The OSL Award winners 2018

The OSL Award winners of 2018 are Anne-Fleur van de Meer and Alex Rutten. They received their prize during the annual OSL Research Day in Groningen on October 12, 2018.

Each year, OSL rewards two of its members with an OSL Award for the publication of an excellent scholarly book and article. 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.

The jury’s praise

With “‘Ik kan niet genezen van een kwaal die ik niet ken.’ Depressie en intertekstualiteit in Kikker gaat fietsen (2008) van Maarten van Buuren,” Anne-Fleur van der Meer has written a highly accomplished and original article on autobiographical texts on depression. Her article stresses the important point that as literary scholars, we have to withstand the temptation to emphasize the non-fictional content of novels like Maarten van Buuren’s. This temptation runs rampant in society, as is evidenced by talk shows that will invite authors who write novels with autobiographical content, and then fail to address the literary nature of such texts. Van der Meer urges us to consider the literary merits and devices of literary works on depression. She has a masterful grip on the theories she uses. She impressed us with the meticulous and sophisticated nature of her close readings and narratological analyses of the primary source. She then manages to embed these close readings in an extra-literary scientific discourse and social context in convincing ways. This makes her work both technically precise and socially relevant, which is quite an achievement for an early-career literary scholar.

Anne-Fleur van der Meer. “‘Ik kan niet genezen van een kwaal die ik niet ken.’ Depressie en intertekstualiteit in Kikker gaat fietsen (2008) van Maarten van Buuren.” Nederlandse Letterkunde 23.1 (2018): 11-39.

Alex Rutten’s monograph De publieke man: Dr. P.H. Ritter Jr. als cultuurbemiddelaar in het interbellum (Hilversum, 2018) offers a first comprehensive examination of the legacy of (radio) critic, journalist and writer Dr. P.H. Ritter Jr. in a cultural-historical framework. What struck us as extraordinary is the originality of Rutten’s work. Not only in terms of its object of study, as Ritter’s output has never before been systematically researched in an academic study, but also in its innovative contextual and literary-sociological method. Rutten’s analysis includes a whole range of media, organizations, and cultural institutions that have not been traditionally considered part of literary history, such as newspapers, movie theatres, and radio shows. He convincingly argues that an examination of these is not only vital for understanding Ritter’s oeuvre, but for Dutch literary history as a whole.

The jury consisted of prof. dr Hans Bertens (UU), prof. dr Jos Joosten (RU) and dr Inge van de Ven (TU).

Congratulations, Anne-Fleur and Alex, on behalf of the jury and OSL Board!

LACE Winter School: Narrative Values, the Value of Narratives

University of Groningen
January 28 – February 1 

Since the narrative turn, the interest in the concept of narrative and its values has become widespread, both inside and outside the academy. There is a growing interest in narrative fiction as an ‘experimental values laboratory,’ studying both the value of narrative fiction in society and the values that are circulated through narrative fiction. Outside the academy, storytelling has become the focus of interest in many professional practices, such as psychology, counselling, medicine and health, and journalism, where it is used as a tool to piece together broken lives and make sense out of chaos and destruction. Narrative thus appears to be everywhere.

The Winter School, organized in affiliation with the Literature and Change in Europe (LACE) network, offers cutting-edge narratological research with contributions from leading narrative scholars, such as Jan Baetens (Leuven), Hendrik Skov Nielsen (Aarhus), Marina Grishakova (Tartu) and Liesbeth Korthals Altes (Groningen). In it, a broad array of disciplines and practices will be showcased, exploring how narratives are shaped by ethical, aesthetic, epistemological, and social values, and how narratives function as varied and complex transmitters of values in contemporary society.

Special attention will be paid to the ‘dark side’ of the omnipresence of storytelling in contemporary virtual and mediatized culture: on the impact of simple stories catching people’s imagination and spreading like wildfire and the use of stories in politics and marketing to manipulate voters and consumers. There is a need for “narrative savviness”: the ability to critically assess narratives as constructed representations of reality, rather than reality itself, and to be aware of their implies yet often hidden values.

Participants of the Winter School will follow a series of lectures and participate in interactive workshops during which they can present their research projects. Included in the programme is a day-long symposium, organized in honour of prof. dr. Korthals Altes and her contributions to the field of narrative, where additional international speakers will present their work and engage in a lively debate on the negotiation of values in and through narratives.

Please note that if your programme includes a requirement to earn credits from a national research school, the credits for this winter school do not count towards that requirement. 

More information

OSL Training Programme 2018-19

In the academic year 2018-19, OSL offers the following courses and seminars for RMa students and PhD candidates:

  • Deleuze Seminar “Matters of Life and Death” (Sept 2018-May 2019; 2 or 5 EC); RMa/PhD)
  • Seminar “Perspectives on African Literature” (Oct-Dec 2018, 5 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Seminar “Postcolonial Remembrances: Violence and Identity in Literature and Film” (Nov 2018 – Jan 2019, 5 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers – Framen, schrappen en herschrijven (January 7-11, 3 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Ravenstein Seminar (Winter School) “Memory Studies and Materiality” (January 23-25, 5 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Seminar “Contemporary Debates in Life Writing” (March-April, 5 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Course “Computational Literary Studies” (April-May 2019, 3 or 6 EC; RMa/PhD)
  • Hermes Summer School “Passages” (May 20-23, Giessen/Germany; PhD)
  • Seminar “Naming the World: Realism Travels the Globe” (May-June, 5 EC; RMa/PhD)

Please find more specific course descriptions on our website! Registration for most events will open in September 2018. Workshops, masterclasses etc. will be announced during the academic year.