Book Presentation: Christel N. Temple, Black Cultural Mythology

Online event | 19 February 2021

Time: 16:00-17:30 (Amsterdam time)
Credits: 1-2 EC (attendance and preparatory assignment + extra assignment for additional EC), for PhD candidates and RMa students. OSL members have first access.

THE BOOK PRESENTATION IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to We will put you on our waiting list.

Christel N. Temple is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her latest book, Black Cultural Mythology (SUNY, 2020), provides a highly innovative conceptual framework for exploring the complex relations between cultural memory, heroic narratives, activism and creative production within and beyond the African diaspora.

The event will start with a lecture by Dr. Temple, followed by a response by Ann Rigney (Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University; Principal Investigator of the Remembering Activism project) and an open Q&A.

Registration will open October 28th; more details will follow soon.

OSL Course: Computational Literary Studies

OSL Course: Computational Literary Studies

Online | 22 March, 29 March, 12 April, 19 April, 10 May, 17 May 2021, 14:00-17:00 | 3-6 ECs | Organiser: prof. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (UvA) | With guest lectures from Joris van Zundert, Peter Boot, Floor Buschenhenke, Lamyk Bekius (Huygens Institute) | Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access. 

NB: Members of the Huizinga research school should sign up via the Huizinga website.

Registration will open February 3, 2021

Bring your own laptop to all classes


Scholars working in computational literary studies make use of computer software that helps them to analyze digital textual data. Software can support the exploration of a much larger amount of data in systematic ways than was possible before. In this course, students will get introduced to the most important current approaches in computational literary studies, ranging from the analysis of style and methods for the verification and attribution of authorship to various forms of ‘distant reading’ and discourse analysis.


The first part of the course explores the new horizons and possibilities as well as the limitations of computational approaches in literary studies. Several computational tools will be demonstrated such as concordance software that can be used for discourse analytical approaches and specialized R-scripts for authorship attribution and stylistic analysis. The questions to be addressed in the first four sessions of the seminar include: How can different authors be distinguished from each other using computational tools? In which ways do their writing styles exactly differ? What are the options for computer-assisted discourse analysis? What kinds of reasoning and logic play a role when computational tools are applied and what are their epistemological implications? How can we evaluate the results of the new methods and techniques? Each class, a new tool will be introduced and the students will learn the basics of their use hands-on.


The second part of the course is optional and more practical. In two workshop-like hands-on meetings students will conduct small research projects of their own. In this way, they will learn to use the computational tools themselves and gain practical experience with their possibilities and limitations. The research projects can be devoted to the cases presented in the first part of the course but also be proposed by the students themselves.


Course objectives:

  • Students learn to employ empirical and computational methods in literary studies, including the selection of tools and the reflection on their possibilities and
  • Students get an overview of international discussions in the fields of computational literary studies and digital humanities and learn to relate their research to these
  • Students learn to reflect on the relation of research questions and digital methods in literary studies.




March 22: Introduction: Authorship attribution and Proper Names (Karina van Dalen-Oskam)

March 29: Stylometry: quantifying literary style (Karina van Dalen-Oskam & Joris van Zundert)

April 12: Application of Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) (Peter Boot)

April 19: Analyzing the genesis of digital-born literary works (Floor Buschenhenke & Lamyk Bekius)

May 10 and 17: Hands-on sessions: using the presented tools and designing the experiment for the paper (Karina van Dalen-Oskam)




Students receive 3 EC for active participation (readings and small assignments) in the first four meetings and an additional 3 EC for participation in the hands-on sessions and the preparation of a final assignment (= paper of 3000 words).



3 ECs (84 working hours) for first four classes plus assignments:
Contact hours = 12 hours
Assignments = 72 hours
The assignments will not be graded. All four assignments need to be handed in for the 3ECs to be awarded.
Students need to hand in all four assignments before they are allowed to take part in the second part of the course.
Optional: Additional 3 ECs (84 working hours) for two hands-on sessions plus paper:
Contact hours = 6 hours
Preparation = 76 hours
The first version of the paper will get detailed feedback, the second, final, version of the paper will be graded and the grade needs to be 5,5 or higher for the 3ECs to be awarded.

For more information please send an email to

OSL Workshop: From Crisis to Critique: Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes

ONLINE, 4-5 March 2021 | 13:30-16:00 and 17:00-18:30 + evening film programme (March 4th); 14:00-16:00 and 17:00-18:30 (March 5th) | Organizers: Prof. Dr. Maria Boletsi (Leiden/UvA), Dr. Liesbeth Minnaard (UvA) and Dr. Janna Houwen (Leiden) | 1-2 EC | Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access

Registration opened October 28th. NB: This link is only valid for ReMA/PhD students and for OSL members. If you do not fall into either category, please register via this link.


Today, the term crisis is often ‘hijacked’ by far-right, xenophobic, and anti-democratic agendas that shrink the space of political choice and the imagination of alternative futures. In this workshop we ask if there are ways to salvage crisis as a concept that can do the work of its cognate—critique—and participate in the articulation of alternative languages, literary narratives, and other modes of representation in visual, digital and social media, cinema, and art.

Our rethinking of crisis and critique will take shape through the prism of a region that has become the epicenter of various declared crises in recent years: the Mediterranean. By rethinking contemporary Mediterranean crisis-scapes, we will probe interconnections between new languages of resistance, protest, transformation, and futurity emerging primarily from literary, artistic, and other forms of cultural expression and political activism in the region, both in physical spaces and on the web. Aim of the workshop is to explore how we can move from crisis to critique; from crisis as a restrictive framework to crisis as a form of critique that triggers alternative interpretations of the present and mobilizes these as occasions for social and historical change in Mediterranean societies and beyond.


Workshop Program


Thursday 4 March 2021


13.30: Checking in

13.45: Welcome and introduction

14.00 – 16.00: Panel discussion “From Crisis to Critique”

With contributors to the volume Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique:

  • Ipek Çelik Rappas, Koç University, Istanbul & Diego Benegas Loyo, National University of General San Martín, Buenos Aires
  • Geli Mademli, University of Amsterdam
  • Liesbeth Minnaard, Leiden University
  • Dimitris Papanikolaou, Oxford University

Chaired by Maria Boletsi and Janna Houwen, Leiden University

16.00 – 17.00: Break

17.00 – 18.30: Keynote lecture by Nilgün Bayraktar (California College of the Arts, USA):

Refugee Futurity: From Perpetual Crisis to Critical Dystopia in Contemporary Film and Video Art

Respondent: Julian Ross, Leiden University

20.00: Film program organized in cooperation with Leiden Shorts


Friday 5 March 2021

14.00-16.00: Master Class for RMA & PhD students by Stijn De Cauwer, KU Leuven, Belgium

For more information see below, registration through OSL

16.00 – 17.00: Break

17.00-18.30: Keynote lecture by Nicholas De Genova (University of Houston, USA):

Viral Borders

Respondent: Leo Lucassen, Leiden University



The lectures and panel discussion are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Participation in the OSL Master Class with Stijn De Cauwer (Friday 5 March 2021, 14.00-16.00) is restricted to Research MA students and PhD candidates. RMA and PhD students who wish to earn 1 or 2 EC credits by actively preparing, participating and contributing to the workshop should register through OSL (please see link above). OSL members will have first access to the master class.


RMA and PhD students can acquire 1 or 2 EC credits by:

  • Attending all four parts of the workshop (the film program is highly recommended, but not obligatory)
  • Reading a set of theoretical texts related to the workshop theme that will be circulated in advance (for 1 EC: the required readings for the Masterclass; for 2 EC: all below-mentioned texts)
  • Formulating a number of questions for reflection in response to the readings. These are sent to Stijn De Cauwer in advance of the Masterclass and will be used as food for discussion during the meeting.
  • Actively participating in discussions during the Masterclass.
  • Writing a position paper on one of the topics discussed during the panel discussion (length of the paper for 1 EC: 600–800-words, for 2 EC: 1400-1600 words; deadline 12 March 2021). Students who want to earn 2 EC are required to critically reflect on (at least two of) the articles by the participants in the panel discussion in their paper.
  • Instructions regarding the position paper: Participants should reflect on at least two articles presented during the panel, and ideally also on aspects of the discussion during the panel. “Position paper” suggests that they should not only summarize / present the argument(s) but also position themselves vis-á-vis the argument(s) they engage with, reflect (critically) on them or (if they want) connect them to their own work and research interests. They are free to pick the specific angle of the paper, also based on their specific interests, as long as they engage with the overall themes and problematics of the panel (and workshop). They are also welcome to reflect on other parts of the workshop, if they wish.


Preparatory readings (NB: More details will be provided to all registered participants closer to the date of the event)


For the masterclass:


Stijn De Cauwer (ed.), Critical Theory at a Crossroads: Conversations on Resistance in Times of Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

– “Introduction: Resistance in a Time of Crisis,” pp. xi-xxxviii.

– “The History of the Notion of Crisis: Interview with Joseph Vogl,” pp. 61-74.


Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard (eds.), Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique. London: Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society), 2020.

– Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard, first part of the “Introduction: From Crisis to Critique,” pp. 1-12.


Franz Kafka, “The Great Wall of China.” Selected Short Stories by Franz Kafka. New York: The Modern Library, 1993, pp. 136-155.



For the panel discussion:

The chapters in Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard (eds.), Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) that were written by the participants in the panel discussion:

– Ipek Çelik Rappas & Diego Benegas Loyo, “In Precarity and Prosperity: Refugee Art Going Beyond the Performance of Crisis,” pp. 63-79.

– Geli Mademli, “Moving Images, Moving Archives: Fracturing the Crisis in Interactive Greek Documentaries,” pp. 231-248.

– Liesbeth Minnaard, “Lampedusa in Europe; or Touching Tales of Vulnerability,” pp. 145-162.

– Dimitris Papanikolaou, “Greek Weird Wave; Or, on How to Do a Cinema of Biopolitics,” pp. 209-230.

OSL Workshop: How Not to Write a Novel

OSL Workshop: How Not to Write a Novel

Amsterdam, Eye Filmmuseum | Organizer: Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia (Groningen); Invited author: Jesús Carrasco | 1-2 EC | Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students; OSL members have first access

NB: This event has been postponed to Spring 2022 (exact date to be announced).


How not to Write a Novel seems to be a joke but it is not. This workshop delivered by the Spanish writer Jesús Carrasco (De Vlucht 2013, De Grond Onder Onze Voeten, 2016, both published in Dutch by Meulenhoff) tries to be a record of his experience in writing his third novel. But why should the writing of a third novel be so difficult? Why not the second? The answer is simple. The second novel was written just after the first one was finished and before it was published. That means that neither of them was written with real readers in mind. This makes a difference, and this idea is the starting point for this workshop. The paradox of directing a literary work to the readers (without whom fiction writing is incomplete) and, at the same time, the necessity of getting rid of the presence of the readers in order to finish the work free from external influence. It is absurd to write fiction pretending no one is waiting for the text. Writing, unless you write a diary strictly reserved for your own eyes, is an act of communication. Literature is a message in a bottle cast into the sea in the belief that forces that the author can’t control, like the tides in the ocean, will drive the text to the readers on the shores. What the author did wrong in that attempt will give the workshop participants a glimpse of what amazing things can happen when trying to write a novel.

OSL/NICA Symposium: Posthuman Futures in Literature and Art

Posthuman Futures in Literature and Art

Online OSL/NICA symposium | 3-4 June 2021

Organizers: Amalia Calderón and José Bernardo Pedroso Couto Soares (UvA)
Credits: 2 EC
Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students; OSL and NICA members have first access.
Deadline for abstract submissions: 15 December 2020.
Notification of acceptance/rejection: 13 January 2021.
Conference program available: 30 March 2021.

NB: This event will be fully online.

Registration opened February 3, 2021

Within late capitalism, developments in the natural sciences, digital information technologies, and the study of ecological systems have altered the shared understanding of the basic unit of reference for the human. Critical posthumanism (Braidotti, 2016) works as an analytical tool that allows one to expose restrictive structures of dominant subject-formations as well as expressing alternative representations of subjectivity. This posthumanist agenda intersects with New Materialism (van der Tuin, 2012), building a discursive and material production of reality. Knowledge production is understood as situated and embodied visions (Haraway, 1988). Materialist feminism, with the speculative turn (van der Tuin, et al. 2015), develops analytical tools to think beyond the limit of human perception, refusing to make a separation from (non)human subjecthood.

The emergence of divergent epistemic processes have opened the spectrum of scrutiny to other disciplines, such as spiritual (Griffin, 1978), embodied (Alaimo, 2016) and artistic research (Cotter, 2017). From Kae Tempest’s feminist ecopoetics to the corporeality of  Yoko Ono’s world-making narratives, artistic methodologies are challenging the normative structures of present ontologies. Instead, art is presented as a planetary necessity and method for survival (Haraway, 2016); artistic processes reclaim spaces of contested heritage (Skawennati, 2016) and further reformulate themselves as a disruptive force beyond hierarchical epistemology. They envision a future wherein humanity has reformulated its own ontology in relation to the living, breathing world it coexists with; and whose power is gathered through alternative knowledge methods in the pursuance of a radical reality.

This symposium is co-sponsored by the Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies (OSL) and the Netherlands Institute for Critical Analysis (NICA); it reflects a shared wish to increase hybridity between artists and scholars, in order to create spaces for affirmative ethics (Braidotti, 2017) and “thinking with” (de la Bellacasa, 2012) alternative onto-epistemologies. The interdisciplinary framework of this event intends to foment collaboration between artists, scholars and researchers, with the purpose to explore and reflect on the advancement in artistic research and literary studies in questions of the posthuman. The organizing committee welcomes proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Ecopoetics & ecofeminism
  • Speculative fiction
  • The science/art divide; fabulation and factuality
  • Posthuman rights
  • Multispecies and entanglement
  • Indigenous studies & reclaiming territories
  • Queer (in)humanities
  • Ecological exile & spatial justice
  • Gaia & systems beyond the Anthropocene
  • Caring as earthly resistance
  • Prosthetic memory
  • Storytelling as decolonial resistance
  • The posthuman artist´s methods
  • Oppressive art & propaganda narratives
  • Pandemic bodies
  • Neurodiversity as emancipation
  • Posthuman consciousness & psychedelics
  • Irrational epistemes of madness, spirituality, nature

We encourage proposals from scholars, artists, scholar-artists and researchers, including emerging and early-career professionals. Proposals can take the form of academic and/or artistic interventions i.e. research presentations, panels, video screenings, performances, installations. While there is a focus on textual work, we welcome research from any practice that actively engages with posthuman art forms. The presentation duration is of max. 10 minutes (plus 5 minutes for q&a) and submissions should include: (i) a title; (ii) a 400-word abstract of the presentation/performance; (iii) a brief biography of the author(s); (iv) duration of presentation; and if necessary, (v) an attachment with an illustrative example of the material (if applicable). These will need to be submitted electronically as a single document to: .

Credits: 2 ECs can be obtained either by presenting a paper/performance or by submitting a critical reflection on two chosen panels after the event (deadline Wednesday 30 June 2021).

Organizing committee

  • Amalia Calderón
  • José Bernardo Couto Soares

Advisory Board

  • Alberto Godioli (OSL)
  • Pepita Hesselberth (NICA)


Alaimo (2016) “Nature”, pp. 530 – 550 in Disch, L., & Hawkesworth, M. (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory. In The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory. Oxford University Press USA – OSO.

Braidotti, R. (2017) Posthuman Critical Theory. Journal of Posthuman Studies. Vol. 1, No. 1. pp. 9-25. Penn State University Press

Braidotti, R. (2017). Generative Futures: On Affirmative Ethics. Critical and Clinical Posthumanities: Architecture, Robotics, Medicine, Philosophy. pp.288-308. Edinburgh University Press

Cotter, L. (2017). Reclaiming Artistic Research – First Thoughts. MaHKUscript. Journal of Fine Art Research, 2(1), 1–.

Griffin, S. (1978). Woman and nature : the roaring inside her. Harper and Row

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14 (3):575-599.

Åsberg, Cecilia & Thiele, Kathrin & Tuin, Iris. (2015). Speculative Before the Turn: Reintroducing Feminist Materialist Performativity. Cultural Studies Review. 21. 145. 10.5130/csr.v21i2.4324.

de la Bellacasa, M. P. (2012). ‘Nothing Comes Without Its World’: Thinking with Care. The Sociological Review, 60(2), 197–216.

Skawennati, 2016. She Falls for Ages. Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace. Montreal: Obx Labs. Watch film (21 min.)

Terranova, Fabrizio and Haraway, Donna. 2016. Donna Haraway: Storytelling for Earthly Survival.

Van der Tuin, I., Dolphijn, R. (2012) New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies. Michigan: Open Humanities Press.

De kunst van het boekomslag

De kunst van het boekomslag

Woensdag 2 december 2020 | 14:00-17:00 | Online

Registratie opent op 28 oktober.

Ontwerpers, uitgevers en schrijvers stoppen veel tijd in het creëren van aantrekkelijke omslagen. Een geslaagde omslag kan een boek maken of breken, lezers verleiden tot een aankoop of ze juist afstoten. Tegelijkertijd wordt ook op andere manieren aandacht besteed aan omslagen: denk bijvoorbeeld aan de Volkskrant-rubriek waarin trends en terugkerende thema’s in ontwerpen voor boekomslagen worden besproken.

Dit najaar verschijnt het boek The Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers, and Art at the Edges of Literatures. In dit boek buigen literatuurwetenschapper David Alworth en ontwerper Peter Mendelsund zich over de geschiedenis, betekenis en toekomst van boekomslagen. Zij komen 2 december virtueel naar Nederland om over hun boek te vertellen en in gesprek te gaan met ontwerpers, studenten, boekhandelaren en andere professionals uit het boekenvak.

Deze middag zullen we in gesprek gaan over de huidige staat van het vak. Wat is anno 2020 een goede cover? Welke ontwikkelingen zien ze in het veld? Wat zijn de uitdagingen waar ze zich voor gesteld zien? Wat is de kunst van het boekomslag?

Bevestigde gasten zijn onder meer Lisa Kuitert, hoogleraar Boekwetenschap aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Jaap Biemans, de prijswinnende ontwerper van onder meer de covers van Volkskrant Magazine, en uitgever Menno Hartman van Van Oorschot.

De inschrijving gaat open op 28 oktober. Meld u aan voor de OSL-nieuwsbrief om op de hoogte te blijven.


13.45: Zoom open

14.00: Welkom

14.10: Lezing David Alworth en Peter Mendelsund

14.40: Korte lezingen door:

Lisa Kuitert (hoogleraar Boekwetenschap, Universiteit van Amsterdam), Bart Rouwhorst (ontwerper Rouwhorst + Van Roon), Erwin de Vries (boekhandelaar Godert Walter, Groningen), Menno Hartman (uitgever, Van Oorschot)

15.30: pauze

15.45: Q&A, discussie

17.00 uiterlijk einde


‘De kunst van het boekomslag’ wordt georganiseerd door Jesse van Amelsvoort en Ron van Roon, met ondersteuning van de Beroepsorganisatie Nederlandse Ontwerpers (BNO), de Onderzoeksschool Literatuurwetenschap (OSL) en het PictoRight Fonds.



OSL Workshop: Literature and the Social

Literature and the Social

Online workshop | 4 December 2020, 16:00-17:30 CET | Organizer: Jesse van Amelsvoort (Groningen) | Keynote: Prof. David Alworth (Harvard) | 1-2 EC

Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students; OSL members have first access.


THE WORKSHOP IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to We will put you on our waiting list.

Towards the end of the twentieth century, the study of literature became decidedly more sociological. Under the influence of thinkers such as Pierre Bourdieu and disciplines such as gender and postcolonial studies, scholars started paying attention to the context of literary production. This move has sometimes seen literature reduced to a status subordinated to other disciplines – merely the offshoot of other, ‘real’ processes in society and culture. In this seminar, we counter this view and aim to rethink how literature relates to the social, in particular regarding the ways in which literature can make our social world legible and visible in new ways.
Literature, David Alworth argues in his book Site Reading, is in fact a rich source of sociological knowledge. Departing from Bruno Latour’s sociology, especially his actor-network theory (ANT), Alworth demonstrates the value of literature and literary studies for understanding the social. By attending to the various sites that function as the backdrop of the action in literary works, we can see how these sites either restrict characters’ actions, or enable them. If we want to know more about the human experience of collectivity, we might as well turn to literary representations of that experience. The workshop aims not only to facilitate interaction and dialogue among the participants, but also explicitly encourages them to actively search for new ways of reading and criticism and include them in their own research projects.

OSL Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers: Framen, schrappen en herschrijven

OSL Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers

Skills course | 11, 12, 13 & 15 Januari 2021 | Universiteit Utrecht | vier bijeenkomsten (tbc) | Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Geert Buelens (Utrecht) | 3 EC (NB: De cursus wordt in bimodaal formaat gegeven)

Bestemd voor: Promovendi en RMa Studenten, OSL leden hebben voorrang bij inschrijving


Valorisatie wordt in de wetenschap steeds belangrijker. En dan gaat het er niet alleen over dat je onderzoek aansluiting vindt bij maatschappelijke thema’s, maar ook dat je aan het brede publiek duidelijk kunt maken waar het over gaat en wat er interessant aan is. In deze korte, intensieve schrijfcursus leer je in verschillende tekstgenres je onderzoek te presenteren. Hoe kun je in een opiniërende column de aansluiting zoeken bij de actualiteit? Welke offers moet je (niet) brengen wanneer je in de media komt of een boek schrijft voor een publieksuitgeverij? Hoe kun je je onderzoek ‘framen’? De cursus bestaat uit schrijfoefeningen en discussies.

Docent: Geert Buelens, hoogleraar Moderne Nederlandse Letterkunde Universiteit Utrecht en meermaals bekroond en vertaald essayist, columnist en schrijver van literaire non-fictie.

Programma (onder voorbehoud)

11 januari 2021: 11.15 – 12.15 | Introductie
12 januari 2021: 10.00 – 17.00
13 januari 2021: 14.00 – 17.00
15 januari 2021: 10.00 – 17.00


Narratives of Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation

International Online Seminar | October 2020 – May 2021

The Universities of Groningen and Antioquia (Medellín) are happy to announce the first edition of the international online seminar Narratives of Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation. The seminar is co-sponsored by OSL, and will feature six sessions delivered by leading experts in conflict narratives from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Confirmed speakers include Pablo Valdivia and Konstantin Mierau (Universidad de Groningen), Marcela Garcés, Vladimir Montoya, Alejandro Pimienta and Andrés García (Universidad de Antioquia), Heriberto Cairo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Luis Berneth Peña (Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies), Carlos del Valle (Universidad de la Frontera) and Jacqueline Fowks (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú).

More information on the programme and registration can be found here: Full Programme

NB: All sessions will be in Spanish.

OSL Masterclass with Philipp Blom

Online event | 18 September 2020, 16:00-17:00 CEST

On Friday 18th of September, OSL will host an online masterclass by novelist and historian Philipp Blom, titled Need for a New Story: The Role of Academics and Artists in Narrating a Sustainable World. You are all cordially invited to join this event by clicking on this Google Meet link on Friday 18th at 16:00 (the virtual ‘room’ will open at 15:45). If you are interested in joining, please also make sure to register via this form; there is no deadline for registration, but this will help us reach out to you for any last-minute communication (should we need any).

Philipp Blom (Hamburg, 1970) is a historian, novelist, journalist, and translator. He studied in Vienna and Oxford and writes for several British, German and Dutch newspapers and journals, such as The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, Die Zeit, and Vrij Nederland.

In his latest book that just appeared, Het grote wereldtoneel: over de kracht van verbeelding in crisistijd (‘The great world stage: on the power of imagination in times of crisis’, the English translation is still forthcoming), Blom shows how the West is in crisis not despite peace and prosperity but because of it. Therefore, he believes, the struggle for the future is a struggle for a new grand narrative. In the quest for such a narrative, Blom positions himself in the tradition of thinkers who dared to offend human narcissism: Galileo Galilei, for example, who opted that the earth might not be the center of the universe, or Charles Darwin, who suggested that humankind might not be God’s equal, but the equal of apes.

The current coronacrisis has only fed the urgency of a new, sustainable and less narcissistic view of humankind. How should such a new grand narrative take shape? Who gets to tell it and how? What could be the role of literary and historical writers, and of us, young literary and history scholars, in its creation?
After a short introductory lecture by Blom, the floor will be opened to OSL members to participate in the q&a and subsequent discussion.
In order to prepare for the Masterclass and get acquainted with Blom’s style and ideas, you can watch this public lecture from 2018 (in English).

Please send an email to if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Judith Jansma and Kim Schoof (OSL PhD Representatives)


NB: The masterclass is also connected to Blom’s keynote lecture on ‘The State of European Literature’, which will take place in Amsterdam on the same day, 19:30-20:30 (more information here).

OSL is particularly grateful to Dr. Guido Snel (UvA) for his kind support during the preparation of this event.