About our training programme

The OSL training programme is organised to provide young scholars, both PhD candidates and ReMA students, with state-of-the-art education in literary studies and to offer them opportunities to start building an academic and intellectual network. The programme utilizes and combines the expertise of senior OSL scholars and the contributing departments at various universities across the country. To both PhD candidates and ReMA students, the OSL training programme offers an opportunity to engage with current developments and debates in literary studies from an interdisciplinary perspective and to employ the acquired insights for their own research and academic development.

All OSL members and students are encouraged to contribute to the planning of the various activities in order to gain experience with the organisation of academic events and to be able to shape their training according to their specific needs. While the OSL training programme stimulates mutual contacts between PhD candidates and ReMA students, it also offers courses and other activities that are exclusively designed for each of these groups. The OSL core curriculum consists of the following annual events and seminars:

Ravenstein Seminar (Winter School)

PhD/ReMA; 5 EC

The Ravenstein Seminar is a three-day Winter School for that focuses current issues in literary and cultural studies and brings together senior researchers, PhD candidates and ReMA students in a collaborative and supportive context. The Ravenstein Seminar is organized by PhD candidates in cooperation with OSL staff members. Since 2014 the seminar is held annually in January of February at the University of Amsterdam. Previous editions include:

  • 2020: War, Literature and Law
  • 2019: Memory Studies and Materiality
  • 2018: Literature, Affect and Emotion
  • 2017: Ecocriticism: Literature & Environment
  • 2016: Cultural Hierarchies and Practices of Middlebrow Culture (Amsterdam)
  • 2015: Reading and Readerships: Evolutions of the Literary Experience (Amsterdam)
  • 2014: The Materiality of Literature (Amsterdam)
  • 2013: Writing Novels, Writing Lives, Writing Continents (Tilburg)
  • 2012: Literature in/and/of Crisis (Amsterdam)

OSL Seminars

PhD/ReMA; up to 5 EC

The OSL Seminar is an annual seminar for PhD candidates and ReMA students. It offers an in-depth exploration of a current topic or concept in literary studies in the form of a series of thematically integrated series of masterclasses with national and international experts in the field. The organization of the OSL Seminar is initiated by senior OSL staff members and carried out in cooperation with PhD students. Previous editions include:

  • 2019-20: Europe as Narrative; Literature between the State and the Market; Contemporary Debates in Life Writing
  • 2018-19: Contemporary Debates in Life Writing & Naming the World: Realism Travels the Globe
  • 2017-18: Literature & Diversity: New Approaches to the Study of Cultural Representation
  • 2016-17: The Spatial Turn and Beyond: New Perspectives on Literature and Space
  • 2015-16: Literature and Ethics
  • 2014-15: Poetics of Knowlegde
  • 2013-14: Fields, Graphs and Networks: New Sociologies of Literature (incl. sessions with James English, Christophe Verbruggen et al.; organization: Alex Rutten)
  • 2012-13: It’s All About Discourse: Discourse Analysis in Contemporary Literary Studies (incl. sessions with Hilde Staels, Nico Carpentier et al.; organization: Marieke Winkler & Marguérite Corporaal)

Please note that in recent years OSL regularly offers more than one Seminar for 5 EC each year!

OSL Skills Courses

PhD/ReMA, 2 to 6 EC

Besides thematically and conceptually framed Seminars, OSL offers a selection of skills courses that address various areas of academic and literary expertise. The course Computational Literary Studies provides an ‘ hands on’  introduction to the possibilities and limitations of digital approaches in literary studies. In the OSL Schrijfcursus voor geesteswetenschappers – Framen, schrappen en herschrappen participants can learn to effectively present their research to a larger, non-academic audience in essays, newspaper articles or audiovisual media. Finally, the creative writing course Poetics: A Practitioner’s Guide combines an exploration of creative writing as a discursive form and its history with creative writing workshops in which participants learn to use creative writing techniques as forms of artistic research and methodological inspiration.

PhD Workshops


PhD workshops are organized around the research projects of OSL PhD candidates. While their exact format varies, the workshops are designed at providing feedback from experts in the field an at creating a symposium-like interaction between PhD-candidates, OSL staff-members and guest speakers around topics that are of special interest for OSL doctoral students. Previous and forthcoming workshops include:

  • December 2020: Literature and the Social, with Prof. David Alworth (Harvard University). Organised by Jesse van Amelsvoort (Groningen/Campus Fryslân)
  • October 2020: Generalizations, Hypotheses, Evidence in Literary Studies, with prof. Andrew Piper (McGill University). Organised by Roel Smeets (Radboud).
  • June 2018: Comparison and (Post)Critique: Method and Engagement in Literary Studies (with prof. Rita Felski) Organised by Jesse van Amelsvoort and Ruby de Vos (Groningen)
  • June 2017: Literary Representations of Violence. Organised by Marileen la Haije & Christina Lammer (Amsterdam)
  • October 2016: Contemporaine Nederlandstalige poëzie. Organised by Kila van der Starre and Jeroen Dera (Nijmegen)
  • May 2016: Autobiografische tekst en context. Organised by Krina Huisman en Anne-Fleur van der Meer (Amsterdam)
  • November 2015: Kritiek en Wetenschap: Interacties tussen publieke en academische literatuurbeschouwing. Organised by Marieke Winkler (Nijmegen)

HERMES Seminar (Summer School)


The Hermes Seminar is an international Summer School for PhD candidates that takes place annually in June at one of the participating universities. It is organized by the Hermes Consortium for Literary and Cultural Studies, a collaboration of OSL with doctoral schools in Belgium (KU Leuven), the Czech Republic (Charles University, Prague), Denmark (Aarhus University), Finland (University of Helsinki), Germany (Justus Liebig University, Giessen), Great Britain (University College, London), Portugal (University of Lisbon), Spain (University of Santiago de Compostela) and the US (University of Wisconsin, Madison). Set up as an intensive workshop, the Hermes Seminar provides an opportunity for PhD students to present their research in an international context and get feedback from fellow PhD candidates and senior researchers from different backgrounds and universities. OSL PhD candidates are encouraged to participate in the Hermes summer school once during their dissertation period. Previous editions of the summer school include:

  • 2022: Hosts, Hospitals and Hospitalities: Notions, Images and Narratives of Hospitality in Literature, Culture and the Arts (University of Lisbon)
  • 2021: Space, Affect, Memory (University of Santiago de Compostela)
  • 2019: Passages: Metaphors, Narratives and Concepts (Rauischholzhausen/Giessen)
  • 2018: Vulnerability (University College London/Rome)
  • 2017: Literature and Art in Context (Aarhus University)
  • 2016: Contemporary Perspectives on Media and Genre Interactions (Leuven University)
  • 2015: Author, Authorship, and Authority in the Age of Cultural Studies and New Media (Charles University in Prague)
  • 2014: Reading Reconsidered: Histories, Practices, Materialities (University of Helsinki)
  • 2013: New Worlds, New Literatures, New Critiques (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • 2012: Literature and Intervention (University of Amsterdam)

Masterclasses, workshops, conferences etc.

PhD/ReMA, 1-2 EC

During the academic year, OSL typically organizes a number of masterclasses and workshops with international scholars and  guest speakers, often in conjunction with conferences held in The Netherlands. These events are announced on the OSL website and in the OSL newsletter.