Masterclass with Prof. dr Sandra Ponzanesi

The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: Icons, Markets, Mythologies

Masterclass with Prof. Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi

University of Amsterdam, University Theatre 1.01A
June 5, 2015
When registering, please fill in at remarks if you wish to submit a paper (2 ECTS) or only want to attend the masterclass (1 ECTS).
Call for papers is now closed, you can only attend the masterclass.


Organized by OSL (Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies), NOG (Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies) and PCI (Postcolonial Studies Initiative)

With her book The Postcolonial Cultural Industry: Icons, Markets, Mythologies (Palgrave 2014), Prof. Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi aims to ‘make an intervention into the field of postcolonial studies by focusing on the intersections with the cultural industry and its implication for the reception of postcolonial artworks’. She combines insights from postcolonial theory, critical theory and cultural sociology to explore processes of production and consumption of and value attribution to postcolonial cultural products, ranging from literature to film and the visual arts, in the age of globalization. Utilizing Adorno and Horkheimer‘s notion of the cultural industry, Ponzanesi investigates the double-edged character of the postcolonial cultural industry, where, on the one hand, postcolonial artworks can have a subversive potential, while, on the other hand, colonial dynamics are still in play in the commodification of cultural difference. Her case studies include the role of the literary prizes and awards in the production of postcolonial texts and the distribution of cultural capital, the relevance of adaptation studies for postcolonial theory and postcolonial chick lit as postfeminism and consumerism.

In this masterclass, PhD candidates and RMa students are invited to connect their research project to the discussions in The Postcolonial Cultural Industry relating to issues such as globalization (what is the role of postcolonial cultural industries in the age of globalization?), cultural value and the canon (how is cultural value attributed to postcolonial artworks and how are they used to create cosmopolitan distinction?) adaptations (what happens to the postcolonial in processes of adaptation?), or other angles which connect their work to Professor Ponzanesi’s book. Each paper will be briefly discussed by a designated respondent and faculty member with relevant expertise.

Prof. Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi will give a keynote lecture. Ponzanesi is Professor of Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, Head of Humanities at University College Utrecht, and the founder of the Postcolonial Studies Initiative at Utrecht University. Her interdisciplinary research interests include postcolonial studies, feminist theories, media studies, postcolonial cinema and Europe. She is the author of Paradoxes of Post-colonial Culture (State University of New York Press 2004) and co-editor of multiple edited volumes, among which Postcolonial Cinema Studies (Routledge, 2012), Deconstructing Europe. Postcolonial Perspectives (Routledge, 2012). She has recently edited Gender, Globalization and Violence (2014).

Keywords: postcolonial studies, critical theory, cultural sociology, postcolonial feminist theory, globalization, reception and consumption, literature, media, film


PhD and RMa students are invited to submit a paper proposal (max 300 words)and a short biographical statement before March 8 to Once the speakers are selected, they will be asked to send their paper by May 15 so that participants can read each other’s work and respondents can prepare their response. Speakers will give a 20-minute presentation of their paper, followed by a response by a designated respondent and a discussion.
Call for papers is now closed, you can only attend the masterclass.


If you wish to attend the masterclass, please via the OSL website: A reading list with additional secondary literature, including a chapter from The Postcolonial Cultural Industry, will be circulated beforehand.


PhD and RMa students who present a paper at the masterclass can earn 2 EC.
RMa and PhD students who attend the masterclass, prepare the reading materials that will be distributed beforehand and write a report can earn 1 EC.