Current PhD Research

Sasha Richman | In Search of Meaning in a World of Images: Photographic Imaginaries in the Works of Willem Frederik Hermans, Wright Morris, and Michel Tournier

Sasha Richman | University of Groningen, University of Strasbourg
This project proposes a comparative study of photography in the works of Dutch writer Willem Frederik Hermans, American writer and photographer Wright Morris, and French writer Michel Tournier. The intermedial study aims to understand how photography, as a motif, a means, and a practice, informs the writers’ notions of realism and reality.

Gepco de Jong | Kritisch denken: een innovatief concept voor het literatuuronderwijs

Gepco de Jong | Universiteit Leiden (Tilburg University)
Literatuuronderwijs laat de leerling kennismaken met situaties buiten de eigen leefwereld en is daarmee een belangrijke schakel in de persoonsvorming. Een sterk ontwikkelde kritische denkvaardigheid is een onmisbare factor in dit proces. Kritisch denken is een nuttig instrument in het literatuuronderwijs, maar daarnaast ook een essentiële academische vaardigheid waarvan de ontwikkeling vroegtijdig moet worden ingezet. Dit onderzoek adresseert de implementatie van kritisch denken in het literatuuronderwijs, met als doel het kritisch denkvermogen van de leerlingen te versterken en daarmee de literaire competentie van de leerling te verbeteren.

Tianran Zhang | Fluid Heterotopias: Gendered Bodies and Spaces in Modern British and Chinese Women’s Writing

Tianran Zhang | Fluid Heterotopias: Gendered Bodies and Spaces in Modern British and Chinese Women’s Writing | University of Amsterdam | Supervisors: Dr. Ben Moore and Prof. Dr. Carrol Clarkson | 1 September 2021 — 1 September 2025.

This project focuses on gendered bodies and spaces in modern British and Chinese women’s writing and examines how they perform as sites that inspire female consciousness and accommodate alternative modernities. Drawing on Michel Foucault and Elizabeth Grosz’s theories on geography, space and the body, it analyzes how the narratives of interactions between gendered bodies and spaces shift across the 1900s to the 1960s, thereby revealing how female individuals are positioned in the grid of power relations and how they can transform spatial hierarchies and demonstrate alternatives to the dominant narratives of patriarchy, hierarchy, and colonialism.

Judith Jansma | From Submission to Soumission: Populist Perspectives on Culture

Judith Jansma | University of Groningen
In today’s political discourse the idea of a culturally-grounded national identity has made a strong come-back. One can think of Theresa May’s (in)famous  statement that “citizens of the world are actually citizens of nowhere”, or Dutch Christian-democratic party CDA insisting on the integration of the national hymn in the primary school curriculum. Yet this adherence to national identity as a way to deal with complex societal challenges (globalization, multiculturalism) is performed to a much greater extent by populist parties associated with the far right. Their understanding of citizenship being based on the notion of “ethnos” rather than “demos” – leading to a strong “us vs. them” narrative – it should not come as a surprise that culture is an important tool to unite “us” and to exclude “them”.

Jiang Ye | Cross-Cultural Writing: Chinese Fan Fiction on the English World

Jiang Ye | Cross-Cultural Writing: Chinese Fan Fiction on the English World | School of Asian Studies, The Leiden University Institute for Area Studies | Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Maghiel van Crevel | 01-10-2019 to 30-09-2023

My topic focus on Chinese fan fiction written by Chinese young female based on English source texts. It asks how this collective writing behaviour that crosses cultural borders in an unique way can realise Chinese young female’s subjectivities. In four case studies, I will focus on four different identifications in which the said subjectivities emerge through the authors’ agency. I will both close-read the texts and invoke the bigger picture of overarching tropes and media.

Andries Hiskes | Disability and its Affective Affordances: Deformity, Decay, Disruption, Distortion

Andries Hiskes | Leiden University
Bodies considered disabled or defomed may elicit strong affective or emotional reactions. They can shock us, evoke disgust or sympathy, or we might wonder at them for example. Through the lens of four key concepts (Deformity, Decay, Disruption, Distortion), this project examines contemporary literature and art in which such affective reactions to these “deviant” bodies are depicted.

Rose Smith | Hegemonic European Communist memory narratives in Central European Museums

Rose Smith | University of Groningen
This dissertation aims to critically scrutinize how transnational knowledge bases create a hegemonic European Communist memory narrative in museums. It fills a conceptual and empirical gap in the field of memory studies. First, the concept of mnemonic hegemony, though has been used by various scholars in memory studies, has not yet been properly developed; thus, it opens up an analytic optic that specifically focuses on mnemonic power struggles for obtaining a special advantage or authority. Second, while there is a substantial amount of research on the European memory of Communism, the transnational network organizations of European memory, as well as the museums of Communism, there is no research that specifically deals with how museum members of the Platform for European Conscience narrate Communist past.