OSL Academic Programme 2022-2023

The first overview of the OSL academic programme for 2022-2023 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.

NB1: Unless stated otherwise, all events are being planned as onsite.

NB2: More details (and event-specific webpages) will be available in late August / early September. Stay tuned for more updates!


Semester 1 (September 2022 – January 2023)


What Next? Life After Your ReMA/PhD | Amsterdam, 30 September 2022, 14:00-18:00 CET. Organizers: Dr Alberto Godioli (University of Groningen), Kim Schoof (Open University), Clara Vlessing (Utrecht University) and Kaspar Hendrichs (Leiden University)

What does life look like after a ReMA or PhD in literary studies / the humanities? How can you find out what professional path is most suitable for you? During this event, OSL ReMAs and PhDs will have an opportunity to discuss these questions with early career academics as well as OSL alumni working in policy making and the cultural sector.


OSL Research Day | Leiden, 7 October 2022, 10:00-18:00. Organizers: Prof. Maria Boletsi and Prof. Frans Willem Korsten (Leiden University).

The Research Day aims to celebrate and cultivate OSL’s sense of community, and hopes to stimulate more collaboration between literary scholars and existing research groups in the Netherlands. While literature is our primary focus, we explicitly encourage multidisciplinary research. The programme will combine plenary sessions with a series of panels organized by OSL research groups.


Seminar ‘Eco-Collapse in Transatlantic Perspective’ | Nijmegen, 28 September, 12 October, 26 October, 9 November, 23 November, 7 December 2022. Organizers: Prof. Michael Boyden (Radboud University). 5-6 ECs.

Disasters – whether or not man-made – often catalyze the emergence of a sense of national self-consciousness. In the Netherlands, for instance, ingenuity and resilience in the face of successive floods constitute central ingredients of the Batavian myth around which a Dutch national imaginary took shape. But the Batavian myth also displays remarkable parallels with other narratives of historical self-legitimation, particularly those of settler or pioneer cultures in the United States and elsewhere.

In reconfigured form, such localized tropes of national self-fashioning now resurface in speculative and science fiction about planetary collapse as well as Indigenous counter-epistemologies. An understanding of the cultural work that such eco-collapse narratives do, and how they reverberate and are recycled, is an essential step toward meeting the challenges of a warming planet today.

This course specifically considers how stories that depict the impact of eco-disasters on the identity and mentalities of a given group of people take shape in relation to similar narratives circulating elsewhere. Mobilizing critical insights from recent scholarship in ecocriticism and Anthropocene Studies, we will explore such multidirectional borrowings in selected examples of eco-collapse narratives and other cultural expressions.


Skills Course ‘Fiction: A Practitioner’s Guide’ | Groningen, 29 September, 6 October, 13 October (15:00-17:00) + 27 October, 3 November and 10 November (14:00-16:00). Organizers: Dr Suzanne Manizza-Roszak and Dr David Ashford (University of Groningen). 5 ECs.

This course will introduce participants to the craft of fiction writing, enabling them to develop or to expand upon their own practice as creative writers. In the first half of the course, participants will study fiction in diachronic perspective from a variety of traditions, from the epistolary genre to semi-autobiographical writing. Over this series of seminars and creative writing workshops, participants will investigate how earlier forms of fiction-writing have been (and might be) adapted for the creation of contemporary fiction.

In the second half of the course, participants will read very recently published flash fiction and short stories with an eye toward specific questions of craft. Can the musicality of the line inform our fiction writing in the same way that it does our poetry? How is dialogue shaped by what we omit as well as what we include? Throughout the block, students will produce creative work of their own that draws on these readings and conversations. A final reflective meta-writing assignment will create space for student authors to consider how their thematic preoccupations and aesthetic choices connect to the reading list, to the writing of their peers, and to a larger body of both earlier and contemporary fiction.


Seminar ‘Africa Beyond “Africa”‘ | Amsterdam, 4,11, and 18 October; 1, 8 and 15 November 2022. Organizers: Prof. Margriet van der Waal (University of Groningen) and Dr. Astrid Van Weyenberg (Leiden University). 5 ECs.

Although political, sociological, ethnographical or anthropological perspectives from, on and about Africa are frequently examined and discussed, African artistic domains remain relatively underexposed in the Netherlands. This is remarkable, especially when taking into account that African artistic practices are booming – both at home and around the world. In this course, we will problematize a number of assumptions about Africa and explore how contemporary African literature and film invite us to imagine and rethink Africa as part of the world and the location of the future. The seminar is not meant to represent a general overview of African literature and film, but aims to explore a number of topical issues with regard to contemporary literary and cultural production from and about Africa. We will apply an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on the knowledge and expertise from different academic fields working on the topic of African literature and film.


Workshop ‘Regional Literature in Transnational Contexts’ | Nijmegen, 11-13 January 2023. Organizer: Prof. Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University). 2 ECs.

This workshop combines an introduction to regional literature from c.1840-1940, and its current themes and approaches, with a skills-based workshop that prepares RMA students and PhD candidates for attending academic conferences. It involves attending the conference ‘Cultural Representations of the Region in Transnational Contexts, c.1840-1940’, hosted by researchers in the NWO-funded VICI project ‘Redefining the Region’, as well as a complementary introductory workshop session.
This introductory session takes place on the morning before the conference (Wednesday 11 January 2023), and students will discuss assigned readings on regional writing in transnational contexts, as well as read selected abstracts from conference speakers. These will serve as a starting point for students to write their own mock abstract for the conference collaboratively during the session, based on the literature read in preparation for the workshop and text they are familiar with.  Moreover, in groups, students develop potential questions for the keynote speakers, which they are invited to ask at the conference itself.


Ravenstein Winter School ‘New Perspectives on the Novel: Histories, Forms, Representations’ | Utrecht, 18-20 January 2023. Organizers: Dr Roel Smeets (Radboud University), Dr Inge van de Ven (Tilburg University) and Lucas van der Deijl (University of Groningen). 5-6ECs.

The Ravenstein Seminar 2023 will offer an exciting program of both Dutch and international scholars specialising in the study of the novel, including confirmed keynotes Richard Jean So (McGill University), Karin Kukkonen (University of Oslo) and Caroline Levine (Cornell University). Besides plenary lectures and panel sessions on the history, form, and politics of novels from various language fields and cultural contexts, the program contains hands-on workshops about research methods tailored for the study of both individual cases and large collections of novels. Particular attention will be paid to digital humanities approaches to close and distant reading.


Semester 2 (February – July 2023)


OSL/NICA Seminar ‘Laughing Matters: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Humor and Society’ | Groningen / Leiden; 3, 10 and 7 February and 3, 10 and 17 March 2023. Organizers: Dr Alberto Godioli (University of Groningen) and Dr Yasco Horsman (Leiden University). 5ECs.

What social functions can humor perform, from literary satire to stand-up comedy? How does a society negotiate the cultural, moral or legal boundaries of humor, i.e. what can and cannot be joked about? How is the production and circulation of humor changing, in the age of social media and viral memes? Questions like these can only be effectively tackled from an interdisciplinary perspective – i.e., by combining literary, cultural, sociological and linguistic approaches to the multifaceted nature of humor as a social phenomenon.

This seminar builds on recent cross-disciplinary developments in humor research, with a special emphasis on the contextual dimensions of humorous communication and the complex roles played by humor in the public sphere. After a general introduction to humor studies as an interdisciplinary field, the sessions will focus on topics such as humor and free speech (in a literary, cultural and juridical perspective), the politics of stand-up comedy, and humor as a tool for political resistance.


Seminar ‘Forms of Postcolonial and Postsocialist Time: Eternal Presents and Resurfacing Futures’ | Amsterdam, 8 February, 22 February, 8 March, 22 March, 5 April 2023. Organizers: Dr Ksenia Robbe (University of Groningen), Dr Sanjukta Sunderason (University of Amsterdam) and Dr Hanneke Stuit (University of Amsterdam). 5 ECs.

This course addresses the ways in which literature and art, in their generic capacity for multi-perspective representation, reimagine place and agency within the eternal present inaugurated by the end of the Cold War at the turn of the 1990s. This global discourse of contemporaneity was meant to deconstruct the linear progressive time of modernity that dominated the 20th century. However, arrested within such perceptions of new spatio-temporal fluidities of “the contemporary” were the heterogeneous temporalities of decolonization and democratization in societies that had been negotiating the impacts and afterlives of empire and ideological conflicts of the Cold War across the long 20th century.

Today, we observe a certain “return of history” in calls for decolonization that have come to define militant imperialisms and nationalisms across the globe, as well as activist resistance to nation-statist hegemonies. The war in Ukraine, and continuing conflicts over postcolonial sovereignty across former colonial sites like Hong Kong, Kashmir, or Palestine reveal such circularities of eternal presents and resurfacing futures. These temporalities, while appealing to new calls for liberation, are nonetheless often dominated by nation-state driven essentialist past-orientedness and the wish to preserve the existing hegemony.

Our course will foreground the proposition that postcolonial and postsocialist societies of the past three decades can be approached as repositories of braided temporalities of struggle, affirmation, memorialization, and utopian horizons. We can encounter here new and alternate versions of contemporaneity that materialize the spectre of emancipatory history via aesthetic form and develop ways of engaging with the past that “resurface” futurity.


Symposium ‘Science, Superstition and the Supernatural: From the Gothic to the Present’ | Amsterdam, 2 February 2023. Organizers: Marijke Valk and Bart Mulderij (University of Groningen). 1 ECs.

A full description will be available in September.


Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers: Framen, schrappen en herschrijven | Utrecht, Semester 2 (exact dates to be confirmed). Organizer: Prof. Geert Buelens (Utrecht University). 3EC.

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.


Seminar ‘Contemporary Debates in Life Writing’ | Amsterdam, April – May 2023 (5 sessions). Organizers: Dr. Marleen Rensen (UvA) and Dr. Babs Boter (VU). 5 ECs.

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.


Symposium ‘Genre and Gender Bending in Trans* Literature’ | Groningen, 13 April 2023. Organizers: Dr Judith Jansma and Dr Jeanette den Toonder (University of Groningen). 1-2 ECs.

In this symposium we propose to examine the bending of gender and genre in recently published works of fiction written by trans* authors. The keynote lectures will present novel methodological frameworks and theoretical concepts for the analysis of such texts, allowing students to study their transcending character. During the panel round, several researchers in the Netherlands and beyond will be invited to talk about their current projects. During the workshop, we will study four texts in detail – applying the newly acquired knowledge and insights: Akwaeke Emezi, Dear Senthuran (2021); Andrea Lawlor, Paul takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (2017); Torrey Peters, Detransition Baby (2021); and Jordy Rosenberg, Confessions of the Fox (2018).

Different variants of the beyond-the-binary model will be explored as well as the concept of intersectionality as a basis for trans feminism, which concerns both trans-specific oppression and sexist oppression, as Emi Koyama has argued in “Whose Feminism Is It Anyway? The Unspoken Racism of the TransInclusion Debate” (2006). Finally, a reflection on the much-criticized “trapped in the wrong body discourse” will allow for an exploration of the bodily matter of sexual difference, as well as possible alternatives.


Seminar ‘Computational Literary Studies’ | Amsterdam / Online, April – May 2023. Organizer: Dr Karina van Dalen-Oskam. 3-6 ECs

The first part of the course explores the new horizons and possibilities as well as the limitations of computational approaches in literary studies. Several computational tools will be demonstrated such as concordance software that can be used for discourse analytical approaches and specialized R-scripts for authorship attribution and stylistic analysis. The questions to be addressed in the first four sessions of the seminar include: How can different authors be distinguished from each other using computational tools? In which ways do their writing styles exactly differ? What are the options for computer-assisted discourse analysis? What kinds of reasoning and logic play a role when computational tools are applied and what are their epistemological implications? How can we evaluate the results of the new methods and techniques? Each class, a new tool will be introduced and the students will learn the basics of their use hands-on.

The second part of the course is optional and more practical. In two workshop-like hands-on meetings students will conduct small research projects of their own. In this way, they will learn to use the computational tools themselves and gain practical experience with their possibilities and limitations. The research projects can be devoted to the cases presented in the first part of the course but also be proposed by the students themselves.


OSL PhD Day | June 2023.

More details will follow soon.


Hermes Summer School | Siena (Italy), June 2023.


Institute of World Literature Summer Program | Venue TBA, July 2023.