-122.

2011 – ‘The transnationality of Dutch solidarity with the Polish opposition 1980-1989’, Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Filologie en Geschiedenis 89 (2011) 1307-1330.

2011 – ‘Missverständnisse. Osteuropäische Exilanten und die Westeuropäische Linke in den 1980er Jahren’, in: Nicole Colin ed., Forschungsberichte 2010 aus dem Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam (Amsterdam 2011), 184-200.

Publications for a broader audience

2020 – link: “Over grenzen. Ostpolitik, ontspanning en onderhandelen met de vijand (1963-1989)”, in: Krijn Thijs ed., Duitsland 1918-1991. Twintig vensters op een bewogen eeuw (Amsterdam 2020) 155-166.

2020 – link: “Prehistoria Amnesty Polska”, Amnesty Polska (May 2020), https://amnesty.org.pl/prehistoria-amnesty-polska/.

2014 – link: ‘”Wszyscy mówią wciąż o walce lewicy z prawicą” Solidarność w Holandii’, in: Wim Willems, Hanneke Verbeek ed., Sto lat tęsknoty. Historia Polaków w Holandii (Warszawa 2014) 165-192.

2012 – link: ‘”Iedereen heeft het eigenlijk altijd over links tegen rechts”. Solidarność in Nederland’, in: W. Willems, H. Verbeek ed., Honderd jaar heimwee. De geschiedenis van Polen in Nederland (Amsterdam 2012) 163-185.

Reviews (selection)

(2010) Idesbald Goddeeris ed., Solidarity with Solidarity. Western European Trade Unions and the Polish Crisis, 1980–1982, in: International review of social history, 2011-07-21, Vol.56 (2), p. 349-351.

(2012) Duco Hellema, Ryszard Żelichowski en Bert van der Zwan ed., Poland and the Netherlands. A case study of European relations, in: Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 2013-03-01, Vol.126 (1), p.111-112.

(2012) Patryk Pleskot, Kłopotliwa panna “S”. Postawy polityczne Zachodu wobec Solidarności na tle stosunków z PRL 1980-1989, in: Pol-Int, link.

(2013) Robert Brier (ed.), Entangled protest. Transnational approaches to the history of dissent in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, in: Pol-Int, link.

(2013) Jack M. Bloom, Seeing Through the Eyes of the Polish Revolution. Solidarity and the Struggle Against Communism in Poland, in: Pol-Int, link. 

(2015) Hella Dietz, Polnischer Protest. Zur pragmatistischen Fundierung von Theorien sozialen Wandels, in: Pol-Int, link.

(2015) Glenn Kurtz Drie minuten in Polen. De ontdekking van een verloren wereld aan de hand van een familiefilm uit 1938, in: Donau, link.

(2016) Robert Żurek (ed.), Polen − mein Weg zur Freiheit. Wie Polen die DDR-Bürgerrechtler inspirierte − 13 Gespräche, in: Pol-Int, link.

(2019) Pieter van Os, Liever dier dan mens. Een onwaarschijnlijk overlevingsverhaal, in: Donau, link.

Business and human rights blogs and op-eds (selection)

(2021) The garment industry is ignoring the plight of its workers, with Ilana Winterstein, Al Jazeera, 11 March 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/3/11/the-garment-industry-is-ignoring-the-plight-of-its-workers.

(2020) Brands are weathering the pandemic. Garment workers are not, with Liana Foxvog and Scott Nova, Thompson Reuters Foundation, 28 December 2020, https://news.trust.org/item/20201228171701-rk13e.

(2020) Rethinking MSIs: Binding Brands to Create Change, MSI Integrity, 23 July 2020, https://www.msi-integrity.org/rethinking-msis-binding-brands-to-create-change/.

(2019) Failing workers by design: The fatal assurances of the social auditing industry, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, 14 November 2019, https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/blog/failing-workers-by-design-the-fatal-assurances-of-the-social-auditing-industry/.

(2019) When ‘business as usual’ costs lives: workers in Pakistan call for a binding safety agreement, with Liana Foxvog, Open Democracy, 11 November 2019, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/beyond-trafficking-and-slavery/when-business-as-usual-costs-lives-workers-in-pakistan-call-for-a-binding-safety-agreement/.

(2019) Dhaka fire shows that Bangladesh must build better safety systems, rather than scrap the Accord, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, 6 March 2019, https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/blog/dhaka-fire-shows-that-bangladesh-must-build-better-safety-systems-rather-than-scrap-the-accord/.

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