About OSL

The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) is the national research network for literary theory, comparative literature, Dutch literature, and the literatures of the major modern languages in the Netherlands. Founded in 1995, the OSL serves as a forum for debate and exchange for scholars in the field and offers a high standard and cutting-edge training program for research master and PhD students. Presently based at the University of Amsterdam, the school welcomes the participation of students and scholars from all Dutch universities and from abroad.

Mission statement

Literary studies continues to be a dynamic discipline. Within its ever versatile theoryscape we presently see a remarkable number of turns towards new conceptual orientations and research questions that depart from and point beyond the insights of the theory revolutions of the last quarter of the 20th century. The rise of network theories and digital humanities, new materialism and affect studies, new sociologies of (world) literature and various forms of cognitivist and neuro-criticism currently reinvigorates and transforms the study of literature in ways that ask for curious participation and critical reflection. At the same time, new educational and funding policies, questions concerning the role of the humanities in society at large and the alleged disappearance of ‘art’ and ‘culture’ as (semi)autonomous spheres of critique and emancipation change the socio-political contexts in which literary scholars work and define their research interests and projects.

OSL strives to be the intellectual and academic forum for the discussion, advancement and reflection of the state(s) of the art of literary studies in the Netherlands, including its rich traditions here and elsewhere. We encourage the study of literature, understood as language art in all its forms, in its historical and current manifestations and dynamics, from a variety of perspectives. The research of OSL members focuses on modern and contemporary literature. Focal points include:

  • Materiality and mediality of literature
  • Poetics of knowledge; literature and sciences
  • Narrative, reading/writing and cognition
  • Identity, gender and memory
  • New sociologies of literature
  • The future and transformation of critique
  • Postcolonialism, globalization and world literature

The ambition of the School is to

  • provide Research Master and PhD-students with excellent, state of the art training in literary studies and to let them benefit from the expertise of the affiliated RMA programs
  • allow graduate students from across the country to meet and interact with each other and to get acquainted with specialist research and researchers in their field from the Netherlands and elsewhere
  • stimulate graduate students to take the initiative for the organization of workshops, seminars and symposia and provide support for these initiatives
  • to offer researchers a platform for the exchange of ideas and expertise, the formation of research groups and the preparation of joint grant applications
  • to introduce scholars to both classical and cutting edge theories and methodologies in literary studies and invite them to contribute their expertise of international developments in literary studies to the discussion in the Netherlands

All activities, mentioned in training programme, are open for both PhD and RMa students, unless specifically mentioned.

Executive team. The OSL executive team consists of Academic Director Prof. dr. Henk van der Liet, Managing Director drs. Paul Koopman and Programme Director Dr. Stephan Besser. Chantal Olijerhoek is the office manager of OSL.

Board. The OSL Advisory Board is formed by representatives of all universities participating in the OSL and chaired by Dr. Brigitte Adriaensen. The members of the Board are:

  • Dr Brigitte Adriaensen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  • Prof. Geert Buelens (Utrecht University)
  • Prof. Liesbeth Korthals Altes (University of Groningen)
  • Prof. dr Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer (Tilburg University)
  • Dr Kristine Steenbergh (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Dr Aagje Swinnen (Maastricht University)
  • Dr Eric Hoekstra (Fryske Akademy)

OSL is represented at nine Dutch universities: the University of Amsterdam (UvA, currently chairing the network), Utrecht University (UU), VU University Amsterdam, Leiden University (UL), University of Groningen (RUG), Radboud University Nijmegen (RUN),  Tilburg University (UvT), Maastricht University (UM) and Open Universiteit (OU).

Kloveniersburgwal 48 – F1.11B
1012 CX Amsterdam
The Netherlands
e-mail: osl-fgw@uva.nl
tel. +31 20 525 4433