OSL Course: Computational Literary Studies

Computational Literary Studies

Dates: April – May 2020
Time: TBA
Venue: University of Amsterdam
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access
Organiser: prof. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (UvA)
ECTS: 3-6
Registration will open Fall 2019

Bring your own laptop to all classes

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

More details will follow soon

OSL Workshop: Speculative Ecologies: Turning the Human(ities) Inside Out

Speculative Ecologies

Date: May 2020
Venue: Utrecht University
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access
Credits: 1EC
Instructor: Dr Tom Idema (Utrecht University)

Registration will open Fall 2019

If the humanities is a tranquil mountain resort with a lake around which scholars gather to bath in the beauty of literature, culture, history, and other things human, then speculative ecologies awaken the terrifying Beast of Transdisciplinarity at the bottom of the lake, disturbing the scholars’ soothing stay. What will happen if the scholars look the Beast in the eye, or look through its eyes?

Today writers, philosophers, and scientists are questioning commonly held assumptions about humanity and nature in the light of immense and potentially catastrophic environmental change, conjuring up new, speculative ecologies. From Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction of human transmutation to Timothy Morton’s philosophy of hyperobjects, speculative ecologies transgress the boundaries of genres and disciplines. In this masterclass we will delve into key examples of speculative ecology, considering how they may inform new developments in literary studies and, more broadly, the Humanities.

More details will follow soon

OSL Seminar: Contemporary Debates in Life Writing

Contemporary Debates in Life Writing

Dates: March – April 2020, exact dates TBA (5 sessions)
Venue: University of Amsterdam
Instructors: Dr Babs Boter (VU Amsterdam) and Dr Marleen Rensen (UvA; course coordinator)
Credits: 5 EC
Open to: RMA students and PhD candidates, OSL members will have first access
Registration will open Fall 2019

This course focuses on contemporary debates in life writing as a newly emerging field across disciplines. Life writing is an umbrella term for a wide range of writings about one’s own or someone else’s life, such as biography, autobiography, memoir, diary, bio-fiction and travel writing. In the course we will explore various life stories of men and women in the 20th and 21st centuries, who each had their own unique set of life experiences, beliefs and perceptions. This will help gain a richer understanding of how individuals move through, interact with, and are affected by the major events of their time — and how their lives are narrated, either by themselves or by others.

More details will follow soon

OSL Workshop with David Alworth: Literature and the Social

Workshop with David Alworth

Date: February/March 2020 (exact date to be announced)
Venue: University of Groningen, exact location TBA
Open to: PhD candidates and RMA students (OSL members will have first accces)
Organisation: Jesse van Amelsvoort (University of Groningen)
Speaker: Dr David Alworth (Harvard University)
Credits: 1 EC
Registration: will open Fall 2019 | Limited to 15 participants

Towards the end of the twentieth century, the study of literature became decidedly more sociological. Under the influence of thinkers such as Pierre Bourdieu and disciplines such as gender and postcolonial studies, scholars started paying attention to the context of literary production. This move has sometimes seen literature reduced to a status subordinated to other disciplines – merely the offshoot of other, ‘real’ processes in society and culture. In this seminar, we aim to rethink how literature relates to the social, in particular regarding the ways in which literature can make our social world legible and visible in new ways.

Literature, David Alworth argues in his book Site Reading, is in fact a rich source of sociological knowledge. Departing from Bruno Latour’s sociology, especially his actor-network theory (ANT), Alworth demonstrates the value of literature and literary studies for understanding the social. By attending to the various sites that function as the backdrop of the action in literary works, we can see how these sites either restrict characters’ actions, or enable them. If we want to know more about the human experience of collectivity, we might as well turn to literary representations of that experience.

The seminar aims not only to facilitate interaction and dialogue among the participants, but also explicitly encourages them to actively search for new ways of reading and criticism and include them in their own research projects.

Aims

  • To think about the relation between literature and the social, and how the former may illuminate the latter;
  • To create and foster a community of RMa and PhD students who are interested in participating in and furthering methodological discussions within literary studies.

Preparation
Aspiring participants apply by submitting a half page letter of motivation, which includes a description of their research project and/or interests, the role that the study of the social plays in their research and 2-3 questions or points they would like to discuss during the seminar. These questions will be shared among the participants as points of reference for the seminar. Participants are required to have read 60-80 pages of assigned readings before they come to the seminar.

More details and a complete schedule will be available soon

OSL Academic Programme 2019-2020 (UPDATED)

The first complete overview of our academic programme for 2019-2020 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. Please find our programme below:

 

Semester 1 (October 2019 – January 2020)

 

OSL Research Day

Groningen | 11 October 2019

The fourth OSL Research Day will take place on October 11, 2019 at the University Library in Groningen. We invite scholars from all Dutch universities to explore affinities in their research interests and possibilities for future collaboration around a number of research topics.

The Research Day hopes to stimulate more collaboration between literary scholars and existing research groups in the Netherlands. Although literature is the main scope of the OSL Research School, we explicitly encourage multidisciplinary research.

Full programme available here

 

(Un)timely Crises in Europe and Beyond: Chronotopes and Critique

Amsterdam | 17-18 October 2019 | ECTS: 1

This 2-day workshop will probe contemporary crisis-scapes in order to explore the ways ‘crisis narratives’ structure experiences and representations of time and space, i.e., the ways ‘crisis’ as a framework, concept, rhetoric, affective or discursive structure forms or taps into specific chronotopes.

Full programme available here

 

Europe as Narrative

Amsterdam | 1 November – 13 December 2019 | ECTS: 5

In this seminar we will explore different narratives of/on/about Europe. For this, we will depart from a number of questions. Firstly, how are ideas about the past utilized, for example by constructing Europe as a teleological narrative with clear historical origins, or by rewriting history in order to serve a contemporary political agenda? Secondly, how do narratives of Europe function as a space of in- and exclusion, by formulating an ‘us’ in opposition to a range of specific and less specific ‘others’? Thirdly, what do narratives of Europe tell us about the way in which Europeans are perceived, either as a homogeneous group, or diversely as a social constitution of different identities that overlap or conflict? We will approach these questions by focusing on a number of concepts that are central to how Europe is narrated: heritage, citizenship, crisis, migration, and (trans)nationalism. In our discussions, we will engage with a selection of topical theoretical texts and we will close read different cultural objects that reflect, talk back, deconstruct and challenge specific narratives of Europe.

More details available here

 

Workshop on Cultural Branding

Utrecht | 25 October 2019 | ECTS: 1

This workshop will provide analytical tools to study the branding of literature. Drawing on the work of – amongst others – Clayton Childress, Philippe Mihailovich and Karl Moore, literary branding is defined as an interactive process in which producers (e.g. authors, publishers, literary agents), distributors (e.g. book traders, librarians) and consumers (e.g. critics, teachers, readers) construe a set of regimented associations with an author, oeuvre or literary text. This set of associations can be analyzed as a dynamic and constantly metamorphosing narrative about the branded author or text. In the workshop, we will discuss and analyse aspects of the ‘sets of associations’ construed around national and international literary brands, with special emphasis on: 1) the processes of inclusion and exclusion central to the branding process; 2) the way these processes shape narratives about national literatures.

More details available here

 

Creative Writing Course ‘Poetics: A Practitioner’s Guide’

Groningen | 6 November – 11 December 2019 | ECTS: 5

This course will introduce participants to poetic genres, forms and metres, enabling them to develop, or to expand upon their own practice, as creative writers in English. Participants will study poetry from a variety of traditions, in order to understand how poetic form is determined by its original context in performance, and by the information, musical and theatrical technologies necessary to that original performative context. Far from being arbitrary or inorganic restrictions upon individual creativity, poetic form will emerge as the response to a context in performance that may since have been lost; as something organic, evolving and (potentially) still very much alive. Over a series of seminars and creative writing workshops, featuring poets invited to reflect upon their own practice, participants will investigate how ancient poetics have been (and might be) adapted for the creation of contemporary poetries in English, being introduced to recent research on creative writing as an historical and a discursive phenomenon. In addition, participants will learn to use creative-writing techniques as a form of artistic research and as an element of their methodologies.

More details available here 

 

Stranger Things: Rethinking Defamiliarization in Literature and Visual Culture

Amsterdam, NIAS | 12-13 December 2019 | ECTS: 1-2

Organizers: Dr Nilgun Bayraktar (California College of the Arts; NIAS) and Dr Alberto Godioli (University of Groningen)

The notion of defamiliarization is strikingly undertheorized; in order to find a systematic reflection on the topic, we need to go back to the Russian Formalist Viktor Shklovsky’s work on ostranenie in literature in the early 20th century or to German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s theorization of Verfremdungseffekt in the 1930s to describe theatrical devices that break audiences’ passive absorption in theatrical illusion.

Defamiliarizing practices today play a key role in contemporary artworks engaging with highly topical issues, such as migration, climate change or the rise of right-wing populist discourses. Whether we are dealing with retro-futuristic dystopias, films breaking the fourth wall, or darkly humorous cartoons, defamiliarization can be an effective tool for political activation – one based on formal innovation, rather than on content or on superficial emotional engagement.

But how exactly can we distinguish between different forms of defamiliarization? How can we investigate its effects on the reader/viewer? How does defamiliarization relate to neighboring notions such as the weird, the eerie, or the uncanny? During this two-day conference, 12 scholars working on defamiliarization across media will tackle these questions. The conference will also feature a panel with 2 artists whose work addresses these issues.

More details and a complete programme will follow soon

 

OSL Schrijfcursus voor geeteswetenschappers – Framen, schrappen en herschrijven     

Utrecht | January 2020 (4 sessions) | ECTS: 3

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.

More details will follow soon

 

Ravenstein Seminar (Winter School 2020) – War, Literature and Law

Leiden | 23-25 January 2020 | ECTS: 5

Literature has been the instrument that helped people sustain war (as Primo Levi testified) or that was a major vehicle for the call for justice (as in the work of Antjie Krog). At the same time there is much art that promotes war (Marinetti’s horrifying manifest), or motivates it (Kipling’s “White man’s burden”). Law may be the last stronghold people hold on to in times of violence (as happens wherever people keep on registering what happened with an eye to future justice), or may instead itself be the instrument of violence (as perhaps too many examples illustrate). Our aim in this winter school is to investigate the forcefields and dynamics that exist between the two fields, literature and law, as they intersect in making sense of, or in their trying to govern the phenomenon of war.

More details available here

 

Semester 2 (February – June 2020)

 

OSL Workshop with David Alworth: ‘Literature and the Social’

Groningen | February/March 2020 (date tbc) | ECTS: 1

Literature, David Alworth argues in his book Site Reading, is in fact a rich source of sociological knowledge. Departing from Bruno Latour’s sociology, especially his actor-network theory (ANT), Alworth demonstrates the value of literature and literary studies for understanding the social. By attending to the various sites that function as the backdrop of the action in literary works, we can see how these sites either restrict characters’ actions, or enable them. If we want to know more about the human experience of collectivity, we might as well turn to literary representations of that experience.

More details available here

 

Contemporary Debates in Life Writing

Amsterdam | March – April 2020 (5 sessions) | ECTS: 5

This course focuses on contemporary debates in life writing as a newly emerging field across disciplines. Life writing is an umbrella term for a wide range of writings about one’s own or someone else’s life, such as biography, autobiography, memoir, diary, bio-fiction and travel writing. In the course we will explore various life stories of men and women in the 20th and 21st centuries, who each had their own unique set of life experiences, beliefs and perceptions. This will help gain a richer understanding of how individuals move through, interact with, and are affected by the major events of their time — and how their lives are narrated, either by themselves or by others.

Instructors: Dr Babs Boter (VU Amsterdam) and Dr Marleen Rensen (UvA; course coordinator)

More details will follow soon

 

Literature between the state and the market

Utrecht | April – May 2020 (4 sessions) | ECTS: 3

In 2015, the American magazine The Atlantic proclaimed ‘the death of the artist – and the birth of the creative entrepeneur’. The discourse on literary authorship has indeed changed over the past fifty years: the representation of the author as a solitary genius seems more outdated than ever, now that writers are often presented as competitors in a literary market. While the marketization of literature proceeded, governments became interested in ‘cultural entrepeneurship’ as well. What is the place of literature, and of the literary author, in these changing fields of power and the economy? Do authors have to fear this ‘heteronomization’, or does it also offer opportunities for their cultural and political impact? In this course, we discuss insights from cultural sociology, cultural policy studies, and literary studies about the place of literature between the state and the market.

Coordinator: Dr Laurens Ham (Utrecht University)

More details will follow soon

 

Computational Literary Studies

Amsterdam | April – May 2020 (5 sessions) | ECTS: 3-6

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

Organiser: Prof. Dr. Karina van Dalen-Oskam (University of Amsterdam)

More details will follow soon

 

Workshop ‘Speculative Ecologies: Turning the Human(ities) Inside Out’

Utrecht | May 2020 (date tbc) | ECTS: 1

If the humanities is a tranquil mountain resort with a lake around which scholars gather to bath in the beauty of literature, culture, history, and other things human, then speculative ecologies awaken the terrifying Beast of Transdisciplinarity at the bottom of the lake, disturbing the scholars’ soothing stay. What will happen if the scholars look the Beast in the eye, or look through its eyes?

Today writers, philosophers, and scientists are questioning commonly held assumptions about humanity and nature in the light of immense and potentially catastrophic environmental change, conjuring up new, speculative ecologies. From Jeff VanderMeer’s fiction of human transmutation to Timothy Morton’s philosophy of hyperobjects, speculative ecologies transgress the boundaries of genres and disciplines. In this masterclass we will delve into key examples of speculative ecology, considering how they may inform new developments in literary studies and, more broadly, the Humanities.

Instructor: Dr Tom Idema (Utrecht University)

More details will follow soon

 

Hermes Summer School 2020

Santiago de Compostela | 22-26 June 2020

A description of last year’s Hermes Summer School can be found here; more details on the 2020 edition will follow soon

Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies: New Approaches to World Literature

Amsterdam | 27 June 2019

21st Meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings

27 June 2019, 10.30-17.00h | E0.09, Roeterseilandcampus UvA, Roetersstraat 11, Amsterdam

The interest scholars such as Pascale Casanova and David Damrosch took in world literature fifteen to twenty years ago has recently been criticized by, for instance, Michael Allan and Aamir Mufti as (too) generalizing and universalizing. These and other critics have started to think about location and multilingualism in order to bypass the globalizing tendencies of earlier scholarship. Already as a field world literature tends to exclude non-Western traditions, canons and languages. Francesca Orsini proposes to speak of “multilingual locals” and “significant geographies” with the aim of pluralising our understanding of world literature and foregrounding the subjectivity and positionality of its actors. After all, many of the literary works that travel beyond their original contexts of production never become visible in a truly global way, but circulate in particular geographies and across specific languages.

In this meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings, we take a cue from Orsini to consider the production of world literature from the perspective of multilingual locals and significant geographies. We interrogate how these new approaches problematize and reinvigorate the concept of world literature, and examine its applicability to postcolonial studies, globalisation studies, migration and minority studies, and other fields.

Our meeting starts with a keynote lecture by Prof. Francesca Orsini, whose expertise spans the literary history of South Asia, world literature and multilingualism with a focus on the Global South. Her lecture is followed by a discussion of her ideas and by a joint close reading of essays by Orsini and other scholars. In the afternoon, we continue our exploration of world literature, multilingualism and spatiality by means of contributions on the meeting’s topic by (junior) researchers working in this field. We conclude our meeting with a joint on-the-spot analysis of a striking case-study.

The meeting is open to all researchers – junior and senior – working in the fields of postcolonial and globalization studies. Participation is free of charge, but please register with NICA (nica-fgw@uva.nl). For more information, contact Liesbeth Minnaard (e.minnaard@hum.leidenuniv.nl) or Jesse van Amelsvoort (j.d.van.amelsvoort@rug.nl). A reader will be distributed in preparation of the seminar and on the day itself foods and drinks will be provided.

 

Programme:

 

10.15 Walk-in and registration with coffee

 

10.30 Welcome & introduction of participants

by Platform co-ordinator Liesbeth Minnaard (Leiden University)

 

10.45 Introduction

by guest-organiser Jesse van Amelsvoort (University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân)

 

11.00 Keynote lecture “Located, Multilingual: New Keywords for World Literature”

by Francesca Orsini (SOAS, University of London)

 

12.00 Discussion of readings

 

Readings in preparation of discussion (a reader will be sent to all registered participants):

 

Text 1: Orsini, Francesca. “The Multilingual Local in World Literature.” Comparative Literature 67.4 (2015): 345-74.

Text 2: Laachir, Karima, Sara Marzagora and Francesca Orsini. “Significant Geographies: In lieu of World Literature.”  Journal of World Literature 3.3 (2018): 290-310.

Text 3: Mufti, Aamir. “Prologue: The Universal Library of World Literature.” In Forget English!: Orientalisms and World Literatures. Harvard University Press, 2018. 1-13.

 

13.00 Lunch

 

14.15 Further Food for Thought and Discussion: Paper Presentations

moderated by Platform co-ordinator Elisabeth Bekers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

 

14.15 “Postcolonialism, Postcritique, and the Politics of Untranslatability” by Marc Farrant (Amsterdam University College) followed by discussion

 

14.45 “Writing (Beyond) the Oral Tongue: Gender and Multilingualism in the Works of Najat El Hachmi and Chika Unigwe” by Núria Codina Solà (KU Leuven) followed by discussion

 

15.15 “Defending Chandrakanta: Analysing the Rise of Hindi and Devakinandan Khatri’s Defense of Hindustani in Chandrakanta” by Abiral Kumar (University of Delhi) followed by discussion

 

15.45 Coffee break

 

16.00 Joint on-the-spot-analysis of three poems by Tsjêbbe Hettinga

moderated by guest organiser Jesse van Amelsvoort

 

16.45 Concluding remarks

 

17.00 Drinks

 

The Platform for Postcolonial Readings organizes seminars for all (junior) researchers in the Netherlands and Belgium who are committed to issues of postcoloniality and globalization.

Organizers of this meeting: Elisabeth Bekers (VUB), Liesbeth Minnaard (UL) and Jesse van Amelsvoort (RUG).

The event is co-sponsored by NICA and OSL.

     

Summer School ‘Law, Literature and Human Rights’

Groningen | 13-20 July 2019

Are you interested in taking a new perspective on human rights and discovering their hidden meanings in literature and law? Would you like to learn how contemporary interdisciplinary studies such as Law and Literature and Law and Humanities help to unveil the cultural and social message of human rights law? Would you like to spend a week discussing the cutting-edge ideas in the Law and Literature studies focused on dimensions of marginality, relations between human rights and sovereignty, literary meanings and hidden structures of the ECHR jurisprudence?

This summer school aims to engage with law and literature not only to consider how these fields treat human rights and engage in human rights discourse, but also to explore how human rights alter the face of both literature and law, particularly through modifying their aesthetic forms. In this sense, the school strives to shift the accent from a sentimental kind of discourse about human rights within Law and Literature to the comprehension of how we talk about human rights and how this manner of talking strengthens or weakens them.

More information available here

European Literature Night 2019

Amsterdam | 16-17 May 2019

The European Literature Night 2019, on 16 and 17 May will be celebrating the Library, in collaboration with the OBA, the Amsterdam Public Library, which marks its 100th anniversary. Twelve writers and poets from all over Europe will talk of librarians and readers, about accidental encounters with books and people, about the first library they ever visited, about nostalgia for paper and dust, endless rows of books on shelves, the thrill of digital texts available world-wide. About the past and future of reading.

The programme includes talks by Jasin Mohamed and Jannah Loontjens; Zoe Strachan, Kerem Eksen and Andrei-Paul Corescu; Marek Šindelka, Andrej Blatnik and Felicitas von Lovenberg; Lina Buividavičiūtė, Delphine Lecompte and Gandolfo Cascio; Almudena Grandes interviewed by OSL Director Pablo Valdivia.

More details available here.

OSL Awards 2019

OSL Research Day

This year, OSL will reward three of its members with an Award for the following categories: published scholarly book, published article, and PhD thesis manuscript. The Awards are intended to acknowledge original and innovative contributions to the field of literary studies and to highlight the work of talented scholars at the beginning of their careers. The OSL Awards come with prize money of € 500,- for each award.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Recipients must be OSL members who have obtained their PhD no longer than four years ago at OSL or a university outside the Netherlands; a completed PhD is not a requirement.
  • The award will be granted for works in the field of literary studies of outstanding quality and originality in three different categories: published scholarly book, published article, and PhD thesis manuscript.
  • The works must have been published (or submitted, in the case of the thesis) in one of the modern European languages, within a period of four years prior to the granting of the award, i.e. within the period 2015-2019 for the 2019 OSL Award. Publications that have been submitted for the OSL Award in previous years are not eligible for the OSL Award 2019.

 Procedure:

  • Publications can be submitted by the authors themselves or anybody else. Submissions should be accompanied by a brief motivation in which the merits of the publication are outlined.
  • Articles should to be submitted as PFD-files 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 2019 OSL Award is July 1, 2019.
  • The OSL Awards will be presented to the winners during the OSL Research Day on October 11, 2019 in Groningen.

Awards Committee: Dr. Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University), Dr Monica Jansen (Utrecht University), Dr Florian Lippert (University of Groningen).

We look forward to your submissions!

Message from the Groningen team

As previously announced, on 1 January 2019 OSL officially moved from the University of Amsterdam to the University of Groningen. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the UvA team – Director Henk van der Liet, Programme Director Stephan Besser, Managing Director Paul Koopman, and Office Manager Chantal Olijerhoek – for their amazing work and their invaluable contribution to OSL’s constant growth.

We are very much looking forward to working with the OSL Board and members on the School’s future activities, with the shared aim of taking active part in the most exciting developments for Literary Studies within and beyond the Netherlands.

The School’s new email address is osl@rug.nl. The previous one (OSL-fgw@uva.nl) should still be used for the following matters: Ravenstein Seminar and Keynote Lecture (Winter School 2019), OSL Schrijfcursus voor geeteswetenschappers 2018-2019, OSL Seminars ‘Perspectives on African Literature’ and ‘Postcolonial Remembrances’ (2018-2019).

Best wishes,

Pablo Valdivia (OSL Director)

Alberto Godioli (OSL Programme Director)