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 complete programme available here.


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 here.


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

Leiden | 22-24 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)


Contemporary Debates in Life Writing

Amsterdam | 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 here.


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 here


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 here.


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

Utrecht | May 2020 | ECTS: 1-3

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 here.


Hermes Summer School 2020

Santiago de Compostela | 22-26 June 2020

More details here.


Institute of World Literature Summer Programme

Belgrade | 6-30 July 2020

More details here.