Netherlands American Studies Association

Heleen Blommers

Heleen BlommersPhD Candidate, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Heleen Blommers is a PhD Candidate in social and economic history at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

For her PhD project she examines the War on Poverty failure narrative. The War on Poverty was a large-scale domestic anti-poverty program launched in the United States in 1964. Criticisms on it arose as soon as the program was implemented. By the mid-1980s this had developed into the dominant idea that the War on Poverty had failed. This has had a profound impact on U.S. welfare politics since. But why and how did this notion become so prevalent? In her PhD project, Blommers aims to answer this question by analyzing (1) in what respects the program was controversial on a national level and in Baltimore, Eastern Kentucky, and Georgia and (2) how this “sphere of controversy” developed into the widespread idea of failure. For her project, she conducts research in various archives in the United States.

Blommers completed a bachelor and research master in history at the VU. Her internship at the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies and research for her two theses sparked her interest for U.S. History.