IRW researcher receives Utrecht University’s MA Thesis Award for Remote Warfare Research

Utrecht University Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling has presented Intimacies of Remote Warfare researcher Marrit Woudwijk with the highly-coveted award for Best Master’s Thesis. Woudwijk received the award for her research into “Truth Construction on Remote Warfare and the Case of the US-led anti-ISIS Coalition in Syria.” This novel piece of remote warfare research examined how how Syrian refugees in the Netherlands think about the bombings of their homeland by Western forces.

Instead of travelling to a war zone or conflict area to conduct her research, Woudwijk studied an element of remote warfare local to the Netherlands: those displaced by it. By comparing their perspectives with the mainstream narratives advanced in Dutch society, Woudwijk shed light on how ‘remote’ warfare can be closer to home than one expects.

In their laudation, the jury noted that Woudwijk’s thesis quickly stood out “because of the subject itself, the relevance of the subject” and the way the research was handled “methodically, theoretically and analytically.” In particular, Woudwijk is commended for the way she “not only give[s] a voice to a silent issue, but… also critically confront[s] Dutch citizens with our own violence.” Prof. Dr. Jolle Demmers, who supervised Woudwijk on this research, further praised the way she “capably blends in the voices of her informants throughout the analysis, creating an enticing narrative, and bringing to life their everyday struggles, while keeping a balanced analytical distance.”

The Intimacies of Remote Warfare is delighted to continue collaborating with Woudwijk, now a PhD-student at the University of Humanistic Studies, who undoubtedly has a bright future ahead.

Woudwijk’s full thesis can be read here: The Lesser Truth: Truth Construction on Remote Warfare and the Case of the US-led anti-ISIS Coalition in Syria.

Additionally, earlier this year Woudwijk abridged her research for an article in De Correspondent, which can be read here: If you want to know what the impact of Dutch bombs on Syria is, ask the refugees here.