Skin and Fuel: Two Episodes in the History of Fossilised Whiteness

Public Talk and Masterclass by Andreas Malm organized by the ASCA New Political Ecologies Seminar/ Joost de Bloois and Jeff DiamantiPublic Talk and Masterclass by Andreas Malm

Andreas Malm is currently a research fellow at Critical Theory in Berlin, based at the Humanities and Social Change Center, Humboldt University. In 2020, Verso will publish his How to Blow Up a Pipeline: Learning to Fight in a World on Fire, and White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism, written together with the Zetkin Collective.

Public Talk: ‘Skin and Fuel: Two Episodes in the History of Fossilised Whiteness’

March 12th 17:00-19:00 | Doelenzaal in the University of Amsterdam library | Kloveniersburgwal 87

From Sweden to Spain, Poland to the US, Germany to Brazil, recent years have witnessed a surging far right at just the moment of intensifying climate breakdown. This far right tends to deny the existence of any climate crisis and insist on maximum production and consumption of fossil fuels and other climate-destroying resources. At the same time, it positions itself as the defender of a racially defined nation – to all intents and purposes, the white nation. What are the historical sources of this configuration? Based on the book White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism, written by the Zetkin Collective and forthcoming from Verso in 2020, this lecture will hone in on two episodes in the history of fossilised whiteness: first, the imperial use of steam-power and its place in nineteenth-century racism; second, the articulation of race in the automobile in twentieth-century US and early twenty-first century Europe. The history of the links between whiteness and fossil fuels remains to be explored in depth. But scratching the surface of these two episodes suggests that the ongoing surge of an anti-climate, pro-fossil-fuel far right is bringing deep historical forces to the fore. The talk will also speculate on various possible scenarios of far-right politics in a rapidly warming world.

Masterclass: White Skin, Black Fuel

March 12th, 10-12:00 | VOC-Zaal, Bushuis (Kloveniersburgwal 48)

PhD and Masters students are invited to a two-hour masterclass on Malm’s forthcoming book, White Skin, Black Fuel: On The Danger of Fossil Fascism (co-written with the Zetkin Collective). Readings available upon request.

Co-hosted by Spui25, the ASCA Political Ecologies Seminar, and the Environmental Humanities Centre (Vrije University)

Funded PhD Position at ASCA

ASCA ( is one of the six research schools/institutes under the aegis of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research ( Each research school/institute covers an important research area within the faculty and has its own research programme. ASCA is home to more than 110 researchers and 120 PhD candidates, and is a world-leading research school in Cultural Analysis. ASCA members share a commitment to studying culture in all its forms and expressions within an interdisciplinary framework, and to maintaining a close connection with contemporary cultural and political debates.

Research schools are the home base for PhD candidates, who interact with each other and with senior members in the research groups that make up the research school (for ASCA’s research constellations, network groups and research seminars & reading groups, see:

Project Description

We invite proposals that resonate with ASCA’s research mission ( and that link to one or more of ASCA’s research constellations  ( We are especially interested in proposals engaging the Global South.

The tasks of the selected PhD candidate will include:

  • Completion and defence of a PhD thesis within the contract period;
  • Regular presentation of intermediate research results at workshops and conferences;
  • Participation in the ASCA and Faculty of Humanities PhD training programmes;
  • Teaching courses at BA-level in the 2nd and 3rd year of the appointment (0,2 FTE per year)


  • A completed Master’s degree in a field relevant to the proposed PhD project and the research areas of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. You may apply if you have not yet completed your Master’s degree only if you provide a signed letter from your supervisor stating that you will graduate before 1 September 2020.
  • Excellent command of English.
  • Excellent research skills.

Further Information

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Eloe Kingma via


The PhD candidate at the Faculty of Humanities will be appointed within the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. The appointment will be for 4 years for 1,0 FTE (including 0,2 FTE teaching in the 2nd and 3rd years of the appointment) under the terms of employment currently valid for the Faculty. Initially, a contract will be given for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months on the basis of a positive evaluation after 12 months. The starting date of the contract is 1 September 2020.

The salary for the position (based on a full-time appointment) will be € 2,325 during the first year (gross per month) and will reach € 2,972 during the fourth year, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

The PhD candidate receives a tuition fee waiver and has free access to courses offered by ASCA, the Graduate School of the Faculty of Humanities and the Dutch National Research Schools.

Job Application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

AIHR wants to improve the diversity of its academic community with respect to ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class. Applications that contribute to this are particularly encouraged.

Your application should include the following:

  1. Your curriculum vitae, listing at least:
    • Full address and contact details
    • Previous education
    • Professional information (previous university (or relevant) employment)
    • Language proficiency
    • Grants/honours
    • Conference presentations and publications, if applicable
  2. A list of grades (transcript) obtained for your Master (or equivalent) programme; at this stage a certified document is not yet necessary
  3. A research proposal of no more than 800 words with the following elements:
    • An outline of central issue/problem/question (why)
    • Object(s) of research (what)
    • Methodology (how)
    • How your research fits the programme of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (e.g. link to specific constellations/network groups within ASCA)
  4. Motivation for doing PhD research (no more than 200 words)
  5. The name of a potential supervisor for your PhD project who is a staff member of ASCA (check You are encouraged to contact the staff member whom you have listed as your prospective supervisor to discuss your plans before applying formally.
  6. The name and contact details of one or two academic referees
  7. A writing sample, such as a project paper or chapter of a master’s thesis, of up to 10,000 words maximum.

Please supply this information in the order given above and submit your full application as one PDF file, using your surname followed by your initials as the file name, via the link on the Vacancies Site. Please note that your application will not be taken into consideration if you send multiple files, and/or if your application is late and/or incomplete.

The deadline for applications is 31 March, 12:00 (noon, CET).


Listening to the Social: Acoustemology and Transduction

Listening to the Social: Acoustemology and Transduction

NICA Masterclass with Jennifer Hsieh (University of Michigan)

For: (research) master students / PhD candidates

Date: Friday, 8 May 2020
Time: 10:00-12:00
Location: University Library (Potgieterzaal), Singel 425, Amsterdam

In a 2015 essay on “Hearing,” Jonathan Sterne calls upon sound scholars to begin “without the automatic assumption that we have . . . direct access to the sonic world,”  and, instead, begin with “hearing the hearing of others” (Keywords in Sound, 74). This workshop will explore anthropological methods to “hearing the hearing of others,” in terms of sound, technology, and human sociality, with a particular focus on the concepts of acoustemology and transduction.

The workshop will consider different ways of hearing and listening in the formation of ever-changing social worlds, as well as concrete methodologies for the social analysis of sound. Workshop participants will use their own faculties to engage with the sonic environment in an effort to articulate new phenomena for scholarly analysis. The workshop will include an ears-on exploration of city sounds in Amsterdam.

Preparatory reading:

– Feld, Steven. “Listening to Histories of Listening: Collaborative Experiments in Acoustemology with Nii Otoo Annan.” Musical Listening in an Age of Technological Reproducibility. Ed. Gianmario Borio. Farnham/Burlington: Ashgate, 2015. 91-103.

– Helmreich, Stefan. “Transduction.” Keywords in Sound. Ed. David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny. Durham, CD: Duke University Press, 2015. 223–29.

– Rice, Tom. “The Origins of Acoustemology.” The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Ed. Hilary Callan. London: Wiley, 2018. 1-7.

– Henriques, Julian. “Sonic Diaspora, Vibrations, and Rhythm: Thinking through the Sounding of the Jamaican Dancehall Session.” African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal 1.2 (2008): 215–36.

Dr. Jennifer Hsieh is an LSA Collegiate Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University of Michigan. She investigates the standardization of sensory perception by way of institutional practices and technological devices. Her current book project, From Festival to Decibel, is a study of the scientific, bureaucratic, and audiovisual practices underlying the production of environmental noise from early twentieth-century Taiwan to the present. She received her PhD in anthropology from Stanford and has previously held research fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Vossius Center at University of Amsterdam, and Fairbank Center at Harvard.


Absence in Cinema: Naomi Uman and the Peekaboo Principle

Absence in Cinema: Naomi Uman and the Peekaboo Principle

Lecture and Masterclass by Justin Remes (Iowa State University), Amsterdam 14 May 2020.

14 May, 15.00 – 18.00 OMHP  E 2.01

Abstract: To create her 1999 film removed, Naomi Uman used nail polish and bleach to erase the women from a German pornographic film of the 1970s. While spectators of removed still hear women moaning orgasmically and delivering sexually charged lines of dialogue, these women are no longer visible, as they have been replaced by unstable and jittery white holes. In this talk, I argue that removed foregrounds the centrality of both scopophilia (the pleasure derived from looking) and phonophilia (the pleasure derived from hearing) in the cinematic encounter. I also argue that removed exploits what the neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran has called “the peekaboo principle,” a psychological mechanism that leads humans to find images more enticing when they are hidden from view.

Bio: Justin Remes is an assistant professor of film studies at Iowa State University. He is the author of Motion(less) Pictures: The Cinema of Stasis (Columbia UP, 2015) and Absence in Cinema: The Art of Showing Nothing (forthcoming from Columbia UP). He has also written articles for JCMS: The Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Cinema Journal, and Screen. His current book project is a work of experimental scholarship entitled Found Footage Films.

Media | Art | Politics:  Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care

Media | Art | Politics:  Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care

MAP will continue this semester as a series of soirées: three reading sessions in which we will be reading, integrally, the following three books:

  • 17 February: Lauren Berlant’s Cruel Optimism (Duke UP 2011)
  • 16 March: Jack Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP 2011)
  • 20 April: Maria Puig de Bellacasa’s Matters of Care (Minnesota UP 2017).

Offering a radical reframing of the concepts of optimism, failure, and care, these books converge in that they meet the ongoing crisis of our current, transitional, moment (in both the humanities and society at large) heads on. “[T]o attend to the terms of transition is to forge imaginaries to manage the meanwhile,” Berlant writes. As such, we expect, these books to offer nothing less of a “healing reading”: a way of coping and bargaining with what is there.

Sessions will take place on Monday evenings from 17.00 till 19.00 in Lipsius 208 (Leiden University). Places are limited, registration is required. To register, please send a message with your affiliation and commitment to the organizers before the 5th of February. In order to optimally profit from our collective reading, we expect the participants to commit to be present and read the material for all three sessions. Research MA students can earn 2 ecs by participating.

The MAP Soirées on Optimism, Failure and Care are funded NICA (Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis), and LUCAS (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society). They are organized and will be led by Pepita Hesselberth ( and Yasco Horsman (