OSL Workshop: From Crisis to Critique: Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes

ONLINE, 4-5 March 2021 | 13:30-16:00 and 17:00-18:30 + evening film programme (March 4th); 14:00-16:00 and 17:00-18:30 (March 5th) | Organizers: Prof. Dr. Maria Boletsi (Leiden/UvA), Dr. Liesbeth Minnaard (UvA) and Dr. Janna Houwen (Leiden) | 1-2 EC | Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access

Registration opened October 28th. NB: This link is only valid for ReMA/PhD students and for OSL members. If you do not fall into either category, please register via this link.


Today, the term crisis is often ‘hijacked’ by far-right, xenophobic, and anti-democratic agendas that shrink the space of political choice and the imagination of alternative futures. In this workshop we ask if there are ways to salvage crisis as a concept that can do the work of its cognate—critique—and participate in the articulation of alternative languages, literary narratives, and other modes of representation in visual, digital and social media, cinema, and art.

Our rethinking of crisis and critique will take shape through the prism of a region that has become the epicenter of various declared crises in recent years: the Mediterranean. By rethinking contemporary Mediterranean crisis-scapes, we will probe interconnections between new languages of resistance, protest, transformation, and futurity emerging primarily from literary, artistic, and other forms of cultural expression and political activism in the region, both in physical spaces and on the web. Aim of the workshop is to explore how we can move from crisis to critique; from crisis as a restrictive framework to crisis as a form of critique that triggers alternative interpretations of the present and mobilizes these as occasions for social and historical change in Mediterranean societies and beyond.


Workshop Program


Thursday 4 March 2021


13.30: Checking in

13.45: Welcome and introduction

14.00 – 16.00: Panel discussion “From Crisis to Critique”

With contributors to the volume Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique:

  • Ipek Çelik Rappas, Koç University, Istanbul & Diego Benegas Loyo, National University of General San Martín, Buenos Aires
  • Geli Mademli, University of Amsterdam
  • Liesbeth Minnaard, Leiden University
  • Dimitris Papanikolaou, Oxford University

Chaired by Maria Boletsi and Janna Houwen, Leiden University

16.00 – 17.00: Break

17.00 – 18.30: Keynote lecture by Nilgün Bayraktar (California College of the Arts, USA):

Refugee Futurity: From Perpetual Crisis to Critical Dystopia in Contemporary Film and Video Art

Respondent: Julian Ross, Leiden University

20.00: Film program organized in cooperation with Leiden Shorts


Friday 5 March 2021

14.00-16.00: Master Class for RMA & PhD students by Stijn De Cauwer, KU Leuven, Belgium

For more information see below, registration through OSL

16.00 – 17.00: Break

17.00-18.30: Keynote lecture by Nicholas De Genova (University of Houston, USA):

Viral Borders

Respondent: Leo Lucassen, Leiden University



The lectures and panel discussion are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Participation in the OSL Master Class with Stijn De Cauwer (Friday 5 March 2021, 14.00-16.00) is restricted to Research MA students and PhD candidates. RMA and PhD students who wish to earn 1 or 2 EC credits by actively preparing, participating and contributing to the workshop should register through OSL (please see link above). OSL members will have first access to the master class.


RMA and PhD students can acquire 1 or 2 EC credits by:

  • Attending all four parts of the workshop (the film program is highly recommended, but not obligatory)
  • Reading a set of theoretical texts related to the workshop theme that will be circulated in advance (for 1 EC: the required readings for the Masterclass; for 2 EC: all below-mentioned texts)
  • Formulating a number of questions for reflection in response to the readings. These are sent to Stijn De Cauwer in advance of the Masterclass and will be used as food for discussion during the meeting.
  • Actively participating in discussions during the Masterclass.
  • Writing a position paper on one of the topics discussed during the panel discussion (length of the paper for 1 EC: 600–800-words, for 2 EC: 1400-1600 words; deadline 12 March 2021). Students who want to earn 2 EC are required to critically reflect on (at least two of) the articles by the participants in the panel discussion in their paper.
  • Instructions regarding the position paper: Participants should reflect on at least two articles presented during the panel, and ideally also on aspects of the discussion during the panel. “Position paper” suggests that they should not only summarize / present the argument(s) but also position themselves vis-á-vis the argument(s) they engage with, reflect (critically) on them or (if they want) connect them to their own work and research interests. They are free to pick the specific angle of the paper, also based on their specific interests, as long as they engage with the overall themes and problematics of the panel (and workshop). They are also welcome to reflect on other parts of the workshop, if they wish.


Preparatory readings (NB: More details will be provided to all registered participants closer to the date of the event)


For the masterclass:


Stijn De Cauwer (ed.), Critical Theory at a Crossroads: Conversations on Resistance in Times of Crisis. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

– “Introduction: Resistance in a Time of Crisis,” pp. xi-xxxviii.

– “The History of the Notion of Crisis: Interview with Joseph Vogl,” pp. 61-74.


Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard (eds.), Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique. London: Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society), 2020.

– Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard, first part of the “Introduction: From Crisis to Critique,” pp. 1-12.


Franz Kafka, “The Great Wall of China.” Selected Short Stories by Franz Kafka. New York: The Modern Library, 1993, pp. 136-155.



For the panel discussion:

The chapters in Maria Boletsi, Janna Houwen and Liesbeth Minnaard (eds.), Languages of Resistance, Transformation, and Futurity in Mediterranean Crisis-Scapes. From Crisis to Critique (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) that were written by the participants in the panel discussion:

– Ipek Çelik Rappas & Diego Benegas Loyo, “In Precarity and Prosperity: Refugee Art Going Beyond the Performance of Crisis,” pp. 63-79.

– Geli Mademli, “Moving Images, Moving Archives: Fracturing the Crisis in Interactive Greek Documentaries,” pp. 231-248.

– Liesbeth Minnaard, “Lampedusa in Europe; or Touching Tales of Vulnerability,” pp. 145-162.

– Dimitris Papanikolaou, “Greek Weird Wave; Or, on How to Do a Cinema of Biopolitics,” pp. 209-230.