Storytelling in the Margins

CALL FOR PAPERS ISSUE 5.1: ‘Storytelling in the Margins’
One of the most pervasive topics across the Humanities is storytelling. Whether we are seeking to understand the development of shared identities, cultural beliefs and practices throughout history, or grappling with pressing contemporary concerns like anthropogenic climate change and accelerating globalisation, the centrality of narrative(s) to much of our work on these issues—and to the issues themselves—is undeniable. As Donna J. Haraway points out in Staying with the Trouble (2016), stories matter, and thus it also matters how we tell them. The ever-increasing attention given to voices and perspectives that challenge established canons and hegemonic discourses, both within and outside of academia, is gradually destabilising the common notion of one “central”, linear narrative and creating space for narratives which thrive in complexity, multiplicity, and non-linearity. At the same time, contemporary artistic practices and emerging media platforms are producing new kinds of texts, thereby giving rise to new forms of storytelling. Ultimately, what is placed in the margins need no longer be
marginal. However, this last statement also prompts several critical questions. Who gets to tell the story of the margins? Who decides what is marginal? How are such marginalisations established and perpetuated? How does the margin assert itself in relation to the centre? Can we rethink the margins as not simply surrounding, but as irreducibly part of the text? Why should we be so preoccupied with the margins to begin with?
With these matters in mind, we invite graduate and postgraduate students of the Humanities to contribute to the next issue of Junctions , titled ‘Storytelling in the Margins’ . From all fields, we welcome submissions that engage with this topic and the issues that stem from it, such as:
– “New” forms of storytelling: What are the narrative affordances of contemporary and emerging media technologies—e.g. videogames, VR/AR/XR, social media platforms, online streaming
services, etc.—and how are they challenging previous notions of narrativity? How new are these\ “new” media, and how applicable are established narrative frameworks in these contexts? How can these technologies be useful for offering different kinds of narrative (and how can they not)? How productive are the (post-)structuralist approaches of narratology in analysing these “new”
– Canons, accessibility, and epistemic (in)justice: What is the role of canons today within disciplines like philosophy, (art) history, and literature? How do explicit and implicit canons shape
the way we relate to our subjects/objects of study? Who or what lies outside of the canon, and how can we rethink a canon to make it more open and inclusive in the name of epistemic justice? Which canons demand such critiques, and why? Are there particular ideas or thinkers that fall outside the traditional canon that could make a significant contribution to the current field or contemporary debates?
– Political activism and narratives of/by people of marginalized identities: How should the stories of those placed on the edges of society be told, by whom, and to what end? Who are “we”, and who are “we” to include “them” in “our” academic body of work? How do opposing political factions use particular narratives and communicative strategies to conduct their activism nowadays? How effective are such contemporary strategies, and how do we measure their success? What is the “public sphere” today?
– Narratives of climate change and eco-communication: Why is there such a disparity between well established ideas within the scientific community and the state of the discourse in other
social and political spheres? Why have narratives which demonstrate the urgent need for measures against climate change and environmental destruction not led to the realisation of large-scale and effective policies? What sorts of narratives are required to help bring about such changes, and what motivates the sorts of narratives that are standing in their way? Whose
narratives are missing within current discourses about climate change? How can we use modern media technologies to help us conceptualize the “slow apocalypse” of climate change in a way that also inspires political action?
Other potential topics of interest include (but are certainly not limited to!):
– Theories on the form-content distinction and media materiality
– Archives and archivization in the ‘digital age’
– Religion and the modern media landscape
– Contemporary cultural movements across media forms (e.g. Afrofuturism in music/film/art)
– Research ethics when studying the margins
– Reflections on the meaning of diversity and inclusion, inside and outside the university
We also encourage book reviews on recent publications related to these issues, and a separate call for book reviews will be published shortly. Submission length is 3500-5000 words for original articles, and 750-1500 words for book reviews. Submissions should engage with the scholarly literature of the appropriate discipline and clearly identify its contribution to the field. The complete manuscript should be in Chicago author-date referencing style, following the official Junctions Word template and the prescribed author guidelines (which can be found at ). Please submit a digital copy (as a Word document) via the submission system on our website by 15 November, 2019 .
Please omit references to the author in manuscripts to ensure anonymous reviews. After double-blind reviewing, accepted articles will undergo a revision process which will conclude with the publication of the journal issue. The journal does not accept manuscripts previously published by or simultaneously submitted to other publications. Please contact with any questions about the publication process. For more informal questions about the issue, you can contact the managing editors on Twitter: Dennis Jansen ( @rmpdenjan ) and Mark Whittle ( @markwhittle444 ).

Important Dates

15 November 2019: Deadline manuscripts
10 January 2020: Notification of editor decision
30 January 2020: Deadline first revisions
6 March 2020: Deadline final revisions
29 March 2020: Planned publication of issue on

Junctions: Graduate Journal of the Humanities aims to connect the different disciplines of the Humanities by collecting disciplinary and interdisciplinary texts that are accessible to readers from across the Humanities. This gives graduate and postgraduate students the opportunity to gain valuable publishing, editing and reviewing experience. Everyone who submits an article to Junctions will receive feedback from our reviewers, and if your work is selected for publication, the editors will guide you through the different stages of editing to produce a professional article and begin your academic CV

Imagining climate change: The visual arts to the rescue?

Humanity has entered a new era, often labelled the Anthropocene – the human epoch. It poses a significant threat to the ecological integrity of the planet, particularly through human-caused climate change. The abstract and complex nature of climate change makes it a topic that is often framed and visualised in overly scientific and problem-focused ways. Ulrike Hahn’s research studies a promising alternative approach for imagining climate change from the contemporary visual arts.

Climate change and the visual arts

Scholars from the emerging and innovative field of the environmental humanities have started to investigate the role of the visual arts in the climate change debate. Hahn’s PhD research will extend this important work by inquiring how contemporary artists frame and represent the human-climate change relation and, moreover, how they can foster public engagement with climate change through their imaginations.

With this research, Hahn responds to the urgent calls for the further mobilisation of the humanities to find effective solutions for one of the biggest issues of our time.

(Un)timely Crises: Chronotopes and Critique

October 17-18, 2019


Day 1: Oudemanhuispoort (Oudemanhuispoort 4-6; 1012 CN, Amsterdam)

Day 2: University Library

All rooms for day 2 are at the University Library:
University Library Singel
Singel 425; 1012 WP Amsterdam

Supported by

OSL (Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies)

ASCA (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis)

Organized by

Maria Boletsi (Leiden University and University of Amsterdam)

Natashe Lemos-Dekker (University of Amsterdam)

Kasia Mika (Queen Mary, University of London)

Ksenia Robbe (University of Groningen)

This 2-day workshop will probe contemporary crisis-scapes in order to explore the ways ‘crisis narratives’ structure experiences and representations of time and space, i.e., the ways ‘crisis’ as a framework, concept, rhetoric, affective or discursive structure forms or taps into specific chronotopes.

Historically, the term ‘crisis’ has denoted choice, decision, judgment or critique; it can signal a turning point but also a perpetual state without prospect of resolution. Discursive uses and experiences of ‘crisis’ may involve a sense of disconnection and disorientation, collapsing linear temporality. Crisis can also function as an immobilizing framework for regions deemed to be in chronic crisis. ‘Crisis’ in Europe and elsewhere today often becomes an instrument of rule in neoliberal governmentality, legitimizing ‘states of emergency’ that limit people’s rights and access to public space. Crisis-scapes, however, can also trigger a heightened awareness of the present and foster critical or creative practices that question received notions of the past, initiate different conceptions of history and futurity or form alternative communities and infrastructures.

By approaching crises as chronotopes—what Mikhail Bakhtin termed the enmeshing of temporal and spatial experience into a common condition of a given era—we seek to explore questions of crisis, time and space, as experienced, imagined and represented across a range of contexts, and particularly in Europe and its margins. Chronotopes of crisis partake in complex constellations of meanings, discourses, and affective structures that call for interdisciplinary engagement. The workshop will thus combine perspectives from literary and cultural studies with sociology, cultural anthropology, memory studies, migration studies, post- and decolonial studies, and the energy and environmental humanities, to consider how recent and contemporary crises—economic, environmental, social, political, humanitarian—trigger memories of earlier historical narratives, traumas or practices of resistance, and how they foster or foreclose specific visions of the future.

We are also interested in the ways alternative narratives—what Janet Roitman has called “noncrisis” narratives (2013)—that sidestep ‘crisis rhetoric’ may form alternative chronotopes in the present. Through exploring crises as chronotopes, the workshop also aims to revisit the relation of “crisis” with its cognate, critique, in order to ask which narratives or practices could effectively address problematic mobilizations of ‘crisis’ today and shape other, more inclusive, chronotopic structures. To that end, emphasis will be laid on literary narrativizations of ‘crisis’ as a means of disrupting or reconfiguring the chronotopic structures involved in contemporary crisis-scapes.

The workshop will thus ‘think through’ how the study of crises as chronotopes can take shape across diverse disciplinary contexts and critical debates (e.g., in the context of debt and economic crises; in rethinking infrastructures and repair; in (re)tracing and conceptualizing memory-scapes emerging in crisis-situations); and how crisis figures or disfigures the ongoing question mark about the fate of critique in a postcritical world.

The talks, discussion, and writing that will take place during the workshop will be organized around the following thematic streams:

  • Crisis Rhetoric and Alternative Grammars: Dominant representations of subjects of/in crisis (e.g. the tropes of the “victim” or “threatening agent” in the ‘migrant crisis’) often fall short of accounting for dispossessed individuals and their experiences. Which ‘grammars’ can help articulate alternative subjectivities and accounts of agency? Which expressive forms, narrative structures, and reading practices can articulate alternatives to the “slow cancellation of the future” (Berardi, Fisher) and disrupt restrictive or violent chronotopes of crisis?
  • Crisis and Memory: How are the periods of revolution and eventful socio-political transformation remembered in current times? This stream will address the ways in which 20th-century global historical junctures are recollected in political rhetoric, projects of memorialization, critical discourses, and artistic productions. It will explore the temporalities and cultural sensibilities shaped through these interpretations of turning points. How can past crises be imagined beyond narratives of traumatization which have spread globally, producing subject positions of victimhood and moral superiority? Which critical approaches to remembering crises could foster ‘redistribution of the sensible’?
  • Critique Under Duress: What is the role of critique and radical critical theory in times of crisis? Rather than decrying an ‘’end of theory’’, the theme aims to rigorously engage with the Frankfurt School, opening it up to the concerns of postcolonial, decolonial (Allen 2016), and environmental theory and its theorizations of the present in crisis. If critique aims to historicize the present, which periodizing schemes have helped bring the contemporary into relief, such as Ernst Mandel’s “late capitalism,” Elizabeth Povinelli’s “late liberalism,” or Eugene Stoermer and Paul Crutzen’s “the Anthropocene”? And which no longer bring descriptive or diagnostic weight to the structures of feeling folding in on the changing climate of crises (and crisis of climate) today? In this context, we will take up the task of trying to ‘think otherwise’ and challenge, in Ann Stoler’s gloss, some of the “ready-made concepts on which we rely and [the] work we call on them to do.”  As such, the theme, among others, aims to work across meanings of duress (Stoler 2016)—as “a relation to a condition, a pressure exerted, a troubled condition borne in the body, a force exercised on muscles and mind”—and conceptualize what can critique be and do across shared, yet asynchronous, crises.
  • Chronic Crisis: This theme addresses instances where crisis becomes chronic. It asks how the duration and integration of the disruptive and the normal reorient our engagement with past, present, and future as it affects modes of anticipation, waiting, and endurance. Crisis and uncertainty can produce what Rebecca Bryant (2016) has termed the ‘uncanny present’, disrupting the possibility of imagining and acting upon the future. When and how do crises, including illness and economic and environmental crises, fade into chronicity and normality, and what futures does this enable or foreclose? How do we continue living in the face of chronic disruption and finitude?

Day 1: October 17

Venues:                     9:30 – 12:00: D0.08 (Oudemanhuispoort)

12:00 – 17:10: D1.08 (Oudemanhuispoort)

9:30 – 10:00              Registration  and Coffee

10:00 – 10:20            Welcome by OSL director and introduction by organizers

10:20 – 11:30             Lecture by Rebecca Bryant & discussion

(location: D0.08)

Chair: Natashe Lemos Dekker

11:30 – 12:00             Coffee break

12:00 – 13:10             Dimitris Papanikolaou, Past Continuous, Archival Present, Queer Future: Rethinking Our Critical Grammars”

(location: D1.08)

Chair: Maria Boletsi

13:10 – 14:10             Lunch (at the hall of Oudemanhuispoort)

14:10 – 15:20                         Nick Nesbitt, Crisis and Critique

(location: D1.08)

Chair: Kasia Mika

15:20 – 15: 40                        Coffee break

15: 40 – 16:50            Oxana Timofeeva, The Time of Catastrophe

(location: D1.08)

Chair: Ksenia Robbe

16: 50 – 17:10            Closing remarks

Day 2: October 18

(NB: Day 2 is only open for a small number of invited participants; it is not open to the public or to those registered through OSL)

The parallel group meetings will take place in the University Library, in the following rooms:

Belle van Zuylenzaal



Theme groups

10:00 – 12:00             Theme group meetings I: Discussion of readings

12:00 – 13:30             Lunch break (at Belle van Zuylenzaal)

13:30 -15:30              Theme group meetings II: Collaborative writing

16:00-17:00               Final discussion & next steps

Additional Information


Google Directions

Day 1:

-from Amsterdam Centraal Station to Oudemanhuispoort (15min walk):

Day 2:

-from Amsterdam Centraal Station to the University Library (20 min walk):



Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage


To the fourth and fifth meeting in the Seminars in Global Art History and Heritage (organized by Mary Bouquet – UCU, Stijn Bussels – LU, and Thijs Weststeijn — UU), which will take place on October 10th and November 21:

Bambi Ceuppens (Royal Museum for Central Africa Tervuren) will speak about: The Reopened Africa Museum Tervuren

Date and time: Thursday 10 October, 15:30 – 17:00  hrs
Location: Pieter de la Court, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden, Room 1A20 (1st floor)

The Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren is known as one of the most beautiful and impressive Africa museums in the world. In December 2018, the completely renovated museum reopened its doors. Bambi Ceuppens played a crucial role in the intense renovation and the development of the new displays between 2008 and 2018. She will tell how the old museum has transformed itself into a modern museum about contemporary Africa, while looking back critically at the colonial past. Followed by a roundtable discussion.

Bambi Ceuppens received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews. She has taught at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and St Andrews and was a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University and the Catholic University of Leuven. Currently a senior researcher and curator at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Bambi Ceuppens’s research focuses on the colonial history that the Congo and Belgium share, Congolese arts and cultures, Congolese in Belgium, museum representations of Africa(ns) and autochthony. She has curated the exhibition “Indépendance! Congolese Tell Stories of Fifty Years of Independence” (RMCA, 2010) and has co-curated “Congo Art Works: Popular Painting” (Fine Arts Centre, Brussels, 2016-2017; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2017) with Sammy Baloji and co-curated “Congo Stars” (Graz, Vienna, 2018; Tübingen, Germany, 2019). She teaches anthropology of arts at KASK School of Arts (Ghent) and Sint-Lucas School of Arts (Antwerp).

Please register for this event.


Dr. Emilie Gordenker (Mauritshuis, The Hague) will speak about: The Making of the Exhibition Shifting Image. In Search of Johan Maurits

Time and place: Thursday 21 November, 18:30 – 20:00  hrs
Location: Leiden University, Academy building, Rapenburg 73, Small Auditorium

The Mauritshuis was named after the man who had it built, Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604–1679). His house has been home to the Royal Cabinet of Paintings since 1822, now one of the most famous museums in the world. In terms of art history, the museum has always emphasised Johan Maurits’s importance to art, architecture and science, but his life story is also part of Dutch colonial history, particularly its role in the development of Brazil and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Emilie Gordenker will discuss the evolution of the exhibition at the Mauritshuis, and how it addresses the changing perception of Johan Maurits as well as its relation to current debates about societal issues.

Image: Albert Eckhout, Studies of two Brazilian turtles, c. 1640, Mauritshuis.

Please register via

Sustainability: Technocracy and Meditation

ASCA Political Ecologies Workshop & Environmental Humanities Center, CLUE+, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Public Talk (University of Amsterdam, P.C. Hoofthuis 1.05, 5-7pm) and
Masterclass on September 20th, 2019: Allan Stoekl (Penn State University) Please note that we are in the VUMedical Faculty, room D-565 (building MF) at the Vrije University 

In my talk, I will discuss two approaches to thinking about “sustainability.” The first is “technocratic sustainability.” I’ll discuss the “Technocracy Inc.” movement of the United States of the 1930s which imagined a utopian resolution to the economy by replacing labour with energy in the calculation of value. One of Technocracy’s primary thinkers, M. King Hubbert, would go on to forecast “peak oil” which figures so prominently in the discourse of sustainability.

Then I consider the ontological and political difference between consuming and spending. Following Georges Bataille, I will argue that we have an innate tendency to expend, but one more in consonance with the “economy of the universe”; one which recognizes the “limits to growth” not through austerity but through the inevitable burn-off of surpluses. Spending in this sense is tied not to just consuming stuff, but to consuming the very limits of our selves—the very limits we protect and affirm in capitalist consumption.

Hence the importance of E. F. Schumacher’s “Buddhist economics,” which at first sight may seem a mere bit of New Age faddism. In fact the crucial link (not explored by Schumacher) is between economics, both human, planetary, and of the universe, and the most basic “tendency to expend” that characterizes not only living systems, but the signifying systems of human communities. These communities necessarily turn around religious practices, and most importantly, meditative ones. 

By linking a no-growth “Buddhist economics” to Bataille’s theories of expenditure, we can start to imagine a theory of sustainability that will avoid the pitfalls of the technocratic approach.

Bio: Allan Stoekl is emeritus professor of French and Comparative Literature at Penn State University, and is currently Visiting Scholar in the Architecture Dept. at the University of Pennsylvania. He has written widely on twentieth century French intellectual history, and, more recently, on questions of energy use and expenditure in a cultural context (Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability [2007]). He is currently at work on a book on what he deems to be three varieties of sustainability, which may or may not be compatible.

Readings for Masterclass from 10-12 at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, OZW-building, room 7A-07:

  1. Technocracy Study Guide (1940)
  2. Robert Costanza, “Visions, Values, Valuation, and the Need for an Ecological Economics: All scientific analysis is based on a ‘preanalytic vision,’ and the major source of uncertainty about current environmental policies results from differences in visions and world views.” (2001)
  3. Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, Vol. 1 (1949)
  4. ——- Inner Experience (1943)
  5. E. F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. (1973)

All reading can be found here:

Please register for the Masterclass using the form on website of the Environmental Humanities Center


For more information email

Jeff Diamanti (UvA):

Joost de Bloois (UvA):

Kristine Steenbergh (EHC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam):