Current PhD Research

Marit van de Warenburg | Between Remembrance and Appropriation: Transcultural circulations of Poetry and Song

Marit van de Warenburg | Utrecht University
Cultural transmission is occurring all the time: cultural carriers circulate and are adapted to new circumstances and media and, in the form of translations, to other languages. Sometimes, however, cultural transmission is explicitly challenged. Particular reuses of pre-existing cultural carriers are then perceived as illegitimate. Think, for instance, of contemporary debates about cultural appropriation. In such debates, challenges to cultural transmission spark reflections on identity and on who can adopt what heritage. The project “Between Remembrance and Appropriation: Transcultural Circulations of Poetry and Song” analyzes such debates, reframing them in terms of the mobilization of memory.

Serra Hughes | Worlding Communication: Novel Communication Barriers in Global Science Fiction and Speculative Literature

Serra Hughes | University of Amsterdam
The novel communication barrier, an innovation beyond the norms of empirical reality that obstructs mutual understanding, is identified in this thesis as a distinct literary trope across a transnational range of science fiction and speculative literature. Locating this mechanism across a diverse corpus of texts from the Cold War period to the present and from the United States to Britain, Canada, Nigeria, Poland, Spain and China, this PhD project is the first to untether these novelties from their local contexts to develop urgently needed clarity on communication in a world of deepening divides. 

Kyra F. Alberts | Breaking out of the Coffin: The afterlife of specters, vampires and the haunted house in the post-postmodern hauntological dominant

Kyra F. Alberts | Leiden University
It has been argued that (Western) society is undergoing a paradigmatic shift, one that has been described by various scholars as one from postmodernism to post-postmodernism. A recurring theme of this shift is a sense of renewed social engagement with the world. In this thesis I will explore how this shift can be understood in terms of what Brian McHale calls a shift in the ‘dominant.’ Specifically, I propose to study the post-postmodern dominant as a hauntological dominant. To do so, I will develop a theoretical framework informed by Jacques Derrida’s notion of ‘hauntology’ and its recent theorizations in the context of what has been called the ‘spectral turn’ in the humanities and social sciences.

Yiming Wang | Fandom and participatory censorship: Boys’ Love fiction and globalized activities across the Great Firewall of China

Yiming Wang | Maastricht University in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASOS)
My research is about online fan-fiction, Boys’ Love subculture and internet censorship and the title is “Fandom and participatory censorship: Boys’ Love fiction and globalized activities across the Great Firewall of China”.

Valerica van der Geld-Dodan | Between Memory and Imagination: Homecoming in Aharon Appelfeld’s and Eva Hoffman’s Autobiographies and Fiction

Valerica van der Geld-Dodan | University of Amsterdam
This research aims at offering a paradigmatic comparison between two authors, Eva Hoffman (1945 -) and Aharon Appelfeld (1932-2018), by examining notions of departure and homecoming as represented in their fictional and autobiographical writings.

Teun Joshua Brandt | Symbiotic Narratives: Contested Agencies in Scientific and Literary Accounts of Human Holobionts

Teun Joshua Brandt | University of Groningen
This interfaculty project aims to provide a better understanding of how we make sense of ourselves facing this paradigmatic shift in biology and the philosophy of biology. Drawing on Caroline Levine’s and Marco Caracciolo’s theories of form, it will extrapolate the key narratives of the biological and philosophical discussions on individuality and agency, and analyse how they are mirrored, depicted, transformed and questioned in contemporary speculative fiction.