Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage

As a follow up to the successful conference “Netherlandish Art and the World” that took place in Utrecht on October 25-27, we would like to invite you to the first meeting of a new series of bi-monthly Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage. This seminar is a cooperation of the NWO-Vidi project “The Chinese Impact” at Utrecht University, Leiden University, and University College Utrecht. It is organized by Mary Bouquet (UCU), Stijn Bussels (LU), and Thijs Weststeijn (UU).

Our first international guest is Dr. Elsje van Kessel (University of St Andrews), who will speak about:

Art, Law, and the Freedom of the Seas in the Early Seventeenth Century

Time and place: Thursday 20 December, 15-17hrs, Vossius Zaal, Leiden University Library

Seating is limited, so please confirm your attendance with Stijn Bussels:

This paper addresses the relation between art and law in the Mare Liberum/Mare Clausum debate of the early 1600s. The question about the freedom of the world seas – or rather who owns the seas and the material riches that are transported via their waters – occupied the most prominent jurists of the early seventeenth century. As legal historians have recently shown, the debate had its origins in a specific historical event; namely, the Dutch capturing of a Portuguese cargo ship near present-day Singapore in 1603. The vessel, subsequently taken to Amsterdam, was full of spices, textiles, porcelain, precious stones and jewellery, yet accounts of the debate and the legal theory to which it gave rise have ignored these objects. My paper will examine the objects on board the ship in their interaction with this body of legal thought. How did such objects – of a variety of East Asian backgrounds, often produced for export – change as their legal status turned? And can a formal analysis of objects helpfully inform our understanding of categories like ‘booty’ and ‘spoil’?


Image caption: unknown artist, Prospect of Lisbon, 16th century, pen and washed ink drawing on paper, 75 x 245 cm, Leiden, Leiden University Library (detail)


The illustrated cityscape: imperfect lines of urban exploration

The illustrated cityscape: imperfect lines of urban exploration

Tânia A. Cardoso

Supervisors: Pr. Dr. Emilie Sitzia & Dr. Carolyn Birdsall

Cities have been a vital component of visual storytelling and reportage since illustration became a product for the masses disclosing modern urban life and its practices. Illustration as an exercise of critical, creative and artistic freedom allows for an intensive engagement between its creators and the city and simultaneously explores the potential to create discursive space revealing the city as a complex entity to its inhabitants/audience while enabling alternative and multiple perspectives. Combining theory and praxis this research intends to demonstrate how the phenomenon of “illustrated cities” can be found at the intersection between urban experience, place and illustration.

The Afterlife of the Object


European Summer School in Cultural Studies

University of Copenhagen, 18-22 June 2018

An object causes passion, as in the figurative notion of a loved object. “The Afterlife of the Object” 2018 summer school will contemplate how we establish narratives of the past and the self through objects.

We will view objects, not only loved, but also hated, ignored, collected, thrown away, performed, written, rewritten, translated, lost and found. The “object” of our study will be considered broadly, including but not limited to art, books, collections, fetishes, poems, letters, song, and beyond.

For example, in “The Daughters of the Moon,” Italo Calvino imagines the afterlife of earth’s only permanent natural satellite when she has she become too old and worn to be seen as “full.” Calvino’s story is a troubling allegory on consumerism, ecology, gender, destruction and desire, written in the ripe year of 1968.

In Slaves and Other Objects (2004), the classicist Page duBois looks at our erasure of slaves as an idealization of the afterlife of ancient Greece, resulting in a collective blind-spot (a de-realization) that has fed and still feeds troubling views on race, including America’s nostalgia for the antebellum South.

Han Kang’s 1997 short story “The Fruit of My Woman” takes the afterlife of animals as objects of food as entry into becoming plant.

Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive puts a stop to mortgaging our future through the body of the child in an acceptance of the death drive through the afterlives of Hitchcock’s films.

The summer school week will feature keynote lectures (to be announced) as well as short papers presented by PhD candidates and other young scholars and a series of seminars in which we will closely examine the texts mentioned above, along with other works, including Dan Chaisson’s book of poems, entitled The Afterlife of Objects and Michael Ann Holly’s The Melancholy Art.

We welcome papers dealing with these questions from art historical, cultural, literary, cinematic, material, affective, technological, machinic, linguistic and other perspectives.

Applicants do not need to present a paper. However, those wishing to present should send a proposal of no more than 300 words and a short bio (max. 150 words) to: by 25 January 2019. You will be informed whether your contribution has been accepted by 8 February 2019. Papers will be circulated before the conference and will have to be submitted in full (max. 4,000 words) by 1 May 2019.

PhD students are credited 3,8 ECTS if certain requirements are met. For more information, please contact the organizers.

The ESSCS is an annual network-based event offering interdisciplinary research training in the fields of art and culture. The network comprises the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University of Copenhagen, University of Giessen, Goldsmiths College, Université de Paris VIII, the Lisbon Consortium, Ljubljana Institute for Humanities, University of Trondheim and Catholic University Rio de Janeiro.

Organizers: Frederik Tygstrup, Rune Gade and Carol Mavor.

Posthuman Knowledge(s)

Utrecht Summer School course by Prof. Rosi Braidotti
August 19-23, 2019

In 2019, Braidotti’s intensive course will focus on “Posthuman Knowledge(s)”. The aim of the course is to offer a critical overview of contemporary debates about the implications of the ‘posthuman turn’, for knowledge production and research in the Posthumanities. Braidotti will apply her specific brand of critical feminist posthuman theory to the analysis of fast-growing fields such as the Environmental and Digital Humanities, asking questions such as: what is the subject of the Posthumanities? How do these new fields of knowledge affect the constitution of subjectivity and the practice of the academic (post) humanities today? How can posthuman knowledge assist us in moving beyond the patterns of exclusion of the sexualized, racialized and naturalized “others” that were excluded from humanity and disqualified as subjects of knowledge? How can we learn to think beyond anthropocentrism?

Register now on
Registration deadline: June 1, 2019.
Course fee: €300. Housing fee (optional): €200.

Please note that all participants of this summer school are expected to have read several selected entries of Rosi Braidotti’s Posthuman Knowledge (forthcoming, Polity 2019).

For more information, contact


All Power to the People!

International Symposium
All Power to the People!
Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 November 2018
We are proud to announce the 2-day ‘Black Panther’ symposium with special guests Kathleen Cleaver & Emory Douglas.

With sociologist & junior curator Stephanie Archangel, professor of journalism Jared Ball, anthropologist Jessica De Abreu, curator Juan Pablo Fajardo, associate professor in global politics, gender and diversity Rosalba Icaza Garza, researcher and curator Baruch Gottlieb, political scientist and collector Carl Haarnack, collector Alden Kimbrough, writer and publisher Firoze Manji, journalist Seada Nourhussen, stylist and activist JeanPaul Paula, researcher and curator Valika Smeulders, writer and organizer Simone Zeefuik and from Amsterdam The Black Archives.

Both in the US and in the Netherlands, institutional and everyday racism is still the cause of social and economic inequality between various groups in society. Emory Douglas’ works and his appeal for revolution form a major framework to have a critical look at current times. During the two-day international symposium, we investigate the role of artists and activists in the battle for a fairer society. And we hope to contribute to the intellectual development of future generations that will have to continue this battle.

Niet alleen in de VS, maar ook in Nederland is institutioneel en alledaags racisme nog steeds de oorzaak van sociale en economische ongelijkheid tussen verschillende groepen in de samenleving. Het werk van Emory Douglas en zijn oproep voor een revolutie vormen een belangrijk kader om kritisch naar onze huidige tijd te kijken. Met het 2-daags internationale symposium onderzoeken wij de rol van kunstenaars en activisten in de strijd voor een rechtvaardiger maatschappij. En hopen bij te dragen aan de intellectuele ontwikkeling van toekomstige generaties die de strijd zullen moeten voortzetten.

The symposium will take place in our new venue the former American Embassy in The Hague. There will be limited seats available, we advise you to register ASAP!

Full Program & Tickets 25,- / 10,- (STUDENTS) for 2 days:
West Den Haag Centrum voor hedendaagse kunst / Center for Contemporary Art / Lange Voorhout 102 The Hague