OSL PhD day: Making Stories Work

Dear OSL PhDs,

After the success of the first OSL PhD day last year, we are excited to announce that the upcoming OSL PhD day will take place on Thursday 19 May 2022. The day’s theme will be “Making Stories Work” and the keynote lecture will be given by Professor Clare Hemmings. After Hemmings’ lecture, the program will consist of two panels, each made up of three fifteen minute presentations on your work in progress. This means that six of you will have the opportunity to present. 

The first panel will loosely revolve around the question “How does literature work?” Issues related to this theme could include:

  • What work does literature do?
  • The mobilizing potential of literature
  • The ‘work’ of different genres
  • The world-changing potential of literature
  • The affective work of literature
  • The ways literature ‘works’ upon readers

The second panel will loosely revolve around the question “What work do we, literary scholars, do?” Issues related to this theme could include:

  • How do we work with different media?
  • How do we work with different methods?
  • How do we work within the institution of the university?
  • How do we work outside of it?
  • What happens when we have too much work/stop working/can’t work?

We warmly invite you all to consider presenting either a “real” paper or your work in progress in one of the panel sessions during the 2022 PhD day! Please note that if your presentation is only loosely related to the potential topics of the panel sessions, that is not a problem at all: we will make it work. 

The PhD day will take place at the Doelenzaal in the Amsterdam University Library (Singel 425), from 9.00-18.00. The panels will be followed by drinks.

Please send a 250-word abstract of your 15 minute lecture to both kim.schoof@ou.nl and c.l.vlessing@uu.nl Friday 18 February 2022 at the latest.

Warm regards,

Clara Vlessing & Kim Schoof
PhD representatives of OSL

OSL Seed Money Call 2022

Groningen, 26 January 2022

The OSL seed money grant aims to foster collaboration within and beyond the OSL community. The OSL Board will make € 1000,- available as seed money for the most promising initiative, including for instance:

  • Planning of symposia, workshops and conferences in 2023 or 2024
  • Publications (e.g. contribution to publishing fees, editing services, etc.)
  • Assistance for joint funding applications
  • Organization of OSL budgeted academic events (in this case, the seed money will be added as an extra to the budget already made available by OSL).

Applications (short description of the project and estimation of expenses, approx. 500 words) should be sent to osl@rug.nl by 29 April 2022, end of day. The OSL Board will notify the recipients by the end of May 2022.

OSL Awards 2021: Congratulations to the Winners!

22 December 2021

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 OSL Awards:

ReMA Thesis: Marit van de Warenburg (first prize) and Wouter Woltering (runner-up)

PhD Thesis: Kila van der Starre (first prize) and Roel Smeets (runner-up)

Peer-reviewed article: Carlijn Cober

Valorization and public outreach: Kila van der Starre

Our warmest congratulations to the winners, and to all those who submitted their work — the general quality of this year’s entries was extremely high!

Please find more details below, with excerpts from the jury’s motivation:


ReMA Thesis


Marit van de Warenburg, ‘Songs That Stick: Songs of Protest and Their Cultural Afterlives’, Utrecht University

  • Van de Warenburg’s thesis explores the specific role that music plays in the relationship between cultural memory and activism, and—quite ambitiously—it aims at “provid[ing] a new conceptual model for addressing the intersection between memory, music and activism” (8). Analyzing a corpus of four songs—two of American, one of French, and one of Italian origin—and a selection of contemporaneous and later (national and/or international) re-uses of these songs, she demonstrates that the selected songs and their afterlives share important characteristics. She shows how the formal qualities of these protest songs and the (multidimensional) memory processes that they set in motion create a sense of community and how it is that these songs can have the mobilizing power that they so evidently do.
  • The thesis is presented in a very professional and pleasing to look at manner (cover and lay-out). It consists of four chapters in which the author analyses four songs (North American and European cases) according to the method of analysis discussed — combining historiography and close reading in a convincing and insightful manner. It is impressive how Van de Warenburg creates her own analytical framework by combining the two dimensions from memory studies and musicology. The contribution of this thesis is evident in the author’s finding that although protest songs may come from various traditions, the factors that lead to their re-use are rather similar. This insight contributes to understanding the use and specifically the phenomenon of and reasons for the re-use of protest songs in social activism.


Wouter Woltering, ‘Intervening Bodies: Disability, Queerness, and Crip Theory in Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill, Mrs. Dalloway, and Orlando’, Leiden University

  • The thesis avoids simple interpretation/reductionism in the analysis, showing how complex it is to read Woolf’s work through the lens of disability and ‘crip theory’. Woutering’s analysis is very well written, and achieves a good balance between close-reading and contextualization.
  • The thesis conducts an insightful close-reading of three texts by Virginia Woolf, supported with a broad range of secondary literature in order to present a crip reading of Woolf’s work. This allows the author to conclude that Virginia Woolf – despite her own problematic statements concerning illness and physical and other disability – may be considered a “nascent crip theorist” (8). Such an interpretation enables the work of a key figure of modernist writing to be read and understood as contributing to new and more inclusive ways to think about disability and impairment.
  • The contribution of this ReMA thesis is most evident as a suggestion/example of how “cripping modernist literature” may be achieved (i.e. challenge able-normative ideas and practices regarding impairment, eugenics and degeneration). The student also showed his awareness of and ability to handle a diversity of (at times conflicting) positions within the field of Woolf scholarship.


PhD Thesis


Kila van der Starre, Poëzie buiten het boek. De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie, Utrecht University

  • This is a socially significant research topic that takes the function of poetry beyond book publications and highbrow academia, examining how people today (and in the past) experience(d) poetry, revalued it and reused it. Relevant works have been included in the theoretical scope. The quantitative research that has been conducted is exciting, and the ways in which issues of memory and heritage are brought into the analyses are refined.
  • The thesis is one of these studies that change a field in terms of orientation. Instead of considering the Dutch poetry landscape as a marginal literary field in which the happy few meet one another on small-scale festivals, Van der Starre convincingly shows that poetry is everywhere.
  • The thesis surprises and is innovative in disclosing areas where one would not expect poetry to be dealt with seriously, as when tattoos are a topic of interest when dealing with poetry. But the thesis is also innovative methodologically, as when Instagram poetry is studied extensively (not just on the basis of individual cases), or when the focus on how real readers deal with poetry is worked out systematically.
Roel Smeets, Character Constellations: Representations of Social Groups in Present-Day Dutch Literary Fiction, Radboud University
  • This dissertation explores the very intriguing intersections of narratology and data set analysis. Its cutting-edge combination of qualitative and quantitative research sheds new light on community formation and conflict in recent Dutch novels.
  • The thesis presents an original combination of narratology and digital humanities, managing to synthesize a broad range of perspectives while maintaining a clear focus. Despite being locally grounded in Dutch literature, it is written in a way that can also appeal to an international audience.

Peer-reviewed article

Carlijn Cober, ‘My Landskap is myne verhard: A Topopoetics of Displacement in Ingrid Jonker’s Ontvlugting (1956) and Ek dryf in die wind (1966)‘, Imbizo: Journal of African Literary and Comparative Studies, 2018
  • Cober’s article presents a skilfully executed scholarly argument: she explores whether it is possible to present a novel reading of a canonised poet’s work (Ingrid Jonker) by introducing a topographic approach (the theoretical foundations lucidly explained in the theoretical section), and operationalising this approach in order to make it useful for a critical close-reading of the selected poems.
  • In her article, Carlijn Cober presents a careful close reading of two poems by South African poet Ingrid Jonker. Cober’s theoretically informed and meticulous close readings of the aforementioned poems lead her to conclude that Jonker’s play with the genre of the topographical poem is tied up with the motif of displacement, arguably a meaningful motif not only in the analyzed poems, but in Jonker’s oeuvre at large. Cober’s interpretation of the two poems effectuates a richer reading than the reductionist biographical readings that are prevalent in the reception of Jonker; and in this way, her article forms a valuable contribution to Jonker scholarship and reception.




Kila van der Starre, website https://straatpoezie.nl/

  • With her website and activities, Van der Starre managed to reach a national or transnational audience (if we include Flanders), with almost the full scope of media involved, including some really prominent ones, in an ongoing, interactive process between users who became participants. With her work, and impact, van der Starre has managed to change the poetry landscape of the Netherlands; not a small feat.
  • Van der Starre’s project is enormously simple and effective, based on citizen science (activity / participation) and crowd funding. Very well done that more than 200.000 viewers visited the site.
  • This project takes a clear and strong position in relation to literature education, explaining the worth and value of including alternative formats of literature in the literature education classroom as a means to create enthusiasm and interest in further literary reading. The impact of the research conducted for this argument in a non-academic context is evident. Following the discussions on the state of literature education in the Netherlands at the moment, it is clear that a more inclusive, less conservative approach to literature education is very much needed: one that takes seriously the importance of literature and reading (literature) as steps towards developing critical thinking skills and literacy.


We are very thankful to this year’s jury, which consisted of OSL Board members Marguérite Corporaal, Ann Rigney, Frans Willem Korsten, Margriet van der Waal, Ted Laros and Miriam Meissner.

Public lectures Ravenstein Winter School: Literature, (Neo)liberalism, and Public Culture

19 – 21 January 20221 | University of Amsterdam

The keynotes during the Ravenstein Winter School: Literature, (Neo)liberalism, and Public Culture will be open to public. Please register for the individual keynotes via the links below.


Wednesday, 19 January 2022 | 19:00 – 20:15

Rachel Greenwald Smith (Saint Louis University)
Compromise: The Aesthetics of Liberalism and Liberal Aesthetic

Early in his political career, U.S. President Barack Obama made the following comparison between politics and aesthetics: “A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence. Or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it.” This paper uses Obama’s analogy as a jumping off point for an inquiry into the aestheticization of politics in center-left discourse at the turn of the twenty-first century. What does it mean to say that political policy should resonate like a work of art? How does liberal aestheticization of politics differ or relate to the aestheticization of politics that Walter Benjamin famously connected to fascism? And what can an examination of contemporary literary aesthetics contribute to an understanding of the aesthetics of contemporary liberalism?

Rachel Greenwald Smith is an Associate Professor of English at Saint Louis University. She is the author of On Compromise: Art, Politics, and the Fate of an American Ideal (Graywolf Press, 2021) and Affect and American Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism (Cambridge University Press, 2015). She has edited two volumes of scholarship: American Literature in Transition: 2000-2010 (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and Neoliberalism and Contemporary Literary Culture, with Mitchum Huehls (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). Her works has appeared in American Literature, Post45, The Yale Review, VQR, Mediations, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, and elsewhere.

Register here

Thursday, 20 January 2022 | 13:15 – 14:30    

Pieter Vermeulen (KU Leuven)
Swarms, Trees, Fungi, Markets, and Other Fictions of Spontaneous Order

Since the turn of the millennium, materialist and ecological strands of critical thought have complemented the decentering of the human subject that was dominant in poststructuralism with an increasing attention to the material realities of nonhuman assemblages. In the fields of theory, art, and literature, assemblages such as swarms, networks, trees, and fungi have inspired formal innovation and ethico-political reflection. Still, while critical scholarship has begun to argue that the poststructuralist decentering of the subject is often complicit with the neoliberalism it officially opposes (Benn Michaels), the environmental imagination of swarms, trees, and fungi is still overwhelmingly read as offering an alternative to neoliberalism (Nixon). This presentation takes inspiration from recent revisionary accounts of neoliberalism that stress its difference from classical liberalism (Slobodian; Konings; Mirowski; Kotsko) to reassess the relation between environmental imaginaries and neoliberalism. I discuss Richard Powers’ The Overstory, which is organized around the relations between human agents and tree-fungi-collectives, as a novel that dramatizes the tensions between the more classical liberalism to which the novel genre has traditionally been beholden and a neoliberalism that, I argue, is fueled rather than challenged by the kind of collective agency the novel imagines.

Pieter Vermeulen is an associate professor of American and Comparative Literature at the University of Leuven. He is the author of Romanticism After the Holocaust (2010), Contemporary Literature and the End of the Novel: Creature, Affect, Form (2015), and Literature and the Anthropocene (2020), and a co-editor of, most recently, Institutions of World Literature: Writing, Translation, Markets (2015), Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies (2017), and a double special issue of LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory on contemporary literature and/as archive (2020). His current writing project investigates the relation between the “Americanization” of world literature and the notion of world literary value.

Register here

Thursday, 20 January 2022 | 16:30 – 17:45

Sarah de Mul (Open University)
Feminist and Postcolonial Artistic Responses to Burnout Culture

Burnout is widely recognised as a major public health problem, which has been explicitly linked to the modern urban environments and lifestyles of late capitalist culture (e.g. Han, Chabot). It has plagued the modern workplace for decades and is nowdays carefully monitored across Europe. In the face of the unprecedented challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, rising numbers of burnout have been reported, which arguably signal a parallel mental health pandemic, affecting women and minorities in particular (Dzau et al. 2020).

In this lecture, I will discuss the notion of burnout culture from gender and diversity perspectives. In particular, I will ask what, and if so how, (postcolonial) feminist theorizations and artistic imaginations could contribute to the scholarship on the self-sufficient entrepreneurial individual in our postmodern society, in particular, his or her exhaustion and other related mental and affective states. Analysing a number of recent artistic and literary imaginations of millenial women and millenial work, I hope to bring into view how ideas of  care (work) and capitalism’s care crisis which have thus far been largely sidelined, or not properly been considered, could add to current scholarship of contemporary burnout culture.

Sarah De Mul is Professor of Literature, Culture and Diversity at the Open University in the Netherlands. Her research interests are situated at the intersection of literary and cultural criticism and comparative postcolonial and gender studies with a particular focus on literatures in Dutch and English. Publications include Colonial Memory (Amsterdam University Press, 2011), Commitment and Complicity in Cultural Theory and Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, ed. with B. O. Firat and S. van Wichelen), The Postcolonial Low Countries (Lexington Books, 2012, with E. Boehmer), the Dutch language memoir Retour San Sebastian. Opgroeien met een vaderland in de verte (De Bezige Bij, 2017). She is currently exploring the role of art, care and resilience in the age of stress and burn-out, particularly in relation to their gendered, racial and ecological dimensions.

Register here

Friday 21 January 2022 | 11:30 – 12:45 

Johannes Voelz (Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main)
The Post-Liberal Aesthetic, or: Can Literary Studies Help Unsettle Polarization?

In this talk, I make a plea to revisit, reevaluate, and reformulate the tradition of liberalism in order to recover its democratic resources. With liberalism having degraded into neoliberalism, these resources have become difficult to tap into. Yet, in the democratic crisis that marks the contemporary moment, they may be more crucial than ever. Perhaps surprisingly, I suggest that literary studies has a role to play in the broader response to that crisis. My focus will be on the United States, where a key characteristic of contemporary democracy is particularly pronounced: While American democracy faces multiple crises, current levels of polarization make it impossible to effectively address any of them. In this situation, literary studies confronts a dual challenge: it must, firstly, come to terms with its own contribution to the dynamics of polarization and, secondly, consider whether it can help undo it. Adopting a cultural-sociological perspective, I identify literary studies as an institution that consolidates the politico-cultural identity of the “new middle class” and contributes to the culturalization of politics underlying contemporary polarization. However, I suggest that (American) literary studies has the capacity to help revive democratic culture if it nurtures reading practices that unsettle fixed identities. To that end, I single out various recent theories of reading whose democratic potential is grounded in their shared premise that literature is a communicative act. In interpreting these models of criticism as a potential way out of the malaise of polarization, I aim to identify a critical “practice of liberty” (John Gray) attuned to what I call the “post-liberal aesthetic.”

Johannes Voelz is Heisenberg Professor of American Studies, Democracy, and Aesthetics at Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany. He is the author of The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat (Cambridge UP, 2018) and Transcendental Resistance: The New Americanists and Emerson’s Challenge (UP of New England, 2010). He is an editor of WestEnd. Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, the journal of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, as well as of REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature. He has also edited numerous essay collections and special issues, among them “Security and Liberalism” for the journal Telos (2015). He is a PI in the interdisciplinary research project “ConTrust: Trust in Conflict – Political Life under Conditions of Uncertainty” at the University of Frankfurt and moreover directs the research project “American Literature and the Transformation of Privacy,” funded by the German Research Foundation.

Register here | ONLINE ONLY

OSL Academic Programme 2021-2022

The first overview of the OSL academic programme for 2021-2022 is now available! For the activities taking place in Semester 1, registration will open in September (more details will follow soon). If you have any questions, you are welcome to send an email to osl@rug.nl.

NB: All events are being planned as hybrid or onsite, but will move online if necessary.


Semester 1 (October 2021 – January 2022)


Symposium Decentering Narratives in Latin America | Online, 1 October 2021, 14:00-18:00 CET. Organizers: Juan Del Valle Rojas, Elizabeth Pinilla Duarte and Gonzalo Albornoz Barra (University of Groningen). 1EC.


OSL Research Day | Groningen, 8 October 2021, 10:00-18:00. Keynotes: Prof. Debjani Ganguly (University of Virginia), Prof. David Damrosch (Harvard University) and Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University).


Seminar Europe as Narrative | Amsterdam, 6, 13, and 20 October 2021; 3, 10 and 17 November 2021 (14:00-17:00 CET). Organizers: Prof. Dr. Margriet van der Waal (University of Groningen) and Dr. Astrid Van Weyenberg (Leiden University). 5ECs.


Workshop Eternal Presents and Resurfacing Futures: Postcolonial/Postsocialist Dynamics of Time and Memory in Literature and Art | Groningen, 28-29 October 2021. Organizers: Dr. Ksenia Robbe (University of Groningen), Dr. Hanneke Stuit (University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Sanjukta Sunderason (University of Amsterdam). 1-2ECs.


Workshop Women and Transnational Modernisms | Groningen, 1-2 November 2021. Organizers: Dr. Camilla Sutherland (University of Groningen), Dr. Ruth Clemens (Utrecht University) and Dr. Kathryn Roberts (University of Groningen). 1-2ECs.


Seminar How We Read: Interpretation, Relation, Mediation | Groningen and Utrecht, November – December 2021. Organizers: Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger (University of Groningen), Prof. Dr. Kiene Brillenburg Wurth (University of Utrecht). 5ECs.


Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers: Framen, schrappen en herschrijven | Online, January 2022. Organizer: Prof. Dr. Geert Buelens (Utrecht University). 3EC.


Ravenstein Winter School: Literature, (Neo)liberalism, and Public Culture | Amsterdam, 19-21 January 2022. Organizers: Prof. Dr. Maria Boletsi (Leiden University / University of Amsterdam), Dr. Marc Farrant, Divya Nadkarni, Dr. Marco de Waard (University of Amsterdam). 5-6ECs.


Semester 2 (February – July 2022)


Skills Course Creative Non-Fiction Writing | Groningen, February – March 2022. Organizer: Dr. Suzanne Manizza Roszak (University of Groningen). 5ECs.


Workshop: Introduction to Digital Philology | Utrecht, March – April 2022 (three sessions). Organizer: Dr. Gandolfo Cascio (Utrecht University). 1EC.


Skills Course Computational Literary Studies | Amsterdam, March – May 2022. Organizer: Prof. Dr. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (University of Amsterdam). 3-6ECs.


Seminar Contemporary Debates in Life Writing | Amsterdam, April – May 2022. Organizers: Dr. Marleen Rensen (UvA) and Dr. Babs Boter (VU). 5ECs.


Symposium New Perspectives on Literature and the Brain | Amsterdam, 6 May 2022.


OSL PhD Day | 19 May 2022. More details will follow soon.


Workshop How Not to Write a Novel | Amsterdam, 20 May 2022. 1-2 ECs


Hermes Summer School Hosts, Hospitals and Hospitality | Lisbon, 20-24 June 2022


Institute of World Literature Summer Program | Mainz, 4 – 28 July 2022

Elections OSL Student Board

Groningen | 8 September 2021


Dear Students,


In the coming months, there will be changes in the student representation at the School Board, also due to one of your representatives completing her PhD trajectory.

In this regard, we will run elections for a newly created Student Board (Student Raad) following the new guidelines for national research schools. The Student Board will consist of two PhD candidates and two ReMA students who will liaise with the OSL Management Team and the OSL School Board. 

The role of the new Student Board will be to provide advice to the Management Team and the School Board on academic matters related to OSL’s training programme and academic activities. Two members of the Student Board (preferably 1 PhD candidate and 1 ReMa student) will have seats in the School Board meetings (two/three meetings per year).

In the forthcoming elections, three places will be available for election (1 PhD and 2 ReMA) as your PhD representative Kim Schoof will remain in service until the completion of her doctoral trajectory.

Further details about the election dates and procedure will be communicated to our OSL student community in the coming weeks. In the meantime, prospective candidates can contact the OSL Management Team until 30 September 2021 (end of day) by sending an email to osl@rug.nl stating their student status (PhD or ReMA), full name and university affiliation.


Many thanks for your cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you to our Student Board.


On behalf of the OSL management team,


Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia

Academic Director OSL

Message on Covid-19 Safety Measures

Groningen | 8 September 2021


Dear Students and Colleagues,


From OSL, we hope you enjoyed a great summer holiday. Over the last months, we have been working hard to make sure you will benefit from a new exciting academic year despite all the challenges we face ahead due to the ongoing pandemic.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 Delta variant is still posing a strong risk according to national and international health authorities. Even after receiving the complete vaccination, the scientific community has provided evidence that attests vaccines are only offering protection at 66%-72% from severe Covid-19 Delta infection and they do not prevent the disease from spreading.

In this regard, we would like to advise that you keep using masks (preferably ffp2 type) when engaging in OSL academic activities and very especially when safe ventilation cannot be maintained. OSL activities will be held in hybrid format or online — in the former case, basic security measures (masks, safe ventilation, hands and surface hygiene) will be respected.

We will keep supporting our students and staff to the best of our ability so you can enjoy a fruitful and stimulating learning experience. Given the extreme uncertainty, we will work together with the organizers, instructors and students participating in each academic activity and we will adapt our support and advice depending on the specific conditions present at each time.

Finally, we would like to wish you a great start to the new academic year. Please, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the specific arrangements of your academic activities, training and/or courses.

On behalf of the OSL management team,


Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia

Academic Director OSL

OSL Research Day: Full Programme

Groningen | 8 October 2021, 14:00-18:00 | Academiegebouw, Rooms A3 and A8
[NB: The event is planned as hybrid, but will move online if necessary]

Registration will open September 8, 2021.
PLEASE NOTE: When registering, please indicate (under ‘Remarks’): 1) Which panels/sessions you would like to attend; 2) Whether you would like to attend the event onsite or online.

After skipping one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the OSL Research Day is back, and will take place in Groningen on 8 October 2021! The Research Day aims to celebrate and cultivate OSL’s sense of community, and hopes to stimulate more collaboration between literary scholars and existing research groups in the Netherlands. While literature is our primary focus, we explicitly encourage multidisciplinary research.



The programme features three panels organized by OSL research groups, as well as a final plenary session on world literature. Please find an overview below:

14:00-14:10 Welcome
14:10-15:20 Panel 1 (research group Theories from the South and the East) and Panel 2 (Literature, Law and Society)
15:20-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-16:40 Panel 3 (Crisis and Critique)
16:40-16:50 Coffee break
16:50-18:00 Roundtable on world literature (with Professors Debjani Ganguly, David Damrosch and Sandra Ponzanesi, chaired by Jesse van Amelsvoort)


Panel descriptions


Panel 1 (research group: Theories from the South and the East in Literature and Culture)

Politics and Poetics of Feminist Strike in the Postsocialist/Postcolonial Encounter

The panel will be organized as a session within the seminar series of the research group, with onsite and online participation of group members and open to the public and potential new participants. It will start with a brief introduction of the group and a summary of its two earlier seminars on decoloniality and infrastructure. We then continue with a discussion on the topic of feminist strike, around which a workshop will be organized by members of the group in April 2022. The panel will outline the research focus and initial questions, followed by a presentation of three case studies, and will then open to discussion and input by other group members and the public. The main questions to be addressed are: What are the aims and benefits of bringing postsocialist and postcolonial feminisms into the same fold? What are the meanings and practices of ‘feminist strike’ in the contexts we study? How far can this notion stretch: does it apply to cases of uneventful activism or to feminist resistance in which questions of labour are not explicitly articulated?

Chair: Hanneke Stuit

Panelists: Senka Neuman-Stanivukovic, Judith Naeff, Kylie Thomas and Ksenia Robbe


Panel 2 (research group: Literature, Law and Society)

The panel is open to the public, and will feature both remote and in-person contributions by current research group members. In particular, the session is meant as a roundtable discussion of two recent publications in the field of Law and Humanities — namely A Theory of Law and Literature by Angela Condello and Tiziano Toracca (Brill, 2020) and Art as an Interface of Law and Justice: Affirmation, Disturbance, Disruption by Frans-Willem Korsten (Bloomsbury, 2021). Following a short welcome and introduction to the research group, the panel will consist of two short presentations by the respective authors (10 minutes each), followed by an open discussion. Selected excerpts from both publications will be shared in advance with registered participants.

Panel organizers: Ted Laros (Open University) and Alberto Godioli (University of Groningen)


Panel 3 (research group: Crisis and Critique: Rethinking Europe and the Global South)

Perspectives on Futurity: Europe and the Global South

Following a hybrid format, the panel will involve online and onsite participation of members of the research group and is also open to the public and anyone interested in the panel and/or in joining the group. After a brief introduction of the group and a framing of the panel’s topic by the panel organizers, the first hour will be devoted to four short presentations, followed by discussion, by participants who will relate case studies from their research to visions on futurity from Europe and the Global South, and will unpack the implications of this notion in their respective fields (contemporary art history, anthropology, cultural studies, comics studies).

The presentations and discussion will be guided by the following questions: What does futurity mean in our respective disciplines and research? Which modes of ‘future thinking’ (e.g. futurology, prophecies, future scenarios in populism or conspiracy theories, utopianism etc.) are gaining popularity today and what are their political/ideological implications and valence? How can we link future imaginations with social justice, and particularly: How can Western epistemologies and epistemologies of the South feed into one another in thinking about alternative futures in relation to social justice?

Panel organizers: Maria Boletsi (Leiden University / University of Amsterdam) & Eva Fotiadi (St. Joost School of Art & Design, Avans University of Aplied Sciences, The Netherlands)

Speakers: Vasilis Alexiadis, Kristina Gedgaudaite, Eva Fotiadi and Dimitris Papanikolaou


Roundtable on World Literature

This final panel will focus on two upcoming, major contributions to the study of world literature(s), namely The Cambridge History of World Literature (Cambridge University Press; edited by Prof. Debjani Ganguly, University of Virginia) and Literature: A World History (Blackwell; edited by Prof. David Damrosch, Harvard University et al.). The session will start with three short talks by the two editors and by Professor Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University), who is contributing to the former project. The talks will be followed by an open discussion chaired by Jesse van Amelsvoort (OSL PhD candidate, University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân).


Registration for the Research Day will open on September 8th, 2021. Please feel free to email us (osl@rug.nl) if you have any questions.

OSL Awards 2021

The call for the 2021 OSL Awards is now open! As usual, OSL will reward two of its members with an Award for the categories ‘published scholarly book’ and  ‘published article’. In addition to that, we are happy to announce three extra categories, namely ‘PhD dissertation’, ‘ReMA thesis’ and ‘valorization‘. The Awards are intended to acknowledge original and innovative contributions to the field of literary studies and to highlight the work of talented OSL students and scholars. The OSL Awards come with prize money of € 500,- for each award.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Published scholarly book’ and ‘published article’: Participants must be OSL members who have obtained their PhD from 1 January 2017 onwards at OSL or a university outside the Netherlands. A completed PhD is not a requirement. The works must have been published in one of the modern European languages within the period 1 January 2017 – 15 September 2021. Publications that have been submitted for the OSL Awards in previous years are not eligible for the 2021 edition.
  • PhD dissertation’: Participants must be OSL PhD candidates who have submitted the final version of their dissertation between 1 January 2020 and 15 September 2021. Participants will have to provide evidence that the file they submitted constitutes the final version of their dissertation. A completed PhD is not a requirement.
  • ReMA thesis’: Participants must be OSL ReMA students who have submitted the final version of their thesis between 1 January 2020 and 15 September 2021. Participants will have to provide evidence that the file they submitted constitutes the final version of their thesis. A completed ReMA is not a requirement, but the thesis must have received a minimum grade of 8,0 by the date of submission.
  • Valorization‘: Any OSL member can participate by submitting a brief description (max. 1000 words) of a valorization activity or project they have conducted between 1 January 2020 and 15 September 2021. Participants are welcome to also provide additional evidence regarding their valorization activity (e.g. websites, newspaper articles, links to video recordings, etc.).


  • Articles and other files should to be submitted as PDF to osl@rug.nl. Books can be submitted in digital form as well (if available), otherwise a hardcopy should be sent to Netherlands School for Literary Studies (Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia), Harmony Building, Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26, 9712 EK Groningen.
  • The deadline for proposals for the 2020 OSL Award is 15 September 2021.
  • The winners of the OSL Awards will be announced in December 2021.

Awards Committee: to be announced.

We look forward to your submissions!


The winners of the 2020 edition: Dr. Marc Farrant and Jesse van Amelsvoort

The winners of the 2019 edition: Dr. Marieke Winkler and Dr. Tom Idema

OSL Symposium ‘Decentering Narratives in Latin America: Shaping Possibilities from Resistance’

Online | 1 October 2021, 14:00-18:10 CET

Organizers: Juan Del Valle Rojas, Elizabeth Pinilla Duarte and Gonzalo Albornoz Barra (University of Groningen)
Open to: Everyone; OSL PhDs and RMA students have first access.
Credits: 1EC. More details on the assignment are provided below.
NB 1: Credits can only be awarded to humanities ReMA and PhD students from Dutch universities.
NB 2: The event will take place in Spanish, with the exception of Panel Session 2 (which will be given in English).

Registration for the event will open September 8, 2021. 

Multiple narratives contribute to the shaping of individual and communal beliefs and practices — even more so today. However, what makes some of these narratives more pervasive than others? In the processes of sense- and decision-making, hegemonic narratives are positioned in the centre, namely the place from which institutions exert their influence.

These ‘central’ narratives tend to naturalize the unequal production and distribution of meaning, thereby marginalizing, invisibilizing and excluding many peripheral voices. Latin America is a prime example of how central narratives can generate social injustice, but also of emerging counter-hegemonic narratives. One example is the explosion of protests (street protests and civil disobedience actions) by citizens against inequality, exclusion and injustice, reaching its climax in Chile in 2019 and later spreading to many other neighbouring countries. To date, and despite the COVID epidemic, Latin American social mobilisation is still evolving and renewing in different formats. These recent mobilisations can be identified, in Gramsci’s words, as social actors of resistance countering criminalisation and repression on the part of the state. By so doing, these collective actions seek to decenter dominant narratives by redistributing the possibilities of the production of meaning. Nevertheless, much work remains to be done when it comes to the production and the impact of these movements in the cultural imagination. For example, following Kenneth Roberts’ article “(Re)Politicizing Inequalities: Movements, Parties, and Social Citizenship in Chile” (2016), could we say that we are experiencing insurrection rather than revolutionary movements? Which are the narratives portraying social mobilization in Latin America? To what extent do they have an impact on the cultural imaginary fabric?

In this international symposium experts from literary and cultural studies, politics and related fields analyse the production of diverse and decentered voices of resistance in Latin America. Together they will discuss the demands, struggles and cultural expressions of peripheral actors pursuing the design of inclusive spaces of dialogue.


14:00-14:10      Welcome: Elizabeth Pinilla Duarte; Juan del Valle Rojas; Gonzalo Albornoz Barra

Keynote Session

14:10-14:50“Narrativas descentradas amenazadas en Sudamérica. Elementos de análisis del disenso oral y visual”Jacqueline Fowks

14:50-15:05      Q&A session (Chair: Elizabeth Pinilla Duarte, MA)

15:05-15:20      Break

Session 1

15.20 – 15:40     “Cuando las calles hablan: performatividad política y reclamación en el marco del paro nacional en Colombia 2021” – Dr. Diana Moreno Rodríguez

15:40 – 16:00    “Agendas de ampliación de derechos y discursos de odio. Tensiones entre el universo de las fake news y la organización nacional-popular en Argentina” – Dr. Pablo Bilyk

16:00-16:15      Q&A session (Chair: Gonzalo Albornoz Barra, MA)

16:15-16:45      Break

Session 2

16:45 – 17:05    “Resistance to “Racism à brasileira” in contemporary Afro-Brazilian arts” – Dr. Peter W. Schulze

17:05 – 17:25    “Cultural Narratives of Crisis, Migration and Social Nativism in Latin America” – Prof. Dr. Pablo Valdivia Martin

17:25 – 17:45    “The ecosystem of the cultural representation of marginality. Contributions to an integrated research perspective” – Dr. Konstantin Mierau

17:45 – 18:00    Q&A session (Chair: Juan del Valle Rojas, MA)

18:00 – 18:10      Final remarks


Bios and Abstracts

Assignment: ReMA and PhD students from Dutch universities can obtain 1EC by attending the event and submitting a short critical reflection (approx. 800 words) on a chosen panel/session. The reflection should include references to a minimum of two relevant secondary sources; it should not only summarize the content of the session, but also engage with the arguments presented by the speakers as well as discussing possible links with the student’s own research interests. The assignment should be submitted to osl@rug.nl (in Spanish or English) by Friday 22 October, end of day.