OSL PhD Day ‘Literature and Community’: Full Program

Date: 7 June 2024 | Time: 10:00-18:00 | Venue: Leiden University (Lipsius Building 1.23) | Organizers: Sofía Forchieri (Radboud University) and María Isabel Marin Morales (University of Groningen) | Open to: PhDs and RMA students; OSL members have first access | Credits: 1 EC

Registration for this event opened on February 5th. Please register via THIS LINK.

NB: ReMA students are also welcome to sign up, and can obtain 1 EC from attending the event and submitting the assignments described below.

As previously announced, the upcoming OSL PhD day will take place at Leiden University, Lipsius Building 1.23 on Friday, 7 June 2024 (10:00-18:00). 

The day’s theme will be “Literature and Community.” The program will consist of a keynote lecture by Dr Leila Essa (Utrecht University) and two panels in which OSL PhDs will present their work in progress. The PhD day will close with a roundtable discussion on academic and non-academic career perspectives after the PhD featuring three guest speakers: Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort (policy officer at Radboud University), Dr Chunyan Shu (senior acquisitions editor at Brill), and Dr Leila Essa (assistant professor at Utrecht University).

Please find more details below:

10:00-10:15 Welcome and introduction

10:15-11:30 Keynote lecture Dr. Leila Essa “Publishing in Community: Contemporary Anthologies Against Exclusionary Discourses” + Q&A

11:30-12:00 Break

12:00-13:30 Panel session 1: “Literature at the Crossroads of Activism and Identity”

  • Marit van de Warenburg: “Memory and Identity in Literary Translation: The Contested Transmission of Amanda Gorman’s ‘The Hill We Climb’”
  • Anna Sofia Churchill: ”In-Group Collaboration in Postcolonial Contexts: Anthologies as a Tool for Community-(Re)building in the Face of Displacement”
  • Carla Stiekema: “Literature and activism: The women in the 19th century novel Barthold Meryan (1897)”
  • Q&A + panel discussion

13:30-14:30 Lunch

14:30-16:00 Panel session 2: “Literature at the Crossroads of Digital and Discursive Communities”

  • Yiming Wang: “Technology-Based Journey to Fanfiction: Chinese Fans’ Transgressive Participation in Global Fandoms under Online Censorship”
  • María Isabel Marín Morales: “Metaphors of Conflict and Peace: Analyzing Cultural Narratives in Colombia’s Truth Commission Report” 
  • Caro Suringar: “Exploring Existential Quests: Auto-socio-biographical Insights into Burnout Among Social Class Transitioners”
  • Q&A + panel discussion

16:00-16:15 Break

16:15-17:00 Roundtable discussion on career perspectives with Dr Suzanne van de Liefvoort (policy officer at Radboud University), Dr Chunyan Shu (senior acquisitions editor at Brill), and Dr Leila Essa (assistant professor at Utrecht University)

17:00-18:00 Closing remarks and drinks!


Assignment for 1 EC:

  1. Read the preparatory texts for Dr. Leila Essa’s lecture (see below), and send at least one question for the Q&A to osl@rug.nl before June 3rd, end of day.
  2. Write a conference report of 800-1000 words, in which you reflect on what interested you most about Dr. Essa’s talk (also in light of the preparatory readings), and/or what you learned from one or two of the other talks (possibly in connection with your own research interests). The report should be submitted to osl@rug.nl by Friday June 28th, end of day.


Preparatory readings:

  • Anamik Saha and Sandra van Lente, ‘Diversity, media and racial capitalism: a case study on publishing’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 45:16, 2022, 216-236, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2022.2032250
  • Nikesh Shukla, ‘Preface’ and ‘Editor’s Note’ to The Good Immigrant: 5th Anniversary Edition, 2021 (available via Google Books)
  • Fatma Aydemir and Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, ‘Foreword to the Collection’, Your Homeland is Our Nightmare, trans. by Jon Cho-Polizzi, 2021


Keynote Lecture Abstract

Dr Leila Essa (Utrecht University), ‘Publishing in Community: Contemporary Anthologies Against Exclusionary Discourses’

“I’m happy to create a brand new old boys’ network that circumvents the institutionalised ones we have to deal with on a daily basis”, Nikesh Shukla writes in the editor’s note to the 2016 anthology The Good Immigrant. “Because there is a secret cabal of people of colour, and contrary to the stereotypes we like to refute, we do all know each other.” The crowdfunded essay collection, which started as an idea on Twitter, showcases a collaborative approach between authors as much as between them and their (prospective) readers. Designed as an intervention into a British publishing industry that deems racialised writers a “risky investment” (Saha and van Lente, 2022), it went on to become a bestseller and directly inspired further anthologies for other Global North contexts: The Good Immigrant USA (2019), Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum (2019), and De Goede Immigrant (2020). These collections and subsequent collaborations (e.g. literary magazines) illustrate the pressing need to account for the specific conditions faced by authors from marginalised – and particularly migrant and “migrantised” ­– communities when rethinking the notion of literary ‘network intellectual[s]’ (Braun, 2016). This lecture examines the workings of such collaborative networks within and across literary scenes, focusing on the British and German contexts and probing transnational points of exchange. As it analyses the stakes and effects of authors from marginalised communities forming not-so-secret “cabals”, it also probes how such networks reflect on their own community-building processes and in-/exclusions and to what extent they translate their joint writing endeavours to joint political organising.