Masterclass with prof. Rita Felski – “Comparison and (Post)critique. Method and Engagement in Literary Studies”

Date: Friday, June 8, 2018
Location: University of Groningen, location TBA
For: PhD candidates and RMA students (OSL members have first access; limited to 12 participants).
Organisation: Jesse van Amelsvoort and Ruby de Vos (University of Groningen)
Credits: 1 EC

Ever since Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Bruno Latour forcefully have called into question the dominance of established modes of critique, there has been debate among literary and cultural scholars on the meaning and orientation of reading and critique. In recent years, Rita Felski’s work in Uses of Literature (2008) and The Limits of Critique (2015) has been at the centre of these discussions. The purpose of this master class is to think about the future of critique, criticism and reading in our own academic work, and to ask how these new avenues of thought and practice might be put to work for societal engagement and valorisation.

In an academic and societal environment that seems increasingly geared towards a (social) scientific understanding of methods and methodology, literary scholar can find it difficult to legitimate how they ‘do’ their discipline. Arguments grounded in established practices of critique do not always make for an easy fit with the general public’s knowledge and expectations. Consequently, humanities voices are disappearing from public debates, problematically creating the image of intellectual poverty and social uselessness. Therefore, this master class will ask whether and to what extent new, postcritical methods might create new possibilities for engagement with the public beyond the walls of the academy.

The master class 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 research projects.


  • To think about methods, especially what is usually referred to as ‘reading’, in literary and cultural studies research;
  • To think more specifically about the relevance of critique and postcritique;
  • To create and foster a community of RMa and PhD students who are interested in participating in and furthering methodological discussions within literary studies.

Application and preparation

Aspiring participants apply by submitting a half page letter of motivation, which includes a description of their research project or interests, the role that matters of critique play in their research and 2-3 questions or points they would like to discuss during the master class. These questions will be send to Professor Felski as points of reference for her short workshop lecture and interaction with the participants. In response to the questions, Professor Felski will set around 60-80 pages of assigned readings for the participants, who are required to have read these before coming to the master class. Send your application to by April 15, 2018 (subject: Master class Felski). For questions about the event please contact Ruby de Vos (

Set-up and schedule*

The day starts with a public lecture (11-13 hrs, to be confirmed) by Rita Felski, attendance of which is required for the participants of the master class. After lunch, the participants convene to prepare the workshop and take stock of their questions. At 15:00, Rita Felski joins the group for a brief lecture and discussion of the questions and assigned readings.

11:00–13:00    Public lecture by Professor Felski
13:00–14:00    Lunch
14:00–14:50    Preparation of the masterclass (chair: Ruby de Vos)
14:50–15:00    Coffee break
15:00                   Short lecture by Rita Felski and response by Roel Smeets, followed by general discussion
(chair: Jesse van Amelsvoort)
17:00                    Drinks

*schedule might be subject to change

Ravenstein Seminar (Winter School 2018) – Literature, Affect and Emotion

Date: 24-26 January 2018
Venue: Jan 24 (RMa programme): University Library: Doelenzaal, Singel 425, Amsterdam; Jan 25 & 26: University Theater: room 3.01, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, Amsterdam
Organisation: Kristine Steenbergh (VU Amsterdam), Sven Vitse (Utrecht University),  Kristine Johanson (University of Amsterdam), Andries Hiskes (Haagse Hogeschool & Leiden University)
Speakers: Eugenie Brinkema (MIT), Isobel Armstrong (Birbeck College), Alexa Weik von Mossner (University of Klagenfurt), Frans Willem Korsten (Leiden University), Hans Demeyer (UCL), Erin Sullivan (University of Birmingham) et al.
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa students; OSL members will have first access

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

The strong affects and emotions that literature can evoke, express and negotiate have always fascinated writers, philosophers and literary scholars. In this winter school we will explore various approaches and topics relating to the current ‘turn to affect’ and emotions in literary and cultural studies. We will discuss the role of emotions in early modern literary culture, probe various theories of affect (Deleuzian/Spinozist, ideological critique, aesthetic and formalist approaches) and their employment in the study of literature, and explore links with film studies and ecocriticism (the topic of the previous Ravenstein Seminar). We will be joined by a number of inspiring scholars in the field who will share their expertise and present current research projects. The purpose of the winter school is to give the participants a broad orientation in this fascinating, manifold and topical field of research, to provide them with specific insights into current debates and research practices, and to give them the opportunity to explore possible topics for research activities of their own.

Please find the full programme and all abstracts below. Please note that time might be subject to small changes.

Conference programme

Thursday, January 25, 2017 – 10:00-16:30
Universiteitstheater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16, 3.01

10:00-10:15Opening and introduction
10:15-11:15Isobel Armstrong (Birbeck, University of London)
The Location of Affect
11:15-11:30Coffee break
11:30-12:30Eugenie Brinkema (MIT, Cambridge/MA)
Incremental Love
12:30-13:30Lunch break
13:30-14:15Frans Willem Korsten (Leiden University)
The analytical limits of affect, its unruly political implications and its practical force
14:15-14:30Coffee break
14:30-15:15Erin Sullivan (University of Birmingham)
Emotion and Affect in Pre-modernity (tbc)
15:15-15:45Roundtable on history of emotions vs. theory of affect with Erin Sullivan, Frans Willem Korsten, Kristine Johanson (University of Amsterdam), Kristine Steenbergh (Free University Amsterdam)
15:45-16:00Coffee break
16:00-16:45Emy Koopman (Amsterdam)
Literary Reflections on writing affect
18:00Conference Dinner (De Brakke Grond, Nes 43)

Friday, January 26, 2017 – 10:00-15:30

10:00-11:00Alexa Weik von Mossner (University of Klagenfurt) Speculative Emotions? The Affective Appeals of Eco(dys)topia
11:00-11:15Coffee break
11:15-12:15Hans Demeyer (University College London)
Affects of the Housing Crisis
12:15-13:15Lunch break
13:15-14:15Peer Review of participants research proposals (in groups)
14:15-15:00Andries Hiskes (Leiden University)
The Affective Affordances of Disability
15:00-15:30Wrapping up


Isobel Armstrong – ‘The Location of Affect’

This lecture takes up the marked turn to affect in our discipline by returning to some discussions in The Radical Aesthetic and reading these with another preoccupation, the way language, particularly poetic language, does not simply ‘express’ affect but makes affect structurally inherent in linguistic form. I consider a perlocutionary poetics derived from Austin and Cavell. A test case for this inherence is the caesura, a gap in the text that is nevertheless meaning-making and, I argue, affect-making. This theme is explored through Shelley, Browning, Yeats, and recent experimental women’s poetry.

Isobel Armstrong is Emeritus Professor of English (Geoffrey Tillotson Chair) at Birkbeck, University of London, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, a Fellow of the British Academy and Hon Foreign Scholar of the American Academy. Her Victorian Glassworlds. Glass Culture and the Imagination 1830-1880 (2008) won the Modern Language Association’s James Russell Lowell Prize. Her interests encompass critical and aesthetic theory and feminist writing (see The Radical Aesthetic, 2000, and the Oxford Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Poetry, 1993) and nineteenth-century literature.  Het study Novel Politics. Democratic Imaginations in Nineteenth-Century Fiction was published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

Eugenie Brinkema – ‘Incremental Love’

Michael Haneke’s film Amour (2012) is set in a single restricted location, the Parisian apartment in which a dying, suffering woman is being cared for by her husband. The film plots an obsessive formal language of spatial increments, organizing itself around minor but crucial distances across the geography of the home. Against and within this ordered relation of objects and space, extraordinary pain and terrible violence ultimately arrive. In this talk, I explore this interrelation to suggest that figures of entrance, distance, and spatial increments articulate a formalized ethics of care that is commuted over the course of the film to the paradoxical figure of an ethics of violence. Love—which absorbs within its affective extremity philosophical figures of completion, unity, fulfillment—is thereby radically altered. When read through the notion of discrete increment, an alternate tradition of the amative is opened up, one in which love names a brutal measurability of the world.

Eugenie Brinkema is Associate Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her articles on film, violence, affect, and sexuality have appeared in the journals Angelaki, Camera Obscura, Criticism, differences, Discourse, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, qui parle, and World Picture. Her first book, The Forms of the Affects, was published with Duke University Press in 2014. Recent work includes a co-edited special issue of the Journal of Visual Culture on the design and componentry of horror, and an article on irrumation and the interrogatory in violent pornography in Polygraph. Her current book manuscript, Algebras of Sensation, explores the relationship of radical formalism to the affects of horror and love.

Hans Demeyer – ‘Affects of the Housing Crisis’

‘Everyone wants to go home. We don’t survive as nomads’ (David Nolens, Silence and Milk for Everyone). From the perspective of the housing crisis, my talk will focus on the relation between affect, space and economy. Making use of affect theories of Ahmed, Berlant, Lordon and Konings, it will concentrate on the issue of belonging in a context of permanent movement and displacement through raising rents and/or forced evictions, and on (melancholic) attachments to the promised redemptive qualities of debt and money. An analysis of the novel Moving Kings (2017) by Joshua Cohen will serve to illuminate different affective and economic investments in housing as both a home (a lived space) and as real estate (an instrument for profit making).

Andries Hiskes – ‘The Affective Affordances of Disability’

Through a comparative reading of two artworks, Michelangelo’s ‘David’ and Berlinde de Bruyckere’s ‘Into One-Another III To P.P.P.’, this lecture explores how reading for form matters in the way we read for and get affected by disability. Concurrently, it is explores how affect, conceived as a visceral force that moves through and impresses on bodies, is generated through the way in which disabled bodies are represented in art. Rather than reading disability as a ‘lack’, this lecture proposes that disabilities also have ‘affordances’; the potentiality and particularity of disability in how it evokes, and simultaneously can alter, affective responses.

Andries Hiskes is a literary theorist and scholar. He is employed as a lecturer and researcher at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, where he teaches courses in close-reading and qualitative research methodologies. He is a PhD candidate at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, where he works on the intersection between disability studies and affect theory. His research examines literature and art in which affective responses are evoked and/or shared by deviant and disabled bodies, focusing on how the artwork is constructed to elicit such responses. Concurrently, through the added emphasis on emotional and affective responses provoked by disabled bodies, his research explores how art may manipulate such responses.

Frans-Willem Korsten – ‘The analytical limits of affect, its unruly political implications and its practical force’

In this lecture, I will reflect on what provoked the interest again in affect, over the last three or four decades, and consider what has now clearly proven to be the analytical limits of the notion. Or to put this differently, after its refreshing entrance in the field of the humanities and the sciences alike, the use of this notion has become slightly repetitive; it appears to lack a potential for refreshing itself. Then I will move towards the unruliness of the notion in a political context. Those who have rushed to promote the notion, such as Sara Ahmed and Lauren Berlant, appear to have a blind spot for affect’s potential to be used by reactionary or totalitarian forces. Finally, I will consider what is the strongest potential of affect in the current scholarly situation, which is not theoretical, but practical in nature.

Frans-Willem Korsten holds the endowed chair ‘Literature and Society’ at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, is associate professor at the Film and Literary Studies department at LUCAS: the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, and at the Willem the Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, specifically the Piet Zwart Institute. He published Lessen in Literatuur (Lessons in Literature, 3rd edition 2009), Vondel belicht (2006), All inclusive (2007), Sovereignty as Inviolability (2009) and is co-editor of Joost van den Vondel: Dutch Playwright in the Golden Age (2012). His most recent book is entitled A Dutch Republican Baroque – Theatricality, Dramatization, Moment and Event (2017). He edited several special issues of volumes and journals and published widely on the period of the Baroque and issues of capitalism, law and justice. He was chair of the section Letters of the Dutch Council of Culture and was member of advisory committees in the Netherlands and Norway. Together with Yasco Horsman (Leiden University) and a number of PhD-students he is currently working on the role of literature and art at the limits of the law.

Erin Sullivan – ‘Emotion and Affect in Pre-Modernity’

This talk will offer an introduction to ideas about emotions – or the passions, as they were most commonly known – in the late medieval and early modern period. Looking at a number of literary, philosophical, medical, and religious sources, it will explore the unique positioning of the passions at the meeting point of the mind, body, and soul. It will also reflect in a wider way on the relationship between the history of the emotions and affect studies as highly related, but often separately practised, disciplines, as well as what this means for the understanding and study of impassioned experience in pre-modern times.

Dr Erin Sullivan is a Senior Lecturer and Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, where she researches the relations between emotion, culture, and identity – both in the past and today. Her publications include Beyond Melancholy: Sadness and Selfhood in Renaissance England, The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries (co-edited with Richard Meek), and several essays on emotion and early modern culture for Cultural History, Studies in Philology, Shakespeare Bulletin, and a number of edited collections.

Alexa Weik von Mossner – ‘Speculative Emotions? The Affective Appeals of Eco(dys)topia’

How do we feel about the speculative futures presented to us in eco(dys)topian literature and film? Are our emotions for characters and their future fates dependent on our own environments and contextual knowledge? And what are the personal and social implications of such emotional engagement? These are some of the questions that Alexa Weik von Mossner will address in her investigation of our embodied experience of speculative future environments. Her lecture will consider both dystopian modes of environmental storytelling that try to affect their audiences’ risk perceptions, and utopian narratives that aim to cue positive emotions such as hope and desire through the depiction of a better and more sustainable way of being. In doing so, she will pay particular attention to the thesis, forwarded by neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio and Vittorio Gallese, that our minds are both embodied (in a physical body) and embedded (in a physical environment), not only when we interact with the real world but also in our engagement with imaginary worlds. Considering a wide range of American cultural texts, Weik von Mossner will explore what ecotopian scenarios, and readers’ emotional responses to them, can contribute to political imaginations of ecological citizenship and environmental sustainability.

Alexa Weik von Mossner is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. After working for several years in the German film and television industry, she earned her PhD in Literature at the University of California, San Diego in 2008 and her Habilitation at the University of Klagenfurt in 2016. She has published widely on cosmopolitanism and various ecocritical issues in American literature and film. Her current research explores the theoretical intersections of cognitive science, affective narratology and ecocriticism. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Minds: Literature, Emotion and the Transnational Imagination (U of Texas P, 2014) and Affective Ecologies: Empathy, Emotion, and Environmental Narrative (Ohio State UP, 2017), the editor of Moving Environments: Affect, Emotion, Ecology and Film (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014), and the co-editor of The Anticipation of Catastrophe: Environmental Risk in North American Literature and Culture (with Sylvia Mayer, Winter 2014).

Utopia across Cultures: A Workshop

Date: 16 February 2018
Time: 10.00-16.00h
Venue: University Library – Vondelzaal, Singel 425
Open to: PhD candidates and RMa students; members of OSL will have first access
Lecturer: dr Barnita Bagchi, UvA

This masterclass invites advanced postgraduate students to explore the mobile, cross-cultural nature of utopia. Even if the word was invented in Europe in 1516 by Thomas More, utopia has manifestations in and has travelled between all inhabited continents, for example in Asia, through Buddhism. The heuristic mode so crucial to utopian writing, which is usefully seen as a kind of speculative writing,  plays in richly varied ways with thinking across cultures. Utopia articulates dreams of a better life and anticipations of the future (Bloch, 1954-1959); a ‘social dreaming’ (Claeys and Sargent 1999), utopia combines social and imaginative experimentation. In this masterclass, students will be thinking through how the transcultural plays out in utopian writing from the 20th and 21st centuries.  Afrofuturism and hybrid aesthetics influenced by South Asian cultures are in focus. We will discuss literary and critical texts by Octavia Butler, Salman Rushdie, Lyman Tower Sargent and others.

Course – Computational Literary Studies

Lecture and discussion – Angus Nicholls: ‘Scientific’ Literary Studies During the Late Nineteenth Century and Today: A Critical Overview

Date: December 20, 2017; 15:00-17:00
Location: University of Amsterdam, PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134 (room 5.59)


The late nineteenth century was a period in which academic disciplines began to form and professionalize themselves in modern research universities. Like many disciplines during this period, literary studies (Literaturwissenschaft) attempted to establish itself by arguing that its methods were ‘scientific’ or wissenschaftlich. But here the key term in the debate – that of ‘science’ (Wissenschaft) – was a contested one, and was defined in different ways, in different cultural contexts, by different protagonists in the field. In this paper, I will attempt to show that these nineteenth-century debates on the ‘scientific’ nature of literary studies bear a striking similarity to present day discussions. This is so because – especially in the UK system – the humanities continue to be assessed and funded according to models predominantly derived from research in the natural sciences; models which favour a linear conception of objective scientific progress and which valorise quantifiable impact upon society. This paper will offer an overview of this subject in relation to British and German intellectual history, as part of an introduction to a larger monograph project. Some of the better-known thinkers treated will include Matthew Arnold, Thomas Henry Huxley, Wilhelm Dilthey and Wilhelm Scherer. For those interested, further information on the larger project can be found here:


Angus Nicholls teaches in the Departments German and Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London, and served as the Chair of Comparative Literature between 2013 and 2016. Some book publications include: Goethe’s Concept of the Daemonic (2006), Thinking the Unconscious: Nineteenth-Century German Thought (co-edited, 2010), Myth and the Human Sciences: Hans Blumenberg’s Theory of Myth (2015), and Friedrich Max Müller and the Role of Philology in Victorian Thought (co-edited, 2017). He co-edits two journals: Publications of the English Goethe Society (Routledge) and History of the Human Sciences (Sage). Further into and publications here:

OSL Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers – Framen, schrappen en herschrijven

Datum: 8, 10 & 11 januari 2018
Locatie: Universiteit Utrecht, zie hieronder
Bestemd voor: Promovendi en RMa studenten, verbonden aan OSL
Voertaal: Nederlands
EC: 3 (aanwezigheid bij alle bijeenkomsten vereist)
Bij aanmelding graag vermelden welke RMa opleiding je volgt.

Deze cursus is vol. Indien je deel wilt nemen, kunnen we je op de wachlijst plaatsen.
Stuur ons een e-mail met je naam, universiteit en landelijke onderzoekschool.

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.

maandag 8 januari
Tijd en zaal:
13.15- 18.00 uur | ASP200 – 011

woensdag 10 januari
Tijd en zaal:
09:00 – 12.45 uur | JK2-3 – 019
13:15 – 17.00 uur | JK15A – 001

donderdag 11 januari
Tijd en zaal:
09:00 – 10.45 uur | D21 – 104
13:15 – 17.00 uur | JK 15A – 204

voor wie Utrecht niet (goed) kent, meer info over de locaties:

Workshop – Animal Minds between Narrative and Cognition (Dec 6, SMART Animals conference, Amsterdam)

Date: Dec 6, 9:00-16:00

University of Amsterdam: University Library, Singel 425, Doelenzaal


Workshop description

Psychologists working in the wake of Jerome Bruner (1991) have argued that narrative is a key tool for constructing human selves and identities. This workshop confronts the challenges involved in engaging with nonhuman animals’ selves in narrative form. Through what stylistic and formal strategies can narrative encapsulate the lived experience of animal bodies and minds? What are the differences between fictional narratives (in literature and film) that feature animal protagonists and accounts of animal experience and behavior in scientific writing or nonfiction (such as Charles Foster’s Being a Beast)? What interpretive strategies are readers likely to adopt when engaging with these animal narratives? How, and to what extent, can narrative shape people’s beliefs and ethical views about animal life? Finally, what is the epistemological value of animal-centered narratives? How, if at all, can they contribute to the scientific understanding of animal minds?  These are questions that have been raised, more or less explicitly, in multiple areas of the humanities and the social and natural sciences: from David Herman’s (2014) “narratology beyond the human” to Bernaerts et al.’s (2014) account of “nonhuman narrators” to work on the phenomenology of human animal-interactions (Warkentin 2012). But these remain scattered and fragmentary approaches; no head-on attempt has been made so far to interrogate the potential and the limitations of animal narratives from a perspective informed by the mind.



9:00 – 9:15Welcome and introduction
9:15 – 9:40Alexa Weik von Mossner (University of Klagenfurt), “Feeling Animals? Narrative, Anthropomorphism, and the Intricacies of Trans-Species Empathy”
9:40 – 10:05Jon Hegglund (Washington State University), “Transmedial Anthropomorphism, Canine Minds, and the Limits of Experientiality”
10:05 – 10:35Discussion
10:35 – 10:50BREAK
10:50 – 11:15Hans-Johann Glock (University of Zurich), “Toads, Dogs, and Apes: Intelligence and Reasoning in Non-Human Animals”
11:15 – 11:40Simone Pollo (Sapienza University of Rome), “The Clock and the Patient: Philosophical Animals as Fictional Characters”
11:40 – 12:05Eva Meijer (University of Amsterdam), “The Politics of Animal Languages”
12:05 – 12:50Discussion
12:50 – 14:00LUNCH (not included)
14:00 – 14:25Tirza Brüggemann (Free University of Amsterdam), “The Poetry of a Horse’s Mind”
14:25 – 14:50Marco Caracciolo (Ghent University), “Flocking Together: Embodiment and Fictional Engagements with Collective Animal Minds”
14:50 – 15:20Discussion
15:20 – 15:30BREAK
15:30 – 16:00Wrap-up

OSL Seminar Literature & Diversity: New Approaches to the Study of Cultural Representation

Dates: 2 February, 16 February, 23 February (NOTE: this is a changed date), 16 March, 6 April  2018 (Friday morning or afternoon)
Venue: Utrecht University
Open to: PhD candidates and RMa students; members of OSL will have first access
Organisers: Lucas van der Deijl, Saskia Pieterse, Roel Smeets + guest speakers

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

Inspired by postcolonial theory and gender criticism, the notions of identity  and  representation have become key concepts in academic and critical approaches to literature. At an early stage, students of literary studies are currently trained to analyse individual cases of othering as symptomatic of  stereotypes or power relations that are exposed, confirmed or contested by literary texts. In addition, the focus on representation has, to a certain extent, helped to improve the position of women, various minorities, and non-Western writers in literary canons and to further the study of their works. By now these critical approaches are supported by a longstanding tradition that has fueled numerous debates on literature and identity both in academia and beyond.

In recent years, the notions of representation and diversity have generated new interest and debates within literary studies and beyond that we want to address in this seminar. On the one hand, new arguments have been formulated by initiatives that tackle questions of diversity, social imbalance and misrepresentation in contemporary and historical cultures through a more quantitative approach. Well-known examples are VIDA (counting ‘women in literary arts’) and the ‘Hollywood Diversity Report’ annually published by UCLA. These large scale empirical projects rely on the assumption that numbers are more persuasive or more fit for the purpose of describing diversity (of a system, a literature) than qualitative or discursive arguments. At the same time, debates about cultural appropriation and imaginative leaps into other identities have questioned the power relations involved in cultural exchange and placed new emphasis on the problem of an unequal access to literary resources, audiences and means of representation.

In this seminar we will study these developments and their methodological implications with a specific focus on the concept of diversity. The use (but also the problematics) of this term for literary studies will be discussed, both theoretically and methodologically. The course offers four different perspectives on the concept of diversity, based on four dimensions of literary communication: (the diversity of) readers, texts, contexts and authors. In each session, an empirical or quantitative approach will be contrasted and/or supplemented with a qualitative perspective through the reading of a literary text. We will address different layers of diversity such as gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality and disability, with a strong emphasis on the intersections between those categories. Central issues will be representation, multiculturalism, canonicity, authorship, autonomy, polyphony, the literary field, and stereotypes. During the fifth and final session, the students will engage in an interview with a specialist from the current (inter)national debate on culture and diversity.



Deleuze & How to Live the Anti-Fascist Life and Endure the Pain

Deleuze Seminar 2017-2018
Rosi Braidotti and Rick Dolphijn

Time: Wednesday afternoons, 13.00-16.00
Location: Stijlkamer van Ravensteijn, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, Utrecht University.
Organised by: the OSL (Onderzoekschool Literatuurwetenschap) with the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University
Convened by: Professor Rosi Braidotti with Dr. Rick Dolphijn (Utrecht University) and student working groups (Discussion group “The Joyful Nomads”,…)
Registration: please send an e-mail, including a biographical text of up to 100 words stating your affiliation and motivation for the seminar, to Paul Koopman, and Professor Braidotti’s assistant:

For more information about Deleuze seminars and other activities please consult the website of the Deleuze Circle:

The seminar consists of ten sessions in English which will run throughout the academic year 2017-2018 in Utrecht. Research masters and PhD students, as well as staff members, are welcome to participate. Students can get credits for their participation by attending regularly (attendance will be registered) and writing a final paper. Each session of the three-hour seminar will consist of an in-depth reading of a text by Gilles Deleuze (with or without Felix Guattari), sometimes alongside secondary texts by other theorists or philosophers.
Participants are expected to acquire the literature themselves, but wherever possible we will make pdf files available.


SESSION 1: Introduction to the non-fascist Life
(Braidotti & Dolphijn)
13 September 2017

Reading material:

  • Braidotti, R. 2016. “Don’t Agonise, Organise!” E-Flux
  • Preface to Anti-Oedipus by Michel Foucault.
  • Parr, Adrian. 2010. The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press. Section on: “Fascism”


SESSION 2: The Despotic State Machine
(Braidotti & Dolphijn)
11 October 2017

Reading Material:

  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari 1983 Anti-Oedipus. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (Originally published in 1972, by Les Editions de Minuit, Paris.). Chapter 3: “Savages, Barbarians Civilized Men”:
    o section 6: “The barbarian despotic machine”: p. 191-200;
    o section 9: “The civilized capitalist machine” and section 10: “Capitalist Representation”: p. 222-262


SESSION 3: Micropolitics
(Braidotti and Dolphijn)
8 November 2017

Reading material:

  • Deleuze and Guattari: “9 Micropolitics and segmentary”, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987: p. 208-231.
  • Parr, Adrian. 2010. The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press. Section on: “Micropolitics”
  • Parr, Adrian. 2010. The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press. Section on: “Stratification”
  • Guattari: ‘Everybody wants to be a Fascist’, in: Lotringer, Sylvère (ed.) Chaosophy, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), pp. 154-175 and 225-251.


SESSION 4: The Desire for a Strong Leader
(Braidotti and Dolphijn)
13 December 2017

Reading Material:

  • Deleuze and Guattari. “On European Racism and the White Face of Christ” (7: Year Zero: Faciality ATP 167-192
  • Braidotti, R. ‘Punk Women and Riot Grrls’, in: Performance Philosophy journal, Vol. 1, April 2015.


SESSION 5: The Over-coding of Flows
(Student Working Group 1 presents)
14/21 February 2018

Reading Material:

  • The War machine (12: 1227: Treatise on Nomadology – the War Machine 351-387 (part I)


SESSION 6: Micro-Fascism and Fascist Desire
(Student Working Group 2 presents)
21 March 2018

Reading Material:

  • The War machine (12: 1227: Treatise on Nomadology – the War Machine 387-424 (part II)


SESSION 7: Segmentarity
(Braidotti & The Joyful Nomads?)
11 April 2018

Reading Material:

  • special issue of E-Flux #83 (June 2016) – 9 articles
  • Parr, Adrian. 2010. The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press. Section on: “Desire”


SESSION 8: International Deleuze Studies Day in Utrecht
16 May 2018


SESSION 9: Deleuze and Us
13 June 2018

Reading Material:

  • R. Braidotti: Nomadic Theory, ch. 11: “Sustainable Ethics and the Body in Pain”: 299-324.
  • Deleuze, Gilles. 1988. “Ch.2: On Difference between the Ethics and a Morality;
  • Ch. 3: The Letters on Evil (correspondence with Blyenbergh);
  • Ch. 6: Spinoza and Us”. In: Spinoza: Practical Philosophy. San Francisco: City Lights Books. (Originally published in 1970, by Presses Universitaires de France.)


SESSION 10: Final Presentation of all Projects
(Braidotti and Dolphijn)

Violence and Memory in Postcolonial Literature and Film: Cultural Remembrances

Date: October 2017— January 2018, see below
Venue: University of Amsterdam, see below
Fee (non-members): 250
Credits: 5 ECTS (available upon request)
Registration: Maximum participants in this seminar: 15-20
Open to: ReMa students and PhD candidates who are members of a Dutch Graduate Research School (onderzoekschool); OSL student members will have first access. PhD candidates should ask permission in advance from the seminar’s coordinator and send a short description of their research projects.
Credits & Certificate: Certificates of participation and credits are available upon request after the event. Event coordinator will decide whether the participant has fulfilled all requirements for the ECTS. Please direct your request to OSL (osl-fgw[at]uva[dot]nl) and include your address details.
Coordination: Dr Ihab Saloul, isaloul[at]uva[dot]nl

“The colonized man finds his freedom in and through violence.”
— Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (1963:86)

The decisive role that Fanon attributes to material violence in the colonial context had an inexorable afterlife in the postcolonial world. According to Fanon, violence functions like a language in the colonial system, such that the colonised who seeks to overthrow the coloniser is only writing back in the coloniser’s own language. The texts and films we will study reflect this intersection of violation and political violence. Contrary to Fanon, however, they present it as a mutating, complex cultural phenomenon that draws its energies from multiple histories. postcolonial literary and audiovisual media, as we will see, not only locate violence in culturally specific sites and values such as shame, honour, purity and sacrifice, but they also draw their charge from the ways the corporeality or the embodied politics of “the victim” is made to stand in for the body politic. Think of the links between contemporary cases of political conflict across the world and Western colonial history of these territories. Other examples include European experiences with the so-called “violent migrant”, and how the phenomenon of migration runs the risk of being enduringly aesthetized. Among other matters, postcolonial texts and media expose the brutalities of war, the entanglement of family dynamics in armed resistance to political oppression, the ambiguities of bearing witness to violation, and the effects of metropolitan values imposed upon poverty-stricken societies on the brink of chaos. These explosive topics will be the focus of our discussion. We will explore the historical references that postcolonial cultural expressions adopt in the context of globalisation, and ask whether their symbolism adds or undercuts their political urgency? How does the extremity of the subject matter of these media effect their reaching beyond the conventions of realism into the realms of memory and the imagined (even the surreal, and the grotesque sometimes)? Of related interest will be the ways in which postcolonial literature and media experiment with anti-linear sequences and spatiotemporal continuities of memory in order to stage an apocalyptic climax that collapses past, present and future violence.

Reading materials include Asia Djebar, Algerian White (2000);  Liyana Badr, A Balcony Over the Fakihani (1983); Santosh Sivan, The Terrorist (1998); Andrew Niccol, Lord of War (2005).

The seminar’s objectives are:

  • To introduce students to postcolonial memory debates and theories in connection to contemporary media representations of memory, violence, migration, identity and globalisation
  • To provide students with analytical tools to deal with these concepts in postcolonial literature and films from different historical and cultural contexts.

Instructional Format & Examination
The course includes lectures, film viewings, and a mini-conference. Students are expected to:

  • Attendance and active participation (20%)
  • Group and Individual presentations (30%)
  • 3000 word analytical report, with a focus on the seminar’s themes (50%)


Friday 27 October, 15:00-18:00
PC Hoofthuis – 5.59 (Spuistraat 134)
Lecture: “Theory & Postcolonial Memory”

Friday 10 November, 14:00-18:00
University Library – Potgieterzaal (Singel 425)
Andrew Niccol. Lord of War (2005); readings by W. Benjamin & A. Huyssen

Friday 24 November 2017, 15:00-18:00
University Library – Belle van Zuylenzaal (Singel 425)

J.M.  Coetzee, Age of Iron (1990); readings by  F. Fanon, K. Kulavkova et al.

Friday 1 December, 14:00-18:00
University Library – Belle van Zuylenzaal (Singel 425)
Orientalism and the Subaltern
Santosh Sivan. The Terrorist (1998); readings by E. Said et al.

Friday 12 January, 15:00-18:00
Bushuis – F2.11B (Kloveniersburgwal 48)
Migration and Diaspora
Badr, A Balcony over the Fakihani ([1983] 2002), selection; A. Djebar, Algerian White ([1995] 2000), selection; readings by E. Apter, T. Sabry et al.

Friday 19 January 2018, 11:00-18:00
University Library – Belle van Zuylenzaal (Singel 425)

Instructional Format & Examination

The course includes lectures, film viewings, and a mini-conference. Students are expected to:

  • Attend and actively participate in all session (20% of final grade)
  • Prepare a presentation fort he mini conference (30%)
  • Write a 3000-word essay with a special focus on the seminar’s themes (50%)