Double Agents: Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Marketized University

NOG Masterclass by Alison Harvey | Wednesday February 26, 2020 | Utrecht University | 10.00 – 13.00 hrs

Double Agents: Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Marketized University

In the contemporary climate, there are increasing pressures to deploy academic research to address emerging societal issues and challenges. This masterclass focuses on the opportunities and exigencies of community-engaged research work, drawing on the presenter’s experiences engaging in this type of scholarship on work on gender, inclusion, and digital games in Canada and the United Kingdom. On the one hand, this kind of research work can for many kinds of scholarship offer a way of engaging in a productive form of praxis, collaborating with marginalized groups to engage in concrete action for change. On the other hand, however, a great deal of this emphasis on ‘real-world impact’ can be read quite cynically as anti-intellectual in how it is formulated in the criteria of some national funding and research bodies, reducing opportunities for a wide range of research projects and delimiting what is seen as viable scholarship. What is defined as ‘impact’ and how is it assessed by those necessitating it? A third challenge relates to how ‘impactful’ research engages with the communities it is targeting, and how the complexities of power and privilege are negotiated within these increasingly essential kinds of research projects.

In this interactive masterclass we engage with this challenge by considering ways of engaging in community-engaged scholarship thoughtfully, rigorously, and ethically in the contemporary academic environment. Participants, which can include all PhD and Research Master students interested in social justice and knowledge production, will have the opportunity to consider how their research plans might be shaped by the mixed blessings of community-engaged scholarship.

Readings (can easily be found online):

  • Jeppesen, S., Hounslow, T., Khan, S. & Petrick, K. (2017.) “Media Action Research Group: toward an antiauthoritarian profeminist media research methodology.” Feminist Media Studies, 17(6), pp. 1056-1072.
  • Krumer-Nevo, M. (2009). “From voice to knowledge: participatory action research, inclusive debate and feminism.” International Journal of Qualitative Research in Education, 22(3), pp. 279-295.
  • Savigny, H. (2019). “The Violence of Impact: Unpacking Relations Between Gender, Media and Politics”. Political Studies Review.

Participation is open to all PhD and Research Master students interested in social justice and knowledge production.
PhD and RMA students will be awarded 1 ECTS for attending the masterclass. Additional ECTS is possible for writing a short paper. Please indicate if you wish to receive extra credit for the masterclass with your registration.
Please register for the masterclass before February 19, 2020 by sending an email with a short motivation, your affiliation (study programme, university, research school) and 2 questions related to the readings of the masterclass and in connection to your own research topic/interest to:

Dr. Alison Harvey is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, where she leads the MA Media, Gender, and Social Justice. Her research and teaching focuses on issues of inclusivity and accessibility in digital culture, with an emphasis on games. She is the author of Gender, Age, and Digital Games in the Domestic Context published in 2015 by Routledge, and Feminist Media Studies, published by Polity in 2019. Her work has also appeared in a range of interdisciplinary journals, including Games & Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Information, Communication & Society, Social Media & Society, and Studies in Social Justice.


X Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture


Lisbon, July 6-11, 2020

Deadline for submissions: February 20, 2020

Recent years have been marked by an alarming escalation of environmental crises, turning climate change, pollution, the depletion of natural resources and mass extinction into some of the most urgent concerns of contemporary society. The X Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture, under the topic “Ecoculture”, intends to reflect on the interrelation between culture and the environment, to examine the growing awareness of the negative impact of human activities and to discuss the necessity to rethink, reconceptualize and redefine the relationship between humans and the non-human world.

The term environment inspires varied meanings and interpretations. Going back to its French roots, environ, the environment is, essentially, what surrounds us. It is usually associated with external physical conditions in which a living organism exists and develops, thus explaining its common usage as synonymous to nature, i.e. something not human and that can be affected by human activity. With this narrow conception of environment, dichotomic assumptions such as man v. environment, culture v. nature, civilization v. wilderness, where one is more valued than the other, multiply. Given its etymology, the term environment hints at a separation between humans and the milieus in which they move, hence spurring the idea of the environment as an entity that exists ‘out there’ and independent of humans, as a place one observes from afar or seeks as refuge. Many scholars have, nonetheless, brought attention to the sense of continuity and interdependence between man and the environment, claiming that the idea of nature necessarily implies the idea of man. Others have also underlined its transcendental essence, the fact that it involves practices and processes, with and without man, that far exceed man’s comprehension.

The environmental movement emerged in the 1960s, largely influenced by Rachel Carson’s  seminal work  Silent Spring, which critically analyzed the dangers of the misuse of technology and the risks inherent to humans’ ability to change entire ecosystems. The discussion over environmental issues has expanded enormously since then, not only encompassing questions related to natural phenomena and the interconnectedness of all life but also addressing problems concerning the finitude of human life on the planet (or at least of the existing way of life), inequality and injustice in world structures, as well as logics of domination and oppressive frameworks. What many of these raising questions have in common is the centrality of man and man’s actions. This anthropocentric perspective, which has led to the naming of a new geological era marked by human intervention as Anthropocene, places man, unchallenged, at the center of the environment and everything that happens to it, thus reinforcing the idea of man’s supremacy over nature.

The environment and environmental issues have gained space in academy, both as a discipline and a subject relevant to other areas of knowledge; they have also become a hot topic for many artists and different forms of art (photography, painting, cinema, theater, music, among many others). This fact is corroborated by the proliferation of the ‘eco’ prefix, which has come to accompany any discussion related to environmental questions. However, the environment and the increasingly more visible environmental changes have also become the source of great social, economic and political friction. More and more movements, sustained by scientific evidence, have gained ground. Fueled by the belief that saving and bettering what Pope Francis called “Our Common Home” is not only a necessity but a duty, they aim at raising awareness, changing minds and altering behaviors. This standpoint is, nevertheless, challenged by the lack of engagement and consensus in terms of a global response, which fails to integrate ecological discourses and practices and deal with environmental problems in an efficient and speedily manner.

The Lisbon Summer School invites proposals by doctoral students and post-docs that address, though may not be strictly limited to, the topics below:

  • –       Nature/culture
  • –       Environment in/and the arts
  • –       Representations of environmental crises and catastrophes
  • –       Ecocriticism
  • –       The Anthropocene
  • –       Climate change and global warming
  • –       Pollution, waste and rapidification
  • –       Extinction of species and living systems
  • –       Sustainability and ecocitizenship
  • –       Ecopolitics
  • –       Ecofeminism
  • –       Ecojustice
  • –       Ecotranslation
  • –       Activism, ecotage, ecoterrorism
  • –       Landscapes, environments and ecologies
  • –       Urban ecology
  • –       Cultural ecology and human ecology
  • –       Human, non-human, post-human
  • –       Natural and built environment
  • –       Digital environments
  • –       Scientific knowledge, skepticism and manipulation

The Summer School will take place at several cultural institutions in Lisbon and will gather outstanding doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers from around the world. In the morning there will be lectures and master classes by invited keynote speakers. In the afternoon there will be paper presentations by doctoral and post-doctoral candidates.

Paper proposals

Proposals should be sent to no later than February 20 2020 and include paper title, abstract in English (max. 200 words), name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning ongoing research.

Applicants will be informed of the result of their submissions by March 20, 2020 .

Rules for presentation

The organizing committee shall place presenters in small groups according to the research focus of their papers. They are advised to stay in these groups for the duration of the Summer School, so a structured exchange of ideas may be developed to its full potential.

Full papers submission

Presenters are required to send in full papers by May 30, 2020.

The papers will then be circulated amongst the members of each research group and in the slot allotted to each participant (30’), only 10’ may be used for a brief summary of the research piece. The Summer School is a place of networked exchange of ideas and organizers wish to have as much time as possible for a structured discussion between participants. Ideally, in each slot, 10’ will be used for presentation, and 20’ for discussion.

Registration fees

Participants with paper – 290€ for the entire week (includes lectures, master classes, doctoral sessions, lunches and closing dinner)

Participants without paper – 60€ per session/day | 190€ for the entire week

Fee waivers

For The Lisbon Consortium students, there is no registration fee.

For students from Universities affiliated with the European Summer School in Cultural Studies and members of the Excellence Network in Cultural Studies the registration fee is 60€.

Organizing Committee

  • Isabel Capeloa Gil
  • Peter Hanenberg
  • Alexandra Lopes
  • Diana Gonçalves
  • Paulo de Campos Pinto
  • Michael Baum



Cultural perceptions of safety. Reflecting on modern and pre-modern feelings of safety in literature, philosophy, art and history

On Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of January 2021, the Humanities Department of the Open University of the Netherlands organizes the international conference ‘Cultural perceptions of safety. Reflecting on modern and pre-modern feelings of safety in literature, philosophy, art and history’. We cordially invite scholars from various disciplines to send in their proposal for paper presentations.

Theme description

Questions of safety are at the foreground of many societal and spatial issues. Nowadays as well as in the past, the longing for safety is an important driving force for people and political and religious regimes. Therefore, it is important to reflect on how we define, experience and represent safety. In our modern day and age, according to statistics on crime, hunger, illness or death most parts of the world appear to be safer than ever before. However, the information age we live in brings us daily news of ecological catastrophes, drug crimes, epidemics, terrorism and trade wars, which influences our sense of safety significantly. Feelings of safety are thus connected to much more than measurable numbers, such as our emotional experience. Consequently, changing experiences of safety are influenced by social, political, environmental and personal factors and need to be seen in a broader context to fully grasp its impact.

During this conference, cultural perceptions of safety will be placed at the foreground. As feelings of safety, and also unsafety, are subjective indications it is interesting to look into the cultural expressions of these emotions and see how and when these have been portrayed in literary works, philosophical lines of though, artworks, architecture, various media and historical sources. The aim of this two-day conference is to bring together scholars from various humanities disciplines to pursue fluctuations in feelings of safety over time as well as in the cultures of surveillance and safety practices. This in order to answer questions such as; When do feelings of safety and unsafety emerge? Where, in which physical space, is safety located in cultural expressions? Do modern expressions of safety and unsafety differ from that in earlier times, and how are these feelings expressed, explained, generated, used and portrayed? Looking at these and related questions from a urban and rural, western and non-western, national, global and geo-political perspective will help us comprehend the impact of cultural perceptions and discourses of safety and analyse how they have been implemented in policy making.

Paper submissions

We welcome abstracts for papers (20 minutes max. excluding discussion) focusing on modern and pre-modern cultural perceptions of safety. Contributions can address, but are by no means limited to the following themes:

  • Spatial dimensions of safety; How does the representation and expression of safety differ between cities and rural areas? How was and is the ideal safe space portrayed? How does the architecture or the city planning of spaces influence our feeling of safety?
  • Emotional dimensions of safety; How has the emotion of safety been perceived and portrayed over time? How are feelings of safety influenced by processes of in- and exclusion of specific social groups? How are feelings of safety and unsafety imagined and linked? How do different literary genres discuss (un)safety in relation to emotions? and How do art works perform (un)safety and how is this linked to affectivity?
  • Theoretical and ethical reflections on safety; What is safety? How has safety been defined? What is the role of safety in society? Which philosophical and religious roots have influenced our perceptions of safety?
  • Eco-anxiety and safety; How is the feeling of safety affected by the existential challenge of climate change? How does the phenomenon of eco-anxiety prevail in cultural expressions of safety? Is this form of anxiety a typical current societal discourse of safety or does it have its own history?
  • Politics of safety; What is the meaning and value of safety in politics? How have feelings of safety and unsafety been used in policy making? What are the differences in cultural perspectives on safety in western and non-western countries and on national, global and geo-political level?

Note: all papers’ conclusions should include a statement on how safety discourses, representations and practices function in societies.

Abstracts of papers consist of approx. 250 words and should contain the title and the summary of the paper. In addition provide a short bio of max. 100 words including the name of the speaker, affiliation, full contact address and email.

Practical information

Deadline for abstracts is 1st of June, 2020.

A notification of acceptance was sent before the 1st of August, 2020.

Abstracts can be sent to Martje aan de Kerk via

The conference takes place at the Academiegebouw in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Some of the papers will be selected for publishing in the conference proceedings. Please indicate in your abstract submission if you would be interested in being a part of this proceeding.

If you have any questions, please contact Martje aan de Kerk via

PhD Position at the University of Kassel

Doc­to­ral can­di­da­te (m/f/d), EG 13 TV-H – In­sti­tu­te of So­ci­al Work and So­ci­al Wel­fa­re
Faculty of Human Sciences – Prof. Dr. Mechthild Bereswill – fixed-term, part-time (currently 26,67 hours/week)
link to the website

  • deadline for submission: 26.02.2020
  • start of recruitment : as soon as possible
  • reference number: 32864
  • applications to:

Part-time position with two-thirds of the regular full work time; fixed-term, initially for three years (Qualifikationsstelle gem. § 65 HHG i. V. mit § 2 Abs. 1 Satz 1 WissZeitVG). The successful candidate can qualify for a doctoral degree.


  • Independent research to write a doctoral dissertation
  • Teaching within the Institute of Social Work and Social Welfare
  • Contribution to research and a third-party funding application of a post-doc researcher working on disability and assistant animals (Dr. Birkan Tas)


  • Excellent or very good Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field (such as sociology, social sciences, social work, social anthropology, cultural studies)
  • The degree required for this position must have been obtained by the starting date at the latest.
  • Ability to work in a team and carry out independent research under supervision
  • An excellent command of the English language

Desirable skills:

  • Theoretical knowledge of human-animal studies, disability studies or queer studies
  • Interest in employing qualitative research methods in social sciences
  • Organizing skills
  • Experience in interdisciplinary research
  • For further information or questions please contact Dr. Birkan Tas at

The protection of your personal data is important to us. We will therefore handle your data carefully. If you provide us with your data, you allow us to save and use them in line with the Hessian data protection and freedom of information act. You may file an objection at any time. Your personal data will then be deleted.

The University of Kassel is an equal opportunity employer and aims at a clear increase of the proportion of women in research and teaching. Qualified women are therefore expressly requested to apply. Under the precondition of equal qualification, disabled persons will be preferred. Applications indicating the Position Number, which may be in digital form, should be sent to the President of the University of Kassel, 34109 Kassel, Germany or, quoting the applicable reference number in the subject.


Call for Papers: 2.1 ‘Contamination’Contribute to the third issue of our research journal

Originating from the Latin contaminare “to touch together,” “corrupt,” “defile,” contamination is commonly framed as the presence of an undesirable element which effectively alters, spoils, harms, or destroys lifeforms, matter or other entities. Beyond thinking in terms of disease or invasion, the scope of globalised capitalist production affords us to consider that we live in a state of ubiquitous contamination. From microplastics to heavy metals, and radioactive compounds, the accumulation of strange molecules in the atmosphere, waters, and land, contribute to climate change and the melting of permafrost – potentially leading to the release of more greenhouse gases and millennia-old pathogenic viruses. Yet, not only physical materialities are concerned but also the immaterial and intangible, such as digital spam, moods, rumours, or protestor’s demands becoming viral. Like microbes and bacteria, computer viruses are trespassers, pervasively moving around the world and seeking to evade detection by filters and border controls.

While contamination assumes the possibility of non-contamination, Alexis Shotwell argues that “we have never been pure” (2016). Neither, we could add, have we ever been just human. As porous beings, the most part of our bodies constitutes a multiplicity of bacteria, microbes, fungi, and added chemicals. Thus, thinking that we are always already contaminated troubles notions of purity, as well as the stigmatisation of contaminated bodies, objects, or environments. Echoing Anna L. Tsing, without underestimating the real damage caused by environmental pollution, epidemics, and nuclear waste: quarantine is not an option. In her writing about the livelihoods of Matsutake mushrooms, Tsing proposes the alternative approach of “contamination as collaboration” (2015). She invites us to consider contamination and disturbance more productively and openly, as “transformation through encounter,” implying that “contaminated diversity is everywhere,” for better or worse.

For this issue, we encourage contributors to think contamination differently from rigid conceptualisations and prefigured connotations, as a concept that travels over neat categories, harbouring the potential of undoing borders, stimulating even ‘dead’ matter with velocity, and linking together supposedly separate and stagnant beings. This means attending to relationality and difference, on every scale, from molecular frictions to planetary movements. Along this line, contamination is about the in-betweenness, the liminality of the ‘ish’, the ‘not quite this or that’ – the process found in such entanglements. How, then, does thinking with contamination reconfigure conditions of knowing and being? What is at stake, for actors (human and nonhuman) and objects alike, in troubling our understanding of contamination? Who gets to decide what is defined as ‘toxic’ or ‘impure’ and what is designated as ‘clean’?

We encourage submissions in the direction of, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Contagious relationality in the form of crowds, mobs, protest, and state violence
  • Nationalism, identity, colonialism, and questions of assimilation
  • Uncontained, intrusive, and ‘abnormal’ subjects and subjectivity
  • Infiltration and sabotage: contamination as a political subversive strategy
  • Contamination and failure: corrupted files, collapsing (eco-)systems
  • ‘Sublime’ landscapes: nuclear aesthetics, waste
  • Immunity and sickness: epidemics, contagion, protection
  • Contamination in a biopolitical regime: hygiene and sterility as normative forces
  • Molecular unruliness: para-legal agency of bacteria, microbes, and spores
  • Infectious bodies: porousness and permeability, devious sexuality, phantasies of infection
  • Affect (for instance, noise and chaos theory) & emotions (for instance, contagious happiness, sadness, laughter)
  • (Im-)purity: matters of the sacred and profane; nature/culture and similar dichotomies
  • Spreading of language or communication practices
  • Algorithmic or digital contamination (SPAM, computer viruses, crowdsourcing)

Please submit your abstract (maximum 300 words) or already written paper (maximum 5000 words) to by February 3. If you hand in an abstract, please consider that the full papers (3000 to 5000 words) are due March 2. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Soapbox also welcomes short essays, book/film/exhibition reviews, experimental writing and multi-media on for our website, all-year-round – send full drafts of 1000 to 1,500 words to

Please get in touch to pitch new ideas or existing projects for us to feature there.