Leonardo Arriagada | CG-art: An aesthetic discussion of the relationship between artistic creativity and computation

Leonardo Arriagada | CG-art: An aesthetic discussion of the relationship between artistic creativity and computation | University of Groningen | Supervisors: Prof. Pablo Valdivia, Dr Florian Lippert and Dr Alberto Godioli 


This PhD research strives to understand how computer-generated art (CG-art) is reshaping the notion of artistic creativity. Thus, the focus lies on the relationship between Artificial Intelligence (A.I) and aesthetics.

I propose that CG-art criticism has an anthropocentric bias that overlooks current tech advances and ignores an existing mechanical dimension into artistic creativity. To demonstrate this, I will divide this research into two phases — the first will be a critical review of existing studies on computing and artistic creativity, while the second phase will be the analysis of a corpus of CG-art. In this way, I intend to question human exclusivity in artistic production. In short, I seek to strengthen the idea that machines can create art, thereby contributing to the understanding of art in the age of A.I.

Promotie: Marileen La Haije (Radboud Universiteit)

— for English, see below —

Op maandag 8 februari om 16.30 verdedigt Marileen La Haije (RU) haar proefschrift  “Memorias locas: Una lectura de la ficción centroamericana (de los años noventa a la actualidad) desde la conexión entre locura y trauma”. Helaas kunnen slechts enkelen hierbij fysiek aanwezig zijn, maar gelukkig is er de optie om via de livestream toch deel te nemen aan de plechtigheid. Dat kan via deze link: https://www.ru.nl/over-ons/diensten-faciliteiten/vm/aula/livestream/livestream-academiezaal/. Hopelijk tot dan!

Voor praktische vragen over de verdediging kun je contact opnemen met Marileen La Haije (m.lahaije@let.ru.nl).

On February 8, at 16.30, Marileen La Haije (RU) will be defending her dissertation “Memorias locas: Una lectura de la ficción centroamericana (de los años noventa a la actualidad) desde la conexión entre locura y trauma”. Unfortunately, only a limited number of guests are allowed to be present at the venue of the defense. However, it is possible to watch the ceremony via a livestream, which will be available at this webpage: https://www.ru.nl/over-ons/diensten-faciliteiten/vm/aula/livestream/livestream-academiezaal/. You are very welcome to attend the defense online.

For practical questions about the defense please contact Marileen La Haije (m.lahaije@let.ru.nl).

Vagia Kalfa | The “lesbian continuum” in Greek literature of the 20th and 21st centuries

Vagia Kalfa | The “lesbian continuum” in Greek literature of the 20th and 21st centuries | University of Amsterdam | Supervisors: Prof. Maria Boletsi/ Prof. Elisavet Arseniou (Democritus University of Thrace) | 12 May 2020 – 12 May 2024

In this thesis I set out to explore the “lesbian continuum” in Greek literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. I pursue to study lesbian literary works as well as to perform a queer reading of selected traditional works of the Greek literary Canon. My aim is thus twofold: on one hand, the charting and reconstruction of a Greek lesbian literary tradition and, on the other hand, the queering of the Greek literary Canon. To this end, I will use lesbian, queer and feminist theories in close readings of prose and poetry and will follow a comparative approach by bringing works of Greek literature in dialogue with American and English lesbian works. In doing so, I aim to situate Greek lesbian writing within a wider context and explore its relation with broader trends and literary traditions.

Sofía Forchieri | Towards an Aesthetics of Discomfort: Feminicide in Contemporary Latin American Cultural Production

Towards an Aesthetics of Discomfort

Sofía Forchieri | Towards an Aesthetics of Discomfort: Feminicide in Contemporary Latin American Cultural Production | Radboud University | Supervisors: Prof. dr. Brigitte Adriaensen & prof. dr. Liedeke Plate | Duration: September 2020–September 2025 | Email: sofia.forchieri[at]let.ru.nl

“Current conversations taking place in the fields of memory studies and perpetrator studies insist on the need to complicate the victim-perpetrator binary in order to capture the systemic underpinnings of violence. Central to these debates are the arts, where indirect forms of involvement that enable large-scale harms are being explored with intensified urgency. This new sensibility towards issues of complicity and implication is particularly relevant in the case of recent Latin American cultural production dealing with the problem of feminicide. In recent years, impactful artworks have been emerging across the region that inquire how ordinary subjectivities, ostensibly positioned outside the violence against women, reinforce it obliquely. This project will offer the first comparative study of Latin American feminicide representation. Spanning different national contexts, genres, and media, it seeks to answer the question: What strategies are mobilized in contemporary artistic engagements with feminicide to disclose and work against implication in gender violence? The project departs from the hypothesis that these artworks cultivate an aesthetics of discomfort: a set of disruptive formal strategies that activate a range of experientially negative, discomforting affects. To test this hypothesis, it employs a close reading practice that analyses how media-specific affordances operate to render implication perceptible and mediate affect. Drawing on feminist theory, new formalism, affect theory, and memory studies, the project aims to develop an analytical toolset for investigating the aesthetic, critical, affective, and ethico-political work that the arts can perform to counter implication in gender violence in Latin America and beyond.”


Rosalyn Borst | From Silent Containment to Empowering Rage: Gendered Constructions of Anger Expression and Diversion in Contemporary Picturebooks

Rosalyn Borst | Tilburg University | Supervisors: Prof. dr. Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer, Dr. Sara Van den Bossche, and Prof. dr. Odile Heynders | September 2020 – August 2024 | R.E.Borst[at]tilburguniversity.edu

Women who express anger are often stigmatised as ‘hysterical,’ ‘out of control,’ and ‘incompetent’. The notion that anger expression is not appropriate for women is learned young. Children between three and five perceive displays of anger as more acceptable from boys than girls. Furthermore, girls are more likely than boys to hide displeasure or anger after a disappointment. Later in life, the tendency to hide negative emotions can develop into a specific way of coping with anger. Instead of expressing anger, many women rely on anger diversions, such as anger containment (e.g., holding one’s tongue) and anger segmentation (e.g., unconsciously evading or preventing anger). In addition to parents and peers, media, such as children’s books, play a role in the socialisation of gender differences. This research project focuses on contemporary picturebooks for young children and examines which social-emotional values with regard to male and female anger these works transmit. The primary aim is to investigate to what extent and how contemporary picturebooks contest or reinforce the stigmatisation of female anger.

Jilt Jorritsma | Mapping the Sinking City: Anticipatory Futures, Past Traces and the Imagination of Urban Submergence in Amsterdam, New York and Mexico City

Jilt Jorritsma | Open Universiteit, NL | Supervisor: Brigitte Adriaensen & Dave Huitema  | 2020-2024

Due to the accelerated rise of sea levels and global temperatures, several of the world’s major cities are slowly sinking into the sea, while others are sinking because of an increase of groundwater evaporation. Adaptation to these problems is highly reliant on the development of future imaginaries: predictive imagery (maps, narratives, scenarios) that visualizes future realities of submergence in order to shape present-day actions and decisions. Current research on such imagined futures, however, tends to conceptualize global climate change as a singular and common problem, thereby overlooking the cultural specificity of these imagined futures across different geopolitical areas. My research project examines the particularity of how societies relate to the uncertainties of climate change by exploring how site-specific histories and memories are implicated in the imaginaries of urban futures.

The project analyses and compares future imaginaries in three geopolitical contexts: Amsterdam (Europe), New York (United States) and Mexico City (Latin America). It performs a close-reading grounded in multimodal discourse analysis and spatially narratology of two forms of cultural production: (non-fictional) policy documents and (fictional) literary texts that imagine, visualize and communicate an anticipated urban submergence. Within these texts, the various narrative and discursive techniques through which particular, site-specific historical circumstances get reproduced will be examined and, by doing so, this project aims to reveal the cultural underpinnings of the imagination and perception of the future in different geopolitical areas.

Anneloek Scholten | Local Colour Fiction in Flanders and the Netherlands, 1851-1914: Transnational Perspectives

Anneloek Scholten | Radboud Universiteit | Promotor: prof. dr. Marguérite Corporaal; Co-promotors – prof. dr. Lotte Jensen; dr. Tom Sintobin | February 2020-January 2024 | a.scholten[at]let.ru.nl

Part of the NWO-funded VICI project ‘Redefining the Region: The Transnational Dimensions of Local Colour,’ my research considers the transnational dimensions of Dutch and Flemish local colour fiction from the period 1850-1918. Local colour fiction is an important literary manifestation of nineteenth-century regionalism, and has often been identified with the quest for national identity. Moving beyond this nationalist focus, my project takes a transnational approach, with regard to both the representation of themes like language, travel, and economic migration; and with regard to transnational circulation and reception. It thereby aims to shed light on the way the local colour fiction relies on transnational models and cultural repertoires to construct regional identity, and to demonstrate the many ways in which representations of the region circulated beyond national borders.



IWL 2020: A report from OSL participants

This year’s edition of the Harvard-based Institute of World Literature programme took place — for the first time online… OSL PhDs Jesse van Amelsvoort (Groningen – Campus Fryslân) and Ahmed Nuri (Amsterdam) took part in the programme, and shared their impressions with us.


Jesse van Amelsvoort: Studying World Literature Online

The Institute for World Literature (IWL) is a meeting-point for scholars and students from all around the world. In every other year, we would have met in a major city and cultural hub – after Beijing, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Boston, this year the IWL was to set up camp in Belgrade. Covid-19 interfered, of course. Instead of the Serbian capital (itself at one point engulfed in protests against the government’s coronavirus policies), the IWL directorship decided that the roughly 130 participants would meet in the virtual world of Zoom.

So, if anything, I’m writing about an IWL session that cannot be compared to previous meetings, nor, hopefully, to its future incarnations. At the same time, a digital IWL made visible the beauty of the global study of world literature: as I would log onto my daily meeting starting at a very reasonable three in the afternoon, I would find there already colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe, one hour ahead of me, from the U.S. and Canadian East Coast, drinking their first (or maybe second) coffee of the day, China (nine in the evening), the U.S. West Coast (six in the morning), and Australia (eleven in the evening). Coming together in this way made the loss of our physical, face-to-face meeting stronger, but also created a sense of community of world literary scholars.

And scholars we were. Critical, engaged, but above all passionate about literature, language, and, really, so much more. Since 2010, David Damrosch and Delia Ungureanu have been building the IWL as a broad church, anchored at Harvard University, but open to people and perspectives from all around the globe. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard people talk about literature from five continents, at least five centuries, and a multiple of five languages. The world is a pretty rich place.

The question what world literature is, has haunted the discipline from its inception. As we engage its canonical thinkers from Goethe to Erich Auerbach to David Damrosch and beyond, one further question continuously comes to the fore: What is this world you speak of? Answers abound, but being together with people in their own time zones and in the comfort of their own homes made it very clear it for sure exists. We are all so very clearly in place, while also attempting to think and reach beyond that place, every day again. That is an experience no IWL so far had been able to provide.


Ahmed Nuri: Zooming in on World Literature

The Institute for World Literature (IWL), Harvard University actively, ambitiously, and extensively promotes ideas on and works of world literature and connects both scholars and students from around the world. The 10th IWL session was planned to be held in Belgrade until the COVID 19 pandemic hit the world. Subsequently, the whole program was set up online, via Zoom, our new trusty, lifesaving digital friend.

My experiences as a participant in the IWL 2020 program were academically stimulating and challenging, at times entertaining. For the first two weeks of the program, I was in Istanbul and I attended David Damrosch’s “Globalization and Its Discontents” seminar in which the arguments of the participants were fruitful, inspirational, and instructive. There was also a plenary session with Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, which was quite ironic, as I was living in his neighborhood at the time. More interesting was the fact that I could almost touch his marvelous The Museum of Innocence from my French balcony while watching him on Zoom. In the second week, there was the second plenary session, which was presented by Amsterdam-based post-Yugoslavian author Dubravka Ugrešić. These plenary sessions illustrated the different approaches and understandings of two well-regarded authors regarding the role of translation and the function of writing in general. It was useful to compare an academic approach with the authors` personal positions.

On the weekend between seminar one and two, I traveled from Istanbul to Bulgaria to access some archives and I had to stay in obligatory quarantine for two weeks somewhere in southern Bulgaria. The last two weeks of the IWL program, which included the second seminar “Literature in a World Perspective: Undoing the Monoglossic Turn” by Françoise Král, corresponded to the quarantine period exactly. All the discussions, exchanges, and lectures about literature and language were lively, analytical, passionate, and beyond my expectations. Even though the sessions and interactions were limited by the digital mode, the digital space did not prevent academically productive interactions, exchanges with potential future collaborations, or some entertaining conversations. As is common at conferences, apart from the official seminar program, I had opportunities to interact with the other participants, this time at unofficial Zoom coffee meetings, which I found to be a great way of networking.

All in all, David Damrosch and Delia Ungureanu along with all the well-regarded seminar leaders and motivated participants, provided a welcoming, nonhierarchical, highly professional, and academically ambitious platform on which everyone was critically engaged with and passionate about literature.



Message from OSL’s PhD Representatives

26 August 2020


With this message we would like to inform you that we, Kim Schoof (OU) and Judith Jansma (RUG), are the PhD representatives of OSL. This concretely means two things. First, we represent your interests during our quarterly meetings with the advisory board of OSL. Second, our goal is to create a closer community of OSL PhD candidates, which is why we want to reanimate the yearly PhD day.

It is therefore important for you to know that you can contact us at the email addresses below with all your questions, concerns, ideas and other things you think we should be aware of. We would be delighted to bring your input to the advisory board, or to hear your suggestions for interesting topics or speakers for our next PhD day (June 2021), and are of course open to any other new ideas.


All the best,


Kim Schoof (Kim.Schoof@ou.nl)

Judith Jansma (j.f.jansma@rug.nl)

Eduardo Gallegos Krause | Border narratives: From travel chronicles to the journalistic press. Continuities and discontinuities around the constitution of the pre-modernist chronicle

This research aims to study and understand the link between European travel chronicles from the 19th century onwards, and how these texts were reproduced by the early Chilean press. The research project addresses the continuities and discontinuities, and the similarities and differences between both of them.

Chronicle has been traditionally analyzed and differentiated by identifying three essential periods: The chronicle of the Indias from the 15th to 18th century; The modernist chronicle from the second half (and especially the end) of the 19th century; And the contemporary chronicle from the 1960s and 1970s up today. Notwithstanding, some researchers have pointed to a lack of knowledge, especially with regard to the period between the chronicle of the Indias and the modernist chronicle.

In order to bridge this gap, my research investigates the relation between European travel chronicles and the early Chilean press in the ‘pre-modernist’ phase. The 19th century is characterized by a self-proclaimed global civilizing project, which is currently understood in direct continuity with 15th-century colonialism. This global project aimed to activate cultural and economic connections worldwide with imperialistic purposes. Global (post)colonialism, in a discursive and materialistic way, is the consequence of this process up to the present days.

Travel chronicles are a vehicle and an integral part of the expansionist-colonialist project known as the “colonial culture”. In particular, travel narratives are part of the “travel culture” inherent to the colonial project. Moreover, they are just one of many different cultural devices (such as popular songs, cabaret, human zoos, among others), which are related to the 19th century “colonial immersion”. In these circumstances, European travel literature represents Latin America in terms of exoticism and unexplored regions.

Therefore, the link between European travel chronicles and the way they appear in Chile’s early press seems to be a productive space of scholarly research and reflection.