The Poetics and Politics of Sharing

The Poetics and Politics of Sharing

Alok Vaid-Menon and Bini Adamczak in an Online Masterclass Tandem

14 May 2020, 1600 (CEST), Zoom

There are many aspects of sharing and ways in which we can share: Affect, stories, words can be shared; experience can be shared; instagram posts can be shared; property, power, labor can be shared. Sometimes, something supposedly shared is said to legitimize a community, sometimes sharing actually creates community. Sharing often has a ring of harmony to it. But sharing means always already to divide, and questions of sharing are questions of distribution.

This workshop is interested in the poetics and politics of sharing as community formation: both online and offline, and in terms of affective and linguistic, as well as political and economic sharing. Alongside questions of solidary community building beyond the one-for-all or once-and-for-all, the workshop poses questions of distribution of power and material elements: Who organizes the spaces in which communication takes place and communities form, where are the limits and preconditions for these spaces, and how does this relate to physical labor, the labor of birthing, and carework?  

Alok Vaid-Menon will focus on racialized transmisogyny, and notions of community and interdependence in the digital era. Both touch upon notions of the “real”: What is real womanhood, what is real community, what is real connection? How can transfeminist theory and poetics help us navigate this profound time of alienation?

With Bini Adamczak we will discuss the political potential of ways of relating: friendship, solidarity, political desire, sexual economy, and other aspects of economy. What can a queer-theoretical re-examination of critical theory tell us about the systematic and affective roots of the terror of ‘real existing communisms’, as well as about the limits of 1968’s and postmodernist feminisms and emancipatory movements?

Each of the sessions will have a text as a basis for a loose discussion to start out. The workshop will conclude with a joint conversation between Alok, Bini, and the participants. 

Due to the online format, participation is limited. To register and receive the reading material, please send an email to Alex Thinius ( or Divya Nadkarni ( before 1 May 2020. Please include in your email about one or two lines on (1) your affiliation (if any), and (2) why you’re interested in joining the workshop. An email with confirmation and materials will be sent out by 4th May.

Alok Vaid Menon

ALOK (they/them) is an internationally-acclaimed non- binary performance artist, public speaker, advocate, and educator. Using poetry, comedy, lecture, and design — their (trans)disciplinary work traverses themes of gender, race, mental health, and fashion. ALOK appeared on HBO’s “The Trans List” and “Random Acts of Flyness.” They are the author of the poetry book Femme in Public, a meditation on anti-trans harassment, and Beyond the Gender Binary, a clarion call for a new approach to gender in the 21st century. In 2019 ALOK was honored as one of NBC’s 30 LGBTQ changemakers and one of Out Magazine’s Out100.

You can find recordings of their recent talks and performances at

Bini Adamczak

Bini Adamczak (she/her) is a Berlin-based social theorist and artist. She writes on political theory, queer politics, and the past future of revolutions.

Bini Adamczak works (preferably not too much) as an author, performer and visual artist. Her books include Communism for Kids (English translation by MIT Press 2017), Beziehungsweise Revolution (Suhrkamp 2017), Yesterday’s Tomorrow (English translation MIT Press, Forthcoming 2021). See her wikipedia entry for more of her work. You can find her on Facebook and twitter.


Bini’s pic is by Kornelia Kugler
Alok’s pic is by Eivind Hansen

Interdisciplinarity in Action – Postponed

NICA Summer School ‘Interdisciplinarity in Action’

26-27-28 August 2020 | Utrecht University | 2,5 EC

Building on the NICA Core Course ‘Radical Interdisciplinarity’ offered in the Winter Semester 2019/2020, NICA now offers an independent but complimentary Summer School 2020 programme called ‘Interdisciplinarity in Action.’ As the title implies, the Summer School focuses on the practical aspects of interdisciplinary learning, research and teaching. Situating ourselves in the field of the Scholarship of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning (SoITL), we ask questions such as: What do interdisciplinary careers look like? How do we best navigate within interdisciplinary collaborations? What are suitable interdisciplinary pedagogies? What are effective teaching and learning activities for interdisciplinary classrooms? How do interdisciplinary studies foster creative and entrepreneurial mindsets?

The three-day intensive Summer School consists of talks and workshops by experts within the field. We invite participants to bring questions from their own interdisciplinary practices and reserve space, after each presentation, to work with these questions. During these working sessions, presenters are there to answer specific questions participants may have and to brainstorm about how participants think they may convert input and feedback into their own interdisciplinary work.

Confirmed guest lecturers are: Dr. Bianca Vienni Baptista (ETH Zürich) from the H2020 project “Shaping Interdisciplinary Practices in Europe” (; Dr. Merel van Goch (Utrecht University), Assistant Professor at the interdisciplinary undergraduate program Liberal Arts and Sciences; Dr. Linda de Greef (University of Amsterdam) from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (, the expertise center in the field of interdisciplinary learning and teaching; Dr. Katrine Lindvig (University of Copenhagen) from the Department of Science Education, builder of CoNavigator, a hands-on interdisciplinary collaboration & problem solving tool (; Prof. Catherine Lyall (University of Edinburgh) from Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, author of Being an Interdisciplinary Academic: How Institutions Shape University Careers (2019); and Rianne Poot, MSc (Utrecht University Centre for Entrepreneurship), Educational Advisor.

Students will be sent a set of texts by leading SoITL scholars in preparation of the Summer School by mid-June.

Application deadline: June 1, 2020. Please submit a one-page CV and a short motivation letter.

Disclaimer: Given that we are in the midst of a corona pandemic, the plans for this Summer School are subject to change.

This NICA Summer School is co-produced by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership for Higher Education ‘Innovation in Education: Intersecting Sciences and Humanities’ (2018-1-MK01-KA203-0467117).

Call for Papers: On Maps, Kunstlicht Vol. 41 (2020), No. 2-3.

Call for Papers: On Maps, Kunstlicht Vol. 41 (2020), No. 2-3.

Managing Editor: Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen

Deadline for proposals: 27th April 2020

God as Architect/Builder/Geometer/Craftsman, The Frontispiece of Bible Moralisee, ca 1220-1230, illumination on parchment, 34.4×26 cm, Austrian National Library, (Photo: Wikipedia Commons).

Cartography is a Western science which emerged in the seventeenth-century.  Cartography’s origins in the Western world is still crucially evident in the standardised projection of the world map with north at its top and Europe at its centre. Furthermore, modern cartography became a discipline simultaneously with the formation of the ‘nation-state,’ a geographical emblem of Modernism. As cartography became a tool of nationalism, it too became an instrument for domination and control, tethered to the imperial project. Thus, cartography is not merely an image, but essential for the development of ideologies such as nationalism and western hegemony.

Map-making was practiced centuries before the origins of cartography, which standardised map making as a graphic representation of the world from a bird’s-eye perspective (or a god-like perspective). The western definition of maps is limiting to all the ways they have been interpreted and produced prior to cartography’s invention as a discipline and non-Western modes of mapping. Maps can be spoken and performed, they can be walked and depict our inner emotional lives. However, in recent literature ‘mapping’ largely remains a metaphor despite the increasing number of artists utilising them (in all of their forms).

One does not have to look far to find examples of recent artistic mapping practices. Consider Ariane Littman’s Wounded Map (2011) in which the artist cuts fragments of official maps of the Green Line between Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages, covers them with sterile bandages and plaster, before sewing them back together again. Or think of the multiple practices of counter-mapping where Indigenous Peoples reclaim the land they inhabited long before Western imperialism spread its tentacles. Many artists have also questioned borders with the use of maps. The artist Pedro Lasch handed out maps to people who were to cross the US-Mexico border in 2003. The maps were red borderless projections of the North and South American continents with the words ‘Latino/a America’ imprinted on it. Upon return to their final destination, the migrants returned the maps to Lasch. The few maps he received bears marks of the journeys, narrating a story of migration through the folds and dirt on the paper.

This call for papers encourages writing on maps, whether that be critiques of celebrated historical maps, artists’ interpretations of new cartographies, essays which expound the art historical writing on maps, or critical insights to why we are repeatedly presented with geographical investigations of our world. We want to welcome writing on cartography which does not turn the blind eye to the map itself, its history, and its continued utilisation as an instrument of power.

Yet, other research is also welcomed, to consider, for example, why an increasing number of artists utilise maps in a time of heightened focus on migration (both in academia and gallery spaces)?; How can we understand mapping beyond ideas of nation-states?; How do we gain tools to talk about mapping practices within art history, tools in which we deal with cartography rather than utilise it as a metaphor?; And how, when incorporating mapping into art history do we also expand its framework into other mediums?; Can films be treated as a cartographic environment of journeys and landscapes?; And how, if possible at all, do we overcome cartography’s bird’s-eye perspective upon the world, and instead describe it as something intimate, vulnerable, bodily, or even, as ‘soft’?

Proposals (200-300 words) with attached résumés can be submitted until April 27th 2020 via Selected authors will be invited to write a 2,000–3,000-word paper (excluding footnotes).

Authors who publish in Kunstlicht will receive three complimentary copies. Unfortunately, Kunstlicht is not able to provide an author’s honorarium. Two articles will be selected to be available online. Two years following publication, papers will be submitted to the freely accessible online archive. The editorial board reserves the right to decline contributions.

Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen obtained a MA in Contemporary Art History program from the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, and completed her BA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. She has previously focused on Scandinavian identity and the region’s historical amnesia. Her current research touch upon issues of cartographic representations and migration.

Kunstlicht is an academic journal for visual art, visual culture, and architecture, founded in 1980. It is affiliated with the Arts & Culture department of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, but operates from an independent foundation. Kunstlicht is published three times a year, and features both scholarly and artistic contributions.

Museums and the circulation of knowledge

Museums and the circulation of knowledge

28 September 2020, 10.00 – 17.00

Venue: Rijksmuseum
Open to: postgraduate and research students, members of the Huizinga Institute and NICA
Credits: 1 ECTS (available upon request)
Coordination: Eve Kalyva
Maximum no. of participants: 12
Language: English
Registration: Contact Huizinga coordinator Annelien Krul (

How is knowledge accessed, structured and circulated in a museum setting? While cultural artefacts enable us discuss ideologies, political and financial power structures, gender roles and social hierarchies, we must also consider: What frameworks of interpretation become available in museums, and how are these juxtaposed and utilised in understanding different cultures?

Using the 17th century collection of the Rijksmuseum as a case study, this workshop encourages you to reflect on and evaluate how cultural objects are displayed and how different viewpoints become organised, affecting both the object and the method of study. Through on site interaction and practical exercises, we will consider:

  • How are narratives experienced in a museum setting?
  • What relationships develop across viewers, cultural objects and historical subjects; and how do cultural objects participate in their interpretation?
  • What tools can we use to extrapolate concepts and ideas from object-based study?
  • Can multiple perspectives be supported or do these always converge in relation to where we stand?

This workshop gives you the opportunity to put ideas about museums, heritage, curating and cultural analysis to the test; and engage with how institutional practices are experienced in an existing setting. It enriches your research skills with practical knowledge; and introduces you to Visible Thinking pedagogies, which support critical thinking through social interaction, direct experience and collaborative learning.

References (texts will be provided)

  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing (Penguin Books, 1972)
  • Michael Baxandall, “The Period Eye”, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style, 29–41 (Oxford University Press, 1972)
  • Roland Barthes, “Rhetoric of the Image” [1964], Image–Music–Text, pp. 32–51. Trans. Stephen Heath (Fontana, 1977)
  • Raymond Williams, “Introduction” and selected terms, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Croom Helm, 1976)


10.00 – 11.30 Introductory discussion

11.30 – 13.30 Practical part 1

13.30 – 14.30 Lunch break

14.30 – 16.00 Practical part 2

16.00 – 17.00 Round table discussion


Articulating belonging: translingualism, belonging and the creation of South African social collectivities

Call for papers

Articulating belonging: translingualism, belonging and the creation of South African social collectivities

University of Amsterdam and Ghent University, 12 and 13 November 2020, Amsterdam.

In the creation of nation-states during the 19th and 20th century, standardized and official languages were of key importance to develop feelings of belonging to social collectivities through the public sphere. However, contemporary global neoliberal conditions have put pressure on Romantic notions such as belonging, togetherness and culture, that used to be seen as the building blocks of national identity. Postcolonial and decolonial debates have, furthermore critiqued the presumed monolingual character of communities and nations (Yildiz 2012; Mignolo 2003) by pointing to their linguistic heterogeneity. The complex linguistic context of South Africa offers a fruitful starting point to explore the recalibrated relationships between language, the creation of social subjects, the politics of belonging and social group formation (Yuval-Davis, 2006, Meinhof and Galasinksi, 2005).

This conference wants to zoom in on translingualism and transculturality – broadly understood to refer to the fluidity and dynamism of linguistic and cultural borders – in South African literature and culture. The conference has at least three aims. Firstly, it wants to explore how narrative art forms (literature, performance poetry, cinema, theatre and so forth), but also more popular expressions (television series, newspapers, advertisements, graffiti, songs) linguistically produce, and critically reconsider the relationship between language and membership of social collectivities within the South African context. Secondly, this conference also wants to explore how language variations, multilingualism and translingualism in cultural representations index complex social and cultural entanglements in the day-to-day, ordinary lives of South Africans. Thirdly, it wants to investigate how translingualism, the use of multiple language varieties and different languages in narrative texts “destabilize” the position of dominant and/or standardized languages and what such minorizing practices (Dagnino, 2019) might imply for how language construes social subjectivity and categories of belonging in the South African context.

This call invites proposals for papers that reflect on:

  • How translingual South African literary texts create (new) social subjects and categories of belonging;
  • How popular genres (such as hiphop/rap and genre fiction) contribute to a critical analysis of the relation between language and belonging in the South African context;
  • The minorizing of (standardized) Afrikaans and English through the use of other languages and language varieties and what the destabilizing of these languages implies for belonging and the construction of social collectivities;
  • How language use functions as a form of “border work” that sustain or challenge, resist and rebel against the inclusion and exclusion created by the politics of belonging;
  • The (linguistic character of) the cultural public sphere in this process of creating belonging and togetherness in the South African context;
  • Translingualism and translation of South African literature (in any South African language) as world literature.

We invite those interested to submit a short abstract (no more than 300 words), accompanied by a biographical note (150 words) by 8 May 2020. A notice of acceptance will follow by the end of May 2020. The conference will accept contributions in Afrikaans, Dutch and English. The selected presentations should be 20 minutes. The conference organizers foresee the possibility to deliver papers by Skype in cases where travel to Amsterdam cannot be arranged. A possible publication of (selected) contributions is considered.

Please send your proposal to before 8 May 2020.

The organizing committee:

Yves T’Sjoen (UGent en UStellenbosch)
Annelies Verdoolaege (UGent)
Margriet van der Waal (UvAmsterdam)