Marijke Huisman was born on January 21, 1972 in Zwolle, a provincial town in the east of the Netherlands. She lives in Utrecht and works as a teacher and researcher at History Departments of several universities in the Netherlands.


Marijke graduated from the Carolus Clusius College in Zwolle (1990) and read History at Utrecht University (1990-1996). She specialized in Gender Studies and wrote her MA thesis on social-darwinism and first-wave feminism in the Netherlands. Her thesis was awarded with the Johanna W.A. Naber Prize 1997, named after one of the first feminist historians in the Netherlands.

Freelance work

Marijke started her career as an independant researcher and editor. She published about Mata Hari (1998) and, together with Marjet Derks, about the history of the Catholic Labour Women’s Movement in the Netherlands (2002). Furthermore, she was chief editor of Historica, magazine of the Dutch Society for Women’s and Gender History (VVG), and of Vernieuwing, a journal on educational reform. At Atria (then: Aletta, Institute for Women’s History), she worked on a project about second-wave feminism for the website Geheugen van Nederland (Memory of the Netherlands).


From 2003-2008, Marijke was a PhD-student within the research project Controlling time and shaping the self: education, introspection and practices of writing in the Netherlands at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Starting from the idea that self-representations are affected by the historical context in which they are performed, Marijke focused on autobiographical publishing and used the 19th-century Dutch book market as a lens to study which persons (m/f) could present themselves as literal authors of their lives and to which cultural codes they had to adhere to.

The Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature) granted Marijke the Rijklof Michaël van Goens Prize 2006 for her article ‘Beter dan Thucydides en Wagenaar…. Autobiografieën en de geschiedenis van de eigen tijd, 1850-1918’, published in Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 118:4 (2005) 513-532. The English version of this article on nineteenth-century perspectives on autobiography as contemporary history was published in the volume Controlling time and shaping the self (Leiden/Boston: Brill 2011).

Marijke’s dissertation, Publieke levens. Autobiografieën op de Nederlandse boekenmarkt, 1850-1918 [Public Lives. Autobiographies on the Dutch book market, 1850-1918] was published at Walburg Pers in 2008, as part IX of the series Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Boekhandel [Contributions to the History of the Dutch book trade].

Post-doctoral researcher

Enabled by an Erasmus Fellowship (2009-2013), Marijke worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Historical Culture of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She tracked the local differences and temporal changes in interpretaties of slave narratives that were published in the UK, the US and the Netherlands between 1789 and the present. Part of her study was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, where Marijke was a visiting scholar at the Dutch Studies Program (2011).


Besides her work as a researcher, Marijke is a teacher. She taught courses such as History of the Netherlands, Theory of History, and Historical Culture in a Globalizing World at Erasmus University Rotterdam, courses in Historiography, Dutch History and Gender History at Radboud University Nijmegen, Foundations of History and Empires of Culture at Utrecht University, and Humanities and Dutch politics from biographical perspectives at VU University Amsterdam.

Other positions

Marijke co-organized the international conference Life Writing in Europe, held in October 2009 at VU University Amsterdam. The conference resulted in the founding of IABA Europe, the European branch of the International Auto/Biography Association, and Marijke is part of the steering committee.

She is board member of the Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague, an international institute that collects, preserves and encourages the study of egodocuments of expatriates. Furthermore, Marijke volunteers as secretary for the Nederlandse Boekhistorische Vereniging (Dutch Book Historical Society).

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