John Lysaker & Paul Lysaker: Disordered Self


Thinking Through the Disordered Self: New Directions in the Dialogue between The Arts, Psychiatry and The Humanities

Two public lectures on art, self-experience and mental illness, by John Lysaker and Paul Lysaker

Registration required: please register by email through:
May 31st, 19:00-22:00, VOC hall, Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam

There is a long tradition of dialogue between the domain of the arts, the humanities and psychiatry – ranging from phenomenological approaches to mental illness, through narrative and creative therapy, to the medical humanities and neurophilosophy. After all, one of the fundamental questions of the humanities – what is it to be human? – often leads to questions about the self, mind and consciousness, and about what happens if these are affected by mental illness. With the current fascination for forms of ‘self-management’, ‘self-care’, or ‘self-direction’ in both psychosomatic medicine and psychiatry, the dialogue between the humanities and mental healthcare has shifted to the topic of ‘the self’ once again. How can we approach self-experience, and how can we understand the disordered self? What are the conceptual and existential challenges of taking care of (or managing and directing) this disordered self? What can the humanities – or art and literature – tell us about mental illness, and how can we further develop theories of the self by building on experiences from clinical practice? During this special event, John Lysaker, Professor  of Philosophy, and Paul Lysaker, Psychiatrist and Professor of Clinical Psychology, will tackle these and other questions. The event is bound to be of great interest to all master, research master, PhD students and academic staff members with interest in specifically psychiatry, (neuro)philosophy, psychology, narratology, literary studies, aesthetics, phenomenology, and art theory.


19:00-19:40 Prof. John Lysaker: What Art Asks of Us

19:40-20:00 Q&A

20:00-20:40 Prof. Paul Lysaker: The Relevance of the Humanities to Clinical Practice

20:40-21:00 Q&A

Paul H. Lysaker is a clinical psychologist at the Roudebush VA Medical Center and a professor of clinical psychology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, department of psychiatry, Indianapolis Indiana. He received his doctorate in Psychology from Kent State University in 1991. His research interests include the psychological processes that affect recovery from serious mental illness, alterations in consciousness in disorders such as schizophrenia and the development of long term forms of psychotherapy focused on enhancing wellness for adults with psychosis. He is an author of over 330 peer reviewed papers on these and related subjects.

John Lysaker is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. His work concerns human flourishing and whatever facilitates or frustrates its emergence. He works in philosophical psychology, the philosophy of art, and social philosophy, and primarily from the traditions of hermeneutic phenomenology, critical social theory, and American romanticism. He is the author of Poetry and the Birth of Sense (2002), Emerson & Self-Culture (2008) and the co-author, with Paul Lysaker, of Schizophrenia and the Fate of the Self (2008). Current projects include Where Do We Find Ourselves: Essays After Emerson, and Dear Glaucon: Finding Our Bearings with Artworks.

This workshop is an initiative of Gaston Franssen (University of Amsterdam) and Stefan van Geelen (University Medical Center Utrecht/Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital). In February-March 2017, they organized the interdisciplinary MA/RMA research tutorial ‘What Is It Like To Be A Patient: Stories in Medicine, Psychology and The Humanities’; for more information, follow this link; for a video impression of the tutorial, please follow this link as well as this link. The workshop is co-funded by the NWO research project “Management of the Self: a Humanities Approach to Self-Management in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine”, carried out at the Radboud University Nijmegen, the University Medical Center Utrecht, the VU University Amsterdam, the Dimence Mental Healthcare Group and the University of Amsterdam. For more information, please email: Gaston Franssen ( or Stefan van Geelen (

Fashion and National Identity

The Research Institute CLUE+, the Department of Arts & Culture, History and Antiquity, and the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis cordially invite you to the afternoon seminar ‘Fashion and National Identity’ organized by Dr. Javier Gimeno-Martínez (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Prof. Dr. Anneke Smelik (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen), which will be held on Monday June 19, 2017, from 13:00 – 17:00 hrs. at Room 13A-33 (VU Main building, 13th floor).

‘Fashion and National Identity’

Date: June 19, 2017
Time: 13:00 to 17:00 (including reception)
Place: Lecture theater 13A-33, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Main building
Registration: There is no seminar fee, but you have to register for the conference. Registration deadline: June 12, 2017

The central question of this seminar is the relation between fashion and national identity. Clothes have served in different ways to represent a nation, often in ambiguous and paradoxical ways. But what connects clothes to a nation:  the designer’s nationality, the production of clothes, or what people wear? Historians, cultural scholars, museum curators and journalists reflect on how clothes reproduce, shape and question national identity.


13.00-13.10 Introduction by Anneke Smelik and Javier Gimeno-Martínez

13.10-13.30 Javier Gimeno-Martínez (VU)

‘Index, symbol, performance: connecting fashion and nation’

13.30-13.50 Sophie Elpers (Meertens Institute)

‘In search of the vernacular: a short introduction on national sentiments and everyday culture between the 19th and the 21st century’

13.50-4.10 Maaike Feitsma (AMFI-HvA)

‘Dressed in clogs and denim: branding the Dutch nation’

14.10-14.40 Discussion

14.40-15.00 COFFEE BREAK

15.00-15.20 Anneke Smelik (RU Nijmegen)

‘The paradoxes of Dutch fashion: local, global and glocal’

15.20-15.40 Madelief Hohé (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

‘Secret stories on Dutch Fashion from the Museum Archives: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’

15.40-16.00 Milou van Rossum (modejournaliste)

‘A short history of five successful modern Dutch garments’

16.00-16.30 Discussion

16.30-17.00 DRINKS



PhD Work in Progress

Date: Friday, June 9
Time: 14:00-17:30, followed by drinks
Place: University of Amsterdam, Humanities Faculty, Bushuis (Kloveniersburgwal 48), room F0.21

In preparation of drinks and fingerfood, NICA PhDs Thijs Witty, Olga Krasa-Ryabets, Jan Overwijk, Florian Goettke, and Sandra Becker present work in progress. Yolande Jansen and Murat Aydemir reflect on Cultural Studies ‘now.’ Everyone is invited.



Thijs Witty
PhD project: Essayism at the Dusk of Catastrophe: Limit Experience, Subjectivity, Form
Title: [draft] “Yvonne Rainer’s Immanence”

I would like to share a first draft of my dissertation coda about the American choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer.
In the early 1970s Yvonne Rainer resolved an intense intellectual crisis by turning away from minimalist, collaborative group choreography and towards essayistic film making. This shift has been widely discussed in academic and artistic circles, as well as by Rainer herself, but little has been made of the particular novelties and resolutions that this transition of medium made possible. Questions Rainer had struggled with include: How to acknowledge increasingly complex social realities with minimalistically choreographed bodies? How to be responsible if leadership has imploded in most of my artistic surroundings? And how to destroy the privileges that have brought me here by keeping others out?
If Rainer turned to essay films as a response to these questions, I want to know if and how she thereby resolved them. The coda is basically a final case study, neither conclusive nor meant to neatly exemplify the arguments that have preceded it. It should instead become a demonstration in miniature of how my basic argument both works and falters.
Over the past three years I have studied a variety of essayists and essayistic motivations. I was specifically interested in the way essay writers reflect on the compositional efficacy of their chosen genre. The main thesis I have been testing is that essayistic composition allows for precision in areas of human experience that cannot be measured by more conventional means, such as scientific method or reportorial objectivity. I have defined these experiences in terms of crisis: troubling states that require the invention of new measures in order to be surpassed.

Sandra Becker
PhD Project: Fathers of the Nation: White Masculinities and Fatherhood in Contemporary US-American TV Series (2001-2015)

I would like to take the chance to present the introduction to my PhD thesis on “Fathers of the Nation: White Masculinities and Fatherhood in Contemporary U.S.-American TV Series (2001-2015)”.
Until now, I have already written four draft versions, yet, I am not happy with any of them. Although I have been told various times that an introduction should be written when finishing the book, my thoughts always revolve around the question of how I can create an overarching narration that links the different chapters and would thus also help me to get a clearer idea of where the project is going.
Hence, instead of considering my project’s relation to Cultural Studies, I would like to discuss with the others already made choices and remaining uncertainties in the latest version of my introduction.

Olga Krasa-Ryabets
PhD Project: Secret Theatre: Off-the-grid Performance Practices in Socialist Poland and Czechoslovakia

Jan Overwijk
PhD project: Post-rationalisation: Openness in Contemporary Social Organisation
Title of work-in-progress: Retrieving the Critical in Niklas Luhmann’s Systems Theory

In this presentation, I would like to discuss my attempt to bring together two persuasions in social philosophy that are usually seen as mutually exclusive: critical theory and Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory.
Niklas Luhmann was a German sociologists who developed a theory of society on the basis of a notion of complex, open systems. For Luhmann, modern society is differentiated into a plurality of incommensurable function systems, like science, politics, law, the economy, and so on. Luhmann views critical theory as misguided, even childish and ‘simply embarrassing’. This is so mainly for two reasons. Firstly, Luhmann denies a phenomenon central to critical theory: the domination of economic rationality in society. For Luhmann, all social subsystems are equal and none of them can dominate others. Secondly, systems theory disallows for any normative-emancipatory claims regarding the social world because, according to Luhmann, the good and the true belong to different systems (politics and science). Luhmann thus rejects the notion that social critique could sensibly take place within sociology.
I argue that on both accounts, Luhmann makes the same logical error: a non-sequitur. From the formal equality of the various function systems, he infers that no system can take on dominance within the ecosystem of systems (‘ecological dominance’); from the formal equality of perspectives in the social world, he infers that no perspective can be dominant and, consequently, no perspective can be critical.

Florian Goettke
PhD project: Burning Images: Performing Effigies as Political Protests

The title of my PhD is “Burning Images – performing effigies as political protest”, and I am in the last phase of my trajectory, trying to finish the writing until the end of the year.
I would like to give first an overview over my complete dissertation with a short description of each chapter. Chapter 3 provides a general description of the practice to burn or hang effigies in political protests in relation to performance. In Chapters 4 and 5, I develop in two case studies the genealogy of the practice in the United States in relation to power and resistance, and the Middle East in relation to cross-cultural communication. Chapter 6 relates the effigies to images of sovereign power. In Chapter 7, I discuss the operations of resemblance and the grotesque in relation to truth.
Following, I would like to present and discuss a first draft of my last chapter, where I try to tie together the strands I opened in the previous chapters. I will relate the grotesque aesthetics of the performances to laughter and violence and propose that the employment of this archaic image practice could hint to the edges and failures of democratic systems of governance.

Yolande Jansen is senior researcher and lecturer at the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies and the department of philosophy of the UvA. Since September 2012, Yolande is also Special Professor for the Socrates-foundation at VU University, where she holds the chair for ‘humanism in relation to religion and secularity’.

Murat Aydemir is associate professor in Literary and Cultural Analysis and director of NICA.

Stuart Elden: Urban Territory, Early Foucault

Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of seven books, including works on territory, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger, and Henri Lefebvre. He is currently working on a study of territory in Shakespeare’s plays; on the concept of terrain; on Lefebvre’s writings on rural issues; and the very early Foucault.

1)  Reading Session: Urban Territory

Time: Tuesday, 23 May 2017, 15:00-17:00
Location: room C.123, Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 (OMHP)
Registration: PhD candidates and RMA students can register by email before 18 May via
Credits: 2 ECTS for reading preparation and active participation
NOTE: The reading session is fully booked; you can send us an e-mail if you want to be on the waiting list.

For any other questions, please contact Carolyn Birdsall (

Reading Preparation

  • Brenner, Neil. “Theses on Urbanization.” Public Culture 25.1 (2013): 85-114.
  • Elden, Stuart. “Territory/Territoriality.” In: Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies (forthcoming).
  • Angelo, Hillary, and David Wachsmuth. “Urbanizing Urban Political Ecology: A Critique of Methodological Cityism.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39.1 (2015): 16-27.

2) Public Lecture: The Early Foucault and the Politics of European Intellectual History

Time: Wednesday, 31 May 2017, 17:00 – 19:00
Location: University Library, Singel 425, Doelenzaal

This lecture by ACCESS EUROPE Visiting Scholar Stuart Elden reports on a project tracing the intellectual history of Foucault’s History of Madness out of earlier work on the history of psychology and psychiatry.

It therefore focuses on his largely unknown work in the 1950s. In particular it discusses three themes. First, Foucault’s student years in Paris, where he attended lectures by people including Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean Beaufret and Jean Hyppolite as well as, a little later, the early seminars of Jacques Lacan. Second his role as a co-translator of two texts – Ludwig Binswanger’s ‘Traum und Existenz’ and Viktor von Weizsâcker’s Der Gestaltkreis. His role is bringing these Swiss and German works into French is underappreciated. The introduction to Binswanger is quite well known, but his role in the translation itself – which was credited to Jacqueline Verdeaux alone – is underexplored. His co-translation of von Weizsâcker, with Daniel Rocher, is sometimes referenced but unexamined.

There is an important, and disturbing, political context to this work. Finally the lecture will discuss Foucault’s role as director of the Maison de France in Uppsala between 1955 and 1958. It was in Uppsala that Foucault undertook much of the research for the History of Madness, though he was unable to get it accepted as a thesis there. Drawing links between France, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden, this lecture indicates the European context of the formation of Foucault’s work.



Videocontemplation, with Lata Mani and Nicolás Grandi

Film Screening and Masterclass with Lata Mani and Nicolás Grandi organized by Sudha Rajagopalan hosted by NICA and ASCA

23 May, 10-12.30
Screening, discussion, Q&A (Open for public, along with participants of masterclass, for whom it is compulsory).
Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis, VOC zaal
Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam
Moderator: Jaap Kooijman.

Screening of Nicolás Grandi & Lata Mani, The Poetics of Fragility, 2016, 63 mins.

The Poetics of Fragility, Nicolás Grandi & Lata Mani, A Transmedia Project 2016 Film Artist Book Website

The Poetics of Fragility (HD 63 minutes) is a kaleidoscopic bilingual exploration of the texture, vitality and aesthetics of fragility. It interweaves stories of bodily frailty with optical vignettes of nature’s delicacy to reclaim fragility as intrinsic to existence, not something to be bemoaned or overcome.

Shot in the San Francisco Bay Area and Buenos Aires the film features internationally renowned scholar-activist Angela Davis, the acclaimed playwright and critic Cherrie Moraga, Nora Cortiñas, the inspiring founding member of Madres de Plaza de Mayo Linea Fundadora, actor-dancer Greg Manalo, feminist performance artists Thao P. Nguyen and Martha Rynberg, theater scholar Jisha Menon, healer Christopher Miles, creative writer Xochitl M. Perales, actor María Laura Cáccamo and the young trombone talent, Jasim Perales.

The Poetics of Fragility is conceived as a “videocontemplation;” a form that Nicolás Grandi and Lata Mani have been developing to explore the audiovisual medium as a sensuous tool for social inquiry with a philosophical impulse. The visually arresting and formally plural film unfolds through stories that build on and amplify each other. Moments of emotional intensity alternate with speculative calm, dramatic narration with poetry and critical inquiry into prevailing understandings of fragility.

The artist book – script, process notes, critical essays, artistic responses – extends the film’s poetics and preoccupations in print duration. It is conceived as a pedagogical artifact and aesthetic project in its own right. The website is imagined as a community platform that will host the film, supporting materials and curated creative responses to the film, sonic, graphic, audiovisual, literary.

“The Poetics of Fragility is a subtle and tender message of our condition as humans…an embrace of poetic contemplation on the nature of suffering. Wonderful work!” Lourdes Portillo, Academy Award winning filmmaker

Trailer @:

Nicolás Grandi 

is a Buenos Aires based filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and educator. He has been teaching film theory and practice in universities, schools and community workshops in Argentina and India and has cofounded several collectives working at the intersection of film, poetry, music and sculpture. He currently runs transdisciplinary art labs. His films which include La Pasión Según Ander (2005) and Simon Decouvre (2000) have been screened widely at film festivals around the world.

Lata Mani 

is a feminist historian, cultural critic, contemplative writer and filmmaker. She has published on a broad range of issues, from feminism and colonialism, to illness, spiritual philosophy and contemporary politics.  She is the author of The Integral Nature of Things: Critical Reflections on the Present (Routledge, 2013), Interleaves: Ruminations on Illness and Spiritual Life (Yoda, 2011), Sacred Secular: Contemplative Cultural Critique, (Routledge, 2009) and Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (University of California Press, 1989).

Previous film collaborations between Nicolás Grandi and Lata Mani: Here-Now (2012); Nocturne I and Nocturne II (2013); De Sidere 7 (2014); The Earth on its Axis, We in our Skin: The Tantra of Embodiment (2015). More at


Master Class (1 ECTS) with Lata Mani and Nicolás Grandi organized by Sudha Rajagopalan hosted by NICA and ASCA

24 May 2017 10-1 pm.
Bushuis/Oost-Indisch Huis – VOC zaal
Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam

Can the camera be a tool for philosophical inquiry? How might mystery be restored to word and image in context of the transactional instrumentalism that characterizes neoliberal excess? What forms and genres facilitate an opening out of perception?  Given the simultaneous avowal and disavowal of matter and of embodiment in our time what might we propose as constituting a hermeneutic of the senses, or to put it another way, an aesthetics of the sensible?

In this seminar, we reflect on our collaborative experiments with art as a philosophical practice of sociocultural inquiry. Our work together began with videopoems (Here-Now, Nocturne I & II) then developed into a form we name “videocontemplation.” More recently it has expanded to include transmedia transcreations of our videocontemplations; first as filmmakers’ artist books (De Sidere 7 & The Poetics of Fragility) and more recently as a web-based exploration also ( Working with the same material in several mediums has challenged us to think about montage and temporality in context of each iteration and as well the varying relations of image/text/spectator/reader proposed by the work in its different forms. Questions of sense perception have always been central to our consideration. Cross-media experiments have expanded the formal possibilities open to us in deepening our engagement with the kaleidoscopic nature of perception as an evolving, non-uniform and plural process of sense-making. The readings assigned for the seminar trace our thinking and process. Copies of the artist books will be available at the session for perusal.

The seminar is conceived as an interactive session in which participants will be actively engaged. We encourage participants to bring questions from their own research as they pertain to the issues posed by the materials.

Introduction 20 minutes; Screening of De Sidere 7 (38 minutes); short break; discussion.

In order to earn 1 EC participants should attend the Master Class, the screening of The Poetics of Fragility and the following readings:

  • Lata Mani, “Writing the Present,” Economic and Political Weekly, December 5 2015, 24-27. The videopoems discussed in the article can also been seen at
  • Rosa Linda Fregoso, “As if I were touching the film with my eyes, with my whole body,” Nicolás Grandi and Lata Mani, De Sidere 7, 2015, 79-80.
  • Nicolás Grandi and Lata Mani, Invitation to a Screening: De Sidere 7, Nicolás Grandi and Lata Mani, De Sidere 7, 2015, 92-97.
  • All the material on (especially project description, process notations; synergies textual, sonic, visual and dialogical)

Registration: Please register for the masterclass by sending an e-mail to Eloe Kingma at, including your program and affiliation.