What’s the Point? Impact and the Future of the Humanities

Registration Open for UU Humanities Graduate Conference 2019

The Utrecht University Humanities Graduate Conference 2019, What’s the Point? Impact and the Future of the Humanities, will take place on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April 2019. The conference includes the UU Centre for Humanities Discussion on the Future of the Humanities, panels on impact in and outside of academia, and (R)Ma and PhD panels on our conference theme. There will also be keynote talks by Eleonora Belfiore (University of Loughborough) and Simon During (University of Melbourne).

Registration is FREE and includes lunch on Friday but conference places are limited so SIGN UP FAST to avoid disappointment! To do so, simply fill out our form via this link https://hgsc.sites.uu.nl/conference-registration/ .

Note that the conference is aimed primarily at (R)Ma students and PhD candidates in all subdisciplines of the Humanities but more senior academics and other interested parties are very welcome to attend. For more information or to contact us, check out our website https://hgsc.sites.uu.nl/ or email us at whatsthepoint@uu.nl.

In the context of this conference two master classes are offered on 11 April 10:00-13:00:

Be Careful What You Wish For: On Impact as a Proxy for Value in Arts & Humanities Research

Master Class with Eleonora Belfiore

The context for this masterclass is offered by one of the defining debates in the academic humanities, namely the one around the tension between a desire (and often external pressures) to be useful to those outside academia, and the aspiration to preserve the scholar’s critical distance from the object of analysis, intellectual autonomy and the freedom to critique. Whilst this tension is especially noticeable within a small and emerging interdisciplinary field such as cultural policy research, in which I work, it is not by any means only found there. Taking developments in the UK as the geographical focus of analysis and as an example, it is clear that increasing expectations that research, especially when publicly funded, should have ‘impact’ bring with them similar kind of tensions. Expectation that research ought to deliver ‘impact’, which is often understood as a contribution to policy development, have been hotly contested and resisted, yet an important set of questions still remain open:

  • What is the ultimate purpose of critical scholarly research? Or in other words, what comes after critique?
  • Is critique for critique’s sake a satisfactory goal for cultural policy analysis or can we envisage a constructive engagement between critical research and policy debates that is not subservient to the needs of policy advocacy?
  • Are there ways to articulate the contribution to society of arts and humanities scholarship that avoid turning ‘impact’ into a proxy for ‘value’?

Reflecting on her experience as an eternally engaged scholar and the academic lead for the Warwick Commission for the Future of Cultural Value (2013-5), Prof. Belfiore will invite the participants to explore the possibilities and challenges that publicly engaged research brings, and to develop their skills in articulating the value of scholarship and how to pursue impact and knowledge exchange in ways that preserve the authenticity and integrity of research.

Readings

(required to be studied beforehand)

Eleonora Belfiore

I joined Loughborough in May 2016 from the University of Warwick, where I had been working since 2004. My PhD thesis (2006, Warwick) was a comparative study of post-1980s cultural policies in Italy and England and the growing prominence of an economic instrumental rationality in the development of arts and heritage policy in the two countries. Since then, I have developed further my exploration of discursive formations, and I have developed an international profile in policy sensitive research which combines a scholarly and critical drive with a commitment to facilitating public engagement with research and collaborations with non-academic partners, mostly from the cultural and creative sectors and from the third sector.

About the masterclasses

Utrecht University Humanities Conference 2019 programme includes two masterclasses, led by the conference keynote lecturers Eleonora Belfiore and Simon During. The masterclasses will be simultaneous, which allows us to extend the number of the participants by 30 to the overall event (15 for each masterclass).

Participants can gain 1 ECs for the masterclass participation and 1 EC for conference presentation. The masterclass workload is divided into three parts: reading and a preliminary abstract (1); masterclass participation (2) and a conclusive reflection paper (3).

Please register by sending an email to: whatsthepoint@uu.nl

Overall workload

1 ECTS for:

  • Preparing the masterclass (3 readings and a 500 word abstract),(22 hours)
  • Participation in the masterclass (2,5 hours)
  • Writing a 1000 word reflection (2,5 hours)

1 ECTS for:

  • Preparing one’s own conference presentation and presenting it (28 hours).

0,5 ECTS for:

  • Joining one panel on impact in the humanities and the Centre for Humanities discussion on Thursday, April 11 (3 hours)
  • Joining two keynotes and two of the student panels on Friday, April 12 (7 hours)
  • Writing a 750 word reflection (2,5 hours)

About Utrecht University Humanities Conference

The Utrecht University Humanities Graduate Conference is organized for and by R(MA) students and PhD candidates; our mission is to deepen and broaden the understanding of the role and position of the humanities field both within and outside of academia. We invite contributions of research master students and PhD candidates from all the disciplines in the humanities, to analyze and reflect on the twinned issues of impact and knowledge utilization, be it within their own field of research or that of humanities research in general.

It is an annual conference for Humanities research-oriented (R)MA students and PhDs both from Utrecht University and other (inter)national institutions. In 2019, the general topic of the conference is “What’s the point? Impact, and the future of Humanities”, and the conference is going to house among other activities three keynote lectures, a day of parallel sessions and two master classes.

How Vulnerable are the Humanities?

Masterclass with Simon During

This masterclass focusses on the problems that arise from the various pressures under which the Humanities are operating today. These pressures include managerialism, globalization, populism and threats to the centrality of the category of “the human” as a result of both global warming and digitalization. The class starts from the position that addressing these problems requires a full and neutral picture of what the humanities are and do: it will ask what would such a picture look like? It also investigates the efficacy of the many defenses of the humanities that have appeared over the past couple of decades. Students will be encouraged to address these issues from the perspective of their particular disciplines.

Readings

(required to be studied beforehand)

 Simon During

Simon During is a New Zealander who studied at Victoria University, Wellington and the University of Auckland before completing his PhD (on George Eliot) at Cambridge. He first joined the English Department at the University of Melbourne in 1983 as a tutor.  After visiting positions at the University of Auckland and the Rhetoric Dept, UC Berkeley, he was appointed Robert Wallace Professor at Melbourne in 1993.  As Head of Department there in the late 1990s, he was instrumental in establishing the Cultural Studies, Media and Communications and Publishing programs. In 2001, he left Melbourne for Johns Hopkins, where he taught in the English department for nine years. Between 2010 and 2017 he was a Research Professor at the University of Queensland as well as holding visiting positions at the FU Berlin, Tübingen, Université Paris, the American Academy of Rome, University of Cambridge, and elsewhere. In 2017 he rejoined the University of Melbourne’s School of Communications and Culture as an Honorary Professor.

He has made contributions to the studies of postcolonialism, secularism, Australian and New Zealand literatures as well as to cultural studies. But he has mainly concentrated on relations between literary and cultural history and European (mainly British) literature.

His books include Foucault and Literature (Routledge 1991) Patrick White (Oxford 1994), Modern Enchantments: the cultural power of secular magic (Harvard 2002), Exit Capitalism, literary culture, theory and post-secular modernity (Routledge 2010) and, most recently, Against Democracy: literary experience in the era of emancipations (Fordham 2012).
He is currently writing a book on the idea of the humanities.

About the masterclasses

Utrecht University Humanities Conference 2019 programme includes two masterclasses, led by the conference keynote lecturers Eleonora Belfiore and Simon During. The masterclasses will be simultaneous, which allows us to extend the number of the participants by 30 to the overall event (15 for each masterclass).

Participants can gain 1 ECs for the masterclass participation and 1 EC for conference presentation. The masterclass workload is divided into three parts: reading and a preliminary abstract (1); masterclass participation (2) and a conclusive reflection paper (3).

Please register by sending an email to: whatsthepoint@uu.nl

Overall workload

1 ECTS for:

  • Preparing the masterclass (3 readings and a 500 word abstract),(22 hours)
  • Participation in the masterclass (2,5 hours)
  • Writing a 1000 word reflection (2,5 hours)

1 ECTS for:

  • Preparing one’s own conference presentation and presenting it (28 hours).

0,5 ECTS for:

  • Joining one panel on impact in the humanities and the Centre for Humanities discussion on Thursday, April 11 (3 hours)
  • Joining two keynotes and two of the student panels on Friday, April 12 (7 hours)
  • Writing a 750 word reflection (2,5 hours)

About Utrecht University Humanities Conference

The Utrecht University Humanities Graduate Conference is organized for and by R(MA) students and PhD candidates; our mission is to deepen and broaden the understanding of the role and position of the humanities field both within and outside of academia. We invite contributions of research master students and PhD candidates from all the disciplines in the humanities, to analyze and reflect on the twinned issues of impact and knowledge utilization, be it within their own field of research or that of humanities research in general.

It is an annual conference for Humanities research-oriented (R)MA students and PhDs both from Utrecht University and other (inter)national institutions. In 2019, the general topic of the conference is “What’s the point? Impact, and the future of Humanities”, and the conference is going to house among other activities three keynote lectures, a day of parallel sessions and two master classes.

New media dramaturgy: performing matter and the ecological question

MASTERCLASS Offered by the Centre for the Humanities and the Transmission in Motion research group (https://transmissioninmotion.sites.uu.nl/) at Utrecht University, in collaboration with NICA and SPRING Performing Arts Festival.

 20 May 2018, 10.30-15h, Het Huis (Boorstraat 107, Utrecht)

In this masterclass, Prof. Peter Eckersall (CUNY, New York) will consider the theory and practice of new media dramaturgy.  As developed his recent book (co-authored with Edward Scheer and Helena Grehan), new media dramaturgy (NMD) considers the rise of new materialism in theatre and performance.  It examines how live performance has been transforming – compositionally and aesthetically – by a renewed attention to material objects, atmospheres and affective states, all broadly defined as new media.  In light of the on-going need for the arts to address climate and ecological crisis, NMD is an approach that calls for considering the performative sensibilities of objects and materials in connection with thinking informed by eco-criticism and writings on the Anthropocene.  It is intended to be both theoretical and activating, hence, the focus on dramaturgy as a creative process that is between thinking and doing.  The masterclass will include an introductory lecture and then branch into discussion and the workshopping of ideas and responses.

Credits: RMA Students can acquire 1 EC if they actively participate in the masterclass, complete the readings and write a blogpost (750-1000 words) about the subject of the masterclass.

Registration: Please send an email to nica-fgw@uva.nl,  including your affiliation (RMA/PhD Programme).

Readings

  • Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, and Edward Scheer, New Media Dramaturgy: Performance Media and New-Materialism (co-authored with Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer). Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. (read the introduction).
  • Peter Eckersall, ‘On Dramaturgy to Make Visible’, Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, 23: 4-5, 241-243, 2018.

Bio

Peter Eckersall is Professor of Theatre Studies in the PhD Program in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center, CUNY and Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. His research interests include Japanese performance, dramaturgy and theatre and politics. His recent publications include: The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics, co-edited with Helena Grehan (Routledge, 2019), New Media Dramaturgy: Performance, Media and New-materialism, co-authored with Helena Grehan and Ed Scheer, (Palgrave 2017) and The Dumb Type Reader, coedited with Edward Scheer and Shintarô Fujii (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2017).  He has worked as a dramaturg for more than 20 years and is the co-founder of the Not Yet It’s Difficult performance group based in Melbourne.

Infrastructure Otherwise? Cartographies of Settler Colonialism, Resistance and Repair

Masterclass and ASCA Cities Public Talk by Dr. Deborah Cowen (University of Toronto)

organized by ASCA Cities Project in collaboration with NICA

April 15th, 2019

Public Talk: April 15th, 15.00 – 18.00 uur, Doelenzaal in de UB

“Infrastructure Otherwise? Cartographies of Settler Colonialism, Resistance and Repair”

Despite commitments to systemic and institutional change in the wake of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ‘Canada 150’ celebrations proceeded apace over the summer of 2017. Festivities were awash with the language of reconciliation, but performed amnesia regarding both historic and ongoing state violence, including the very act of celebrating ‘replacement’. Indigenous people organized against the whitewashed birthday festivities, insisting that struggles over pipelines, damns, and drinking water offered a better diagnosis of ‘Nation to Nation’ relations. Drawing attention to the infrastructure that underpins contemporary settler colonialism, water and land protectors expose ties that are long and bind tight. In fact, ‘Canada 150’ also marks the completion of the national railroad on which settler state confederation relied. The CPR was famously referred to as ‘the spine of the nation’, but it was built on Indigenous, Black, and Chinese backs. This talk explores the key role of infrastructure in the formation and contestation of settler colonial space. It traces a set of cartographies that cut across nationalist narratives to foreground the violent ways infrastructure holds us together across time and space. Tracking the making of this ‘national spine’ through the transnational slave trade, indigenous dispossession, and violent racial capitalism, but also through work of resistance and repair, this talk asks what decolonial infrastructures might look like.

Readings for public talk
  • Coward, Martin (2015) “Hot Spots/Cold Spots: Infrastructural Politics in the Urban Age.” International Political Sociology. 96-98.
  • Kipfer, S. (2018) “Pushing the limits of Urban research: Urbanization, pipelines and counter-colonial politics.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 36(3) 474–493.
  • Murphy, Michelle (2013) “Distributed Reproduction, Chemical Violence, and Latency.” S&F Online.
  • Cowen, Deborah (2018) “The Jurisdiction of Infrastructure: Circulation and Canadian Settler Colonialism.” The Funambulist. 14-19.

Masterclass: April 15th, 10.00 – 12.00 uur, Potgieterzaal in de UB

Registration: nica-fgw@uva.nl

Readings for masterclass 

  • Cowen, Deborah (2014) “The Citizenship of Stuff in the Global Social Factory,” in The Deadly Life of Logistics. University of Minnesota Press.
  • —  “Logistics Cities: The “Urban Heart” of Empire” in The Deadly Life of Logistics. University of Minnesota Press.
  • — (2017) “Infrastructures of Empire and Resistance” Verso Blog, https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3067-infrastructures-of-empire-and-resistance
Readings available by emailing: