OSL Masterclass with Philipp Blom

Online event | 18 September 2020, 16:00-17:00 CEST

On Friday 18th of September, OSL will host an online masterclass by novelist and historian Philipp Blom, titled Need for a New Story: The Role of Academics and Artists in Narrating a Sustainable World. You are all cordially invited to join this event by clicking on this Google Meet link on Friday 18th at 16:00 (the virtual ‘room’ will open at 15:45). If you are interested in joining, please also make sure to register via this form; there is no deadline for registration, but this will help us reach out to you for any last-minute communication (should we need any).

Philipp Blom (Hamburg, 1970) is a historian, novelist, journalist, and translator. He studied in Vienna and Oxford and writes for several British, German and Dutch newspapers and journals, such as The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, Die Zeit, and Vrij Nederland.

In his latest book that just appeared, Het grote wereldtoneel: over de kracht van verbeelding in crisistijd (‘The great world stage: on the power of imagination in times of crisis’, the English translation is still forthcoming), Blom shows how the West is in crisis not despite peace and prosperity but because of it. Therefore, he believes, the struggle for the future is a struggle for a new grand narrative. In the quest for such a narrative, Blom positions himself in the tradition of thinkers who dared to offend human narcissism: Galileo Galilei, for example, who opted that the earth might not be the center of the universe, or Charles Darwin, who suggested that humankind might not be God’s equal, but the equal of apes.

The current coronacrisis has only fed the urgency of a new, sustainable and less narcissistic view of humankind. How should such a new grand narrative take shape? Who gets to tell it and how? What could be the role of literary and historical writers, and of us, young literary and history scholars, in its creation?
After a short introductory lecture by Blom, the floor will be opened to OSL members to participate in the q&a and subsequent discussion.
In order to prepare for the Masterclass and get acquainted with Blom’s style and ideas, you can watch this public lecture from 2018 (in English).

Please send an email to osl@rug.nl if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Judith Jansma and Kim Schoof (OSL PhD Representatives)


NB: The masterclass is also connected to Blom’s keynote lecture on ‘The State of European Literature’, which will take place in Amsterdam on the same day, 19:30-20:30 (more information here).

OSL is particularly grateful to Dr. Guido Snel (UvA) for his kind support during the preparation of this event.