About our training programme

The OSL training programme is organised to provide young scholars, both PhD candidates and RMa 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 PhD candidates the OSL training program 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. RMa students are given the opportunity to participate in a challenging and inspiring set of courses and events in addition to their local programmes.

Both PhD candidates and RMa 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 RMa 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/RMa; 5 EC

The Ravenstein Seminar is a 2-3 day conference for all OSL members. It focuses on a current issue in literary and cultural studies and brings together senior researchers, PhD candidates and RMa 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:

2018: Literature, Affect and Emotion

2017: Ravenstein Seminar on Ecocriticism

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 Seminar

PhD/RMa; up to 5 EC

The OSL Seminar is an annual seminar for PhD candidates and RMa 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:

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)

PhD Newsroom


The Newsroom is the regular OSL PhD event for the discussion of research in progress, seminal theoretical texts and recent trends in literary studies. Each session is curated by two PhD students with related projects. They present their research and select a limited number of theoretical and secondary texts that they discuss with their fellow PhD students and a senior researcher in the field. The Newsroom takes place five times in each academic year. It is based on the commitment of the participants to share their work, ideas, questions and expertise within and beyond the scope of their own projects

OSL Electives

RMa; 5 to 12 EC

The OSL Electives are a set of RMa courses offered by OSL in cooperation with various departments of literary studies across the country. They reflect the specific orientation and expertise of the local RMa programmes and are connected to the focal areas of research at OSL (see Mission statement). For RMa students the OSL Electives provide an addition in terms of content and scholarly exchange to their local training programs and an opportunity to meet and study with scholars and students from other universities.

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:

2018: Vulnerability

2017: Literature and Art in Context

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)